Communication happens at several levels. There are the words you use, the tone in which you communicate, the stress you place on different parts of a speech, and there’s body language.
We’re hard-wired to pick up non-verbal signals. Mothers rely on facial and bodily expressions to understand what babies need. Human Resources consciously and otherwise rely on body language to understand if a candidate is a good fit. And public speakers carefully tailor their use of gestures and body movements to capture their audience’s attention.
Minding your body language will help you do well at a job interview, you’ll look composed when you ask for a promotion at work, and it can also help you approach a potential love interest in a confident way. When you can deliberately manage your body signals, you’ll make a better impression on others and improve your own sense of confidence.
So, let’s look at some powerful techniques and scientific studies that will help you improve how you communicate with your whole body.
Hold a good posture
The importance of posture can’t be overstated. Good posture doesn’t just boost confidence, it also prevents back and neck issues. Your posture has an overall impact on your health and confidence, which makes it important for you to start with the right posture to improve your body language.
Good posture comes from keeping your shoulders relaxed, sitting or standing up straight, and keeping your head level. It can take time to develop good posture but practicing Yoga, Pilates, and other exercises that improve your body awareness and focus on your core muscles will help.
Maintaining good posture is especially important now that more people are working from home than ever before. Developing good posture also creates a positive impression on others as you convey confidence and self-assurance.
Develop an ‘open’ body language
There are certain unconscious habits that can make a person appear closed off and even unfriendly. Keeping your arms crossed over your chest and crossing your legs shuts others out. While covering your mouth or face can create the appearance of nervousness.
You can easily counter this habit but adopting a more open manner. Deliberately keep your arms relaxed by your side or use your hands to make gestures that reinforce what you’re saying.
Small gestures like facing your palm outwards and turning your towards someone while speaking to them gives the impression that you’re open, honest, and trusting of the other person too.
Make eye contact
Body language plays an important role in challenging situations. Doctors need to manage their body language too because they often need to convey critical information to patients.
Eye contact goes a long way towards making others comfortable and showing them that you’re being truthful, which helps people trust you.
When making eye contact, it’s possible to overdo it and stare too hard when trying to connect with others. A good rule of thumb is to maintain eye contact 50% of the time when talking to someone and increase it to 70% when you’re listening to a person.
This guideline can be adjusted depending on the situation. Remember to look and talk to everyone you’re dealing with to make your conversion include others.
Mirror body language
When speaking with someone you don’t know well, you can create comfort quickly by mirroring the other person’s body language in a subtle way.
Research shows that mirroring a customer’s body language creates a positive impression and improves sales. People who mirror the other person’s body language also do better in negotiations.
Brain imagining technology shows that there’s a ‘wireless bond’ between people who have a deep connection. Using mirroring in a subtle way will help you make others comfortable.
Do small things like sitting if the other person is sitting. Match the pace in which they speak and adopt a tone of voice that is close to how they’re speaking. Nodding along or reacting with similar emotional responses will also create a mirroring effect.
But do practice caution and make sure that you’re not just copying another person because it can soon become awkward. Make minor adjustments to your behavior and when you’re listening deeply to another person, mirroring becomes more natural.
Building trust and a positive impression depend on visual cues. And our body language also plays a role in how people perceive us.
By working on your body language, you can actively improve important aspects of your life such as your job and relationships. Work with the tips given here and check out the studies mentioned. With practice, you’ll see improved body language that boosts your confidence.