Did you know it’s not necessary to use words when communicating? Your body language at work can say a lot about you. In fact according to many leading psychologists who research the art of body language, they believe that almost 60% of all communication is done through body language – and in my many years of learning and training on the subject, and specifically on how to use the right body language at work – I would say that’s pretty right on.
Body language at work is critical to understand. It can not only change the direction of a conversation but it can transform the way others perceive you.
Here are 5 body language tips offered by Inc.on how you can shift a conversation by not saying a word:
Symmetry is basically your position to the person you are communicating with. Let’s say you and the other person are sitting in chairs. They are facing toward you, but you are facing 45 degrees from them. Your symmetry is off. If your head is cocked to one side, or one side of your body does not match the other then the symmetry is off.
By shifting to face the other person and leaning forward with an open posture you can indicate acceptance and interest and encourage the other person to follow this line of conversation. By turning away and closing your posture you can get them to shift the focus and communicate your lack of interest in this line of communication.
Some executives use height to demonstrate their dominant position buy raising their chair higher while making the chairs on the other side of the desk lower. This is wrong because during open communications you want to be at the same height as the person with whom you are communicating.
I frequently use height to politely end a conversation. We have all worked with someone who frequently interrupts and drones on. When they entered my office and sat down, I would stand up. This generally ended things pretty quickly so I could get on with my day.
Posture can convey interest or disinterest. You can slouch or sit up straight. Each of these actions conveys something to the other person.
Open and closed positions
If you fold your arms across your chest it is generally viewed as a closed posture. You are communicating that you are not listening. Arms at your sides communicate a willingness to listen.
I love this one. Many of you that are parents use this on a regular basis. One of my children will ask a question or make a statement and they can read my face like a book. A scowl, squinting the eyes in an “I don’t understand” way or just shaking the head can convey much more than the spoken word.
I have heard people coach on body language. They say sit up straight to maintain an open position and use positive body language always. I think that’s like signalling a landing aircraft on a carrier with all positive signals. Bad idea. Sometime you need them to do something different. So the next time you speak with someone, use the information here and gauge the response. You might be surprised.
Use the right body language at work and you’ll have conversations going your way, and you’ll be giving people the respect they deserve as you communicate with them. This will all help shape how others perceive you at work and will help you get ahead and reach higher levels in your career.
If you’re an organization, talk to Diane Craig about doing a 60-90 minute lunch and learn session, educating your employees about the importance of the right body language at work. Effective communication can lead to only one thing – increased productivity. Contact Diane today!