Have you ever looked at someone slouching and thought he looked lazy or bored? It is amazing that just by looking at someone standing we can gauge a number of things about his personality or state of mind. It is a well-established fact that “first impressions are generally the last impressions” or at least they are lasting ones. And it is for these first impressions that we need to mind our body language. It is said that “actions speak louder than words” and this case it is true.
So here are some pointers for positive body language:
First maintain a smart posture. Do not slouch or stand in an unnaturally attentive position, be casual and smart. Slouching shows lack of interest or confidence.
Do not use too many gestures, it drives attention away from what you are saying to how you are saying it. People tend to use involuntary gestures when nervous or under pressure.
Remember that gestures are culture specific and can mean different things depending on which part of the world you are. So be sensitive and aware while using gestures.
Maintain positive eye contact. However, differentiate between eye contact and staring. Maintaining positive eye contact shows high level of interest and confidence.
Expressions are hard to control, but keeping them unexaggerated can help. Exaggerated expressions again take focus away from what you say to how you say it.
Even a handshake goes a long way in creating a good impression. Keep it short and crisp.
Physical Appearance, though not strictly body language also helps in creating a positive first impression. Make sure you are dressed smartly and professionally. Appropriate dressing is the key – being too formal or too informal will put you in an uncomfortable spot.
Keeping these simple guidelines in mind go a long way in creating positive and lasting first impressions. In today’s fast paced business environment where interactions are short and many times second opportunities are not available, using body language to create a positive impression can be the key.
BizComm by Strengthscape deals with Body Language and many more nuances of Effective Communication.