Your body language influences your professional success at all levels. You can either pass or fail an interview with a potential employer depending on your body language. Every employer is looking for a confident and smart employee who can represent his brand well. Your body language affects your relationship with other team members and your leaders. The right body language could earn you a quick promotion.
If you are an employer, you can improve the relationship with clients and your employees. You can easily convert potential clients into repeat customer with the right body language. Your body language is as important to your career as your skills, competences, academic qualifications, and experience. Here are a few tips on how you to use your body language at the workplace:
- Get the Right Posture
You must command your space every time you stand or sit in a formal meeting. Widen your stance when you stand to talk and keep your posture upright. Hold your head high and pull your shoulders backward. Such a posture communicates power and confidence. You can take up more space by moving up and down as you speak. Make sure that your movements do not distracts your audience and shift their focus from your speech. Power posing helps your breath properly and boosts your confidence. The secret is to take as much as space as you can with your posture. Handheld devices may affect your posture. Use PowerPoint presentation where possible instead of holding your laptop, phone, or tablet.
- Use the Right Gestures
Gestures help you communicate your message clearly to your audience and create a lasting impression. When used properly, gestures will boost your thinking process and ensure that your ideas flow well. Your listeners will remember your message if you accompany your speech with hand gestures. Hence, if you are explaining any process to your team members, they will understand it and remember your instructions. Use open gestures and avoid introducing your audience’s space while at it. Open gestures are warm and inviting. Avoid using gestures to calm yourself down when stressed or nervous. Your listeners can tell that you are nervous if rub your hands, touch your hair, or play with your jewelry. Be still and calm yourself down before using gestures.
- Watch your Facial Expressions
Your facial expressions affect your mood. You will transfer the same mood to your listeners. You cannot engage your teammates or any other audience with a frowning face. Employees watch their leaders’ facial expressions to judge their moods. They will be either defensive or interactive depending on the facial expressions. If you are a team leader, train yourself to smile often as you speak to your team even when giving negative feedback. A smile welcomes the participation of your audience and shows that you interested in building a relationship. Always take a break from your work or activities before speaking in any formal meetings. For instance, if you had a tough meeting with the top managers, take a break before addressing your team or junior.
- Use a Low Vocal Pitch
A high vocal pitch creates an impression that you are nervous and unsure of your capabilities. A low-pitched voice is preferred at the workplace. One way to lower your vocal pitch is to calm yourself down by taking deep breaths. Breathe in and out slowly before taking the stand. Another trick is to put your lips together occasionally. Practice putting your lips together before making or answering important phone calls at work. The person on the other end can tell if you are nervous or confidence by listening to your pitch. Sometimes questions and comments from your audience may make you nervous and raise your vocal pitch. Speak slowly and breathe deeply to lower your pitch. Your voice will eventually go back to an optimal pitch.
- Positive Eye Contact
Eye contact is important in all settings including the work place. You may have to go against your beliefs especially when addressing your superiors at work. Shy people tend to avoid eye contact while others believe that it is disrespectful to maintain eye contact with superiors. Moving your eyes all over the room shows that you are nervous and unsure. No matter how shy or nervous you are, look at the person or the team that you are addressing. You cannot pass a job interviewing if you answer all the questions while looking away or down. Again, do not overdo it. Sometimes eye contact can be intimidating and you do not want to create an impression that you are too assertive. Use positive and balanced eye contact.
- Watch How You Approach People
If you want to speak to anyone at the workplace, look for an opportunity to approach him or her directly. Do not run after your team leader or speak as he or she is walking away. You may end up mixing your words and saying the wrong things. Make sure that you are standing or sitting opposite to your audience at all times. This way, you can watch their response to your message and address any concerns. Avoid approaching people from the side or startling them to initiate a conversation. You earn respect, trust, and confidence when you approach people the right way. Extend your hand when you meet new people and give a firm handshake. Shake a firm handshake as you maintain eye contact, and smile.
- Do not try too Hard
Avoid paying so much attention to your body language that you forget to interact naturally. Practice positive body language at home or in social settings and then apply it at the workplace. For instance, you can practice smiling, standing and sitting in the right posture, gestures, and facial expressions in front of a mirror. Your audience can tell when you are trying too hard to appear confident or impress them. Over thinking or overdoing any body language trick gives a negative impression about your confidence and personality. For instance, smiling all the time makes people suspicious that you are covering something with your smile. Practice and master one or two things at a time until you can apply them naturally in your formal interactions.