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10 Body Language Tips to Increase Your Success

10 Body Language Tips to Increase Your Success

According to Peter Economy, research shows as much as 60 to 90 percent of how we communicate with others is nonverbal. Body language, therefore, is very important.

Our body language hugely affects the impression we make on others. Slouchy posture with your head hung down can make you appear lazy or timid. A weak handshake can make others think you lack confidence. Poor eye contact can make you seem uninterested in the conversation.

The way you communicate with others nonverbally can totally wreck or drastically improve your chances of success.

Here are 10 body tips to increase your success.

1. Master the perfect handshake

Create an excellent first impression by mastering the handshake. You want a perfect handshake: firm and confident, but not uncomfortably firm where you’re squeezing their fingers too hard. You also don’t want it limp like a dead fish. According to the American Management Association, handshake research by the Income Center for Trade Shows found that people are twice as likely to remember you if you shake hands. This article states that touching someone on the hand, arm, or shoulder for a very brief moment – just 1/40 of a second – creates a human bond.

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2. Make eye contact, nod occasionally, and lean in

It is important for others to know you are listening and you care about what they’re saying. Make eye contact when you meet them, and throughout your conversation. Just don’t stare. That can be viewed as aggressive. Leaning in shows your’re engaged in the conversation. Nodding your head lets the other person know you understand.

Avoid multitasking during a conversation. Checking your phone for text messages, looking around at other people, and looking at the clock can signal your disinterest in the conversation. Focus intently on the other person and what he or she is saying for the entire duration of the conversation.

3. Demonstrate proper posture

Don’t sit incredibly rigidly, but sit with proper posture. You’ll come across as more confident and competent. Plus, it’s better for your back and improves how you feel about yourself.

4. Smile slowly

Smile when the other person smiles. Don’t plaster a fake, constant smile on your face during the entire meeting, but smile and laugh genuinely. This will help keep a positive tone, shows you’re engaged in the conversation, and makes you seem more warm and friendly.

This article has tips from Leil Lowndes, author of the book How to Talk to Anyone, on great smiling techniques. “Don’t flash an immediate smile,” Lowndes recommends. Instead, pause, look at the person’s face, and then have a flooding smile, a “big, warm, responsive smile flood over your face and overflow into your eyes.” Delaying your smile for a second, according to Lowndes, adds more depth and richness to how people perceive you.

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6. Position your feet appropriately

Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman has done extensive research on body language in the workplace. She advises people to watch the position of their feet when interacting with others. She is quoted here with excellent thoughts about starting and ending conversations:

“When you approach 2 people talking, you will be acknowledged in one of two ways. If the feet of your two colleagues stay in place and they twist only their upper torsos in your direction, they don’t really want you to join the conversation. But if their feet open to include you then you know that you are truly invited to participate.”

“Whenever you are speaking with a co-worker who seems to be paying attention, and whose upper body is angled toward you, but whose legs and feet have turned toward the door – realize that the conversation is over. Her feet are telling you she wants to leave. Foot positions are revealing even if someone’s legs are crossed.”

Be mindful of your stance during a conversation and also be aware of the position of the other person’s feet.

7. Display cultural sensitivity

Be aware of cultural practices of the person you are meeting. Body language customs that are normal, accepted, and welcoming in some areas of the world are considered very rude in other places.

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8. Uncross your arms and legs for better memory

Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman discusses interesting research by Allan and Barbara Pease: A group of people listening to a lecture with arms and legs uncrossed remembered 38% more information than a group in the same lecture who listened with arms and legs crossed. Make sure you sit with arms and legs unfolded to improve your retention. Also, if you are the speaker and your audience has arms and legs crossed, take a break or get them to move around.

9.  Cut out the fidgeting

When you wiggle, squirm, and fidget, the audience may think you’re anxious or lying, according to Business Insider.

10. Assume a power pose before important meetings

In Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk,Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are, she teaches about fascinating experiments she conducted related to body language. The results were astonishing. She had people stand in “high-power” poses (standing with legs apart and arms streched wide open overhead, or sitting in a chair leaning back with feet propped up on a desk and hands behind head). Her research found that assuming one of these expansive poses for just two minutes increased people’s testosterone levels and decreased their cortisol (stress hormone) levels. This led to feeling more powerful and having more tolerance for risk.

She discusses how your body language can change you, and advises us:

Fake it until you become it.

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Take some time to watch her Ted Talk. It can literally change your life.

Do you have other helpful body language tips? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this interesting topic!

Featured photo credit: Handshake man – women/Flazingo Photos via flickr.com

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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