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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

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

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

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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