I’m sure you’ve heard from someone before that 80 or even 90 percent of our communication with one another comes from our body language or seen as non-verbal. This statistic has been batted around so much that we just believe it as soon as we hear it. But it is actually true? To put it bluntly; it depends. While the majority of our communication with people is from our body language, it doesn’t always tell the whole tale. The environment a person is in or how well you know a person can drastically change the impact of body language on communication. However, in an office environment, taking a mental note of your body language and changing accordingly can go a long way to securing yourself a promotion. Meeting new people has become a regular occurrence in modern offices, and presenting yourself in a way that fits the situation is vital if you want to give a good first impression. Not only can you change your body language to impress new clients, but it can also have a big impact on how your co-workers and your boss perceive you within the office.
Calming Body Language
A business environment can easily become stressful when things aren’t going your way. Having a calming body language can have a significant impact on other people’s moods. A stressful or threatening presence can escalate a situation which is never helpful.
- Open gestures – By keeping your movements and gestures relaxed and open will keep the conversation calm. Showing the palms of your hands says “I have nothing to hide” which will keep people around you relaxed. This is especially useful in a meeting. Closing in on yourself (such as crossed arms) tells people you are nervous and unwilling.
- Remember to smile – It may sound like an obvious one but you’d be surprised how many people forget to smile. Smiling shows confidence and positivity. Chances are, if you smile at someone, they will smile back.
Rapport-Building Body Language
Building a rapport with a colleague, your boss or a client is always a good thing and it works especially well in an interview.
- Mirroring – Mirroring body posture and movements is a great way to tell the person you are communicating with that you are a ‘friend’ and not a ‘foe’. While this tactic can work in an array of environments, be careful with it. The trick is to do it subtly. If the person cons onto the fact you are mirroring them they may become agitated.
- Use contact – A simple touch of the arm or a pat on the back can go a long way to securing a rapport with someone you may have lost all hope with. Plucking up the courage to do so may be hard for some people, but it shows a sign of appreciation and respect to one another.
Assertive Body Language
- Stand tall and take up space – Again, what may seem like an obvious thing to do, many people don’t. Take note at the way you stand next time you are conversing with a fellow co-worker or your boss. By keeping your posture erect and your shoulders back, you will exude confidence and grab people’s attention. Not only can you do that, but take up more space as you do it. By walking around you will add to that impression and gather respect.
- Strong handshake – Meeting anyone important for the first time can be nervous occasion for some people. More so if you offer a limp hand shake. Take command of the situation and grip the other person’s hand firmly. Remember, this is not a contest! Don’t crush the other persons hand to the point of awkwardness.
With that all said, it’s now time to put it into practice. But try these tips one at a time, so not to come across as ‘trying too hard’. Not only do these tips offer a great way to build relationships with existing co-workers, they are also useful for putting into practice on a nervous first day of work at a new place. Surviving your first day at a brand new job can be stressful and it’s always worth being prepared. I thought it would also be worth mentioning a few things not to do at work which may hinder people’s positive impression of you:
- Avoid your pockets
- Don’t fidget
- Never bite your nails
- Standing too close is a big no-no
- Touching your face is an indication of deception
- Avoid crossing your arms
- Do not frantically tap your fingers or feet
Related Article: 15 Tricks To Read Body Languages