Whether you are in charge of a huge global organisation or a small business, there’s almost an infinite number of things you can do to be a strong leader. You know how important it is to treat people with respect and shower them with recognition when appropriate, but one thing you might not put enough emphasis on is non verbal communication.
Your body language can have a huge impact on how people relate to you in the office. Read on to learn how you can make sure you’re carrying yourself correctly and what you can do to improve in this area.
What is body language?
The concept of body language is not difficult to grasp. Body language is how you communicate with people, often subconsciously, through your physical actions. It encompasses your movements as well as how your body looks during periods of inactivity. Your body language can change due to a variety of factors, including your mood.
How can body language impact leadership?
The way you communicate with the rest of your team, clients and others is of the utmost importance for your company. For better or worse, non verbal communication can undermine the actual words you say. Trying to tell somebody they are doing a good job or sharing important information can be nullified by poor body language that makes you seem unconfident or not serious.
You don’t even have to be talking for bad body language to poison what you’re trying to do. You could be actively listening to the concerns of a colleague or a client, but if you’re slouched over or practicing other types of bad body language, the speaker might think you are uninterested. This can make them feel disrespected and resent you, torpedoing your chances of success.
These are just a few examples of how poor body language can impact your leadership. Looking to avoid such pitfalls? We, here at Saxons have you covered.
5 body language tips to start implementing today
Don’t be dismayed if you feel like you’ve ignored the impact of your body language in the past or think your non verbal communication skills are poor. Here are five things you can do to remedy your shortcomings in this area.
- Make contact
When you want to get your point across, don’t feel like you have to rely solely on words. Sometimes a simple gesture can do a lot of the work for you. One such gesture is a good old fashioned handshake. Before getting to your big spiel, give the person you’re getting ready to address a solid handshake. This creates a physical bond, and studies have shown that shaking hands greatly increases the chances somebody remembers what you say. Use the primitive power of touch to your advantage.
- Stay smiling
The last thing you want is for people to be afraid of or intimidated by you. While such apprehension can be used to your advantage when it comes to negotiating, most of the time you want to be considered a friendly, approachable person. The easiest way to do this is by keeping a smile on your face. This emits warmth and happiness. Such emotions will make it easier for colleagues to share ideas with you, and will encourage clients to trust you and take what you have to say on board.
- Palm reading
When it comes to speaking with your hands, your palms can be a tell-tale sign of your intentions. Keeping your palms up when you talk is a sign of invitation. It means you’re willing to hear what somebody else has to say or negotiate. Alternatively, keeping your palms facing down means you mean business. A real power move is placing your hands face down on a table when speaking directly to somebody.
- Engage with your eyes
Looking at somebody when they are speaking lets him or her know you are paying attention to what they have to say. This, in turn, will encourage them to keep their lines of communication open. So, when somebody is speaking to you, don’t check emails or shuffle items around on your desk. It’ll do both them and you heaps of favours in the long run.
- Stay open
Physical barriers can come in all shapes and sizes. Blocking yourself off in a cubicle in the corner of an otherwise open environment can shut you off from your workers in more ways than one. Try to promote a feeling of openness by removing these barriers. Even smaller, seemingly inconsequential things that you keep between you and others can give off the wrong idea. Don’t hold your apple or coffee cup up too high between you and another person. It is a subconscious sign that you are trying to put up a barrier.
You might not realise just how loud non verbal communication can be. That’s why it’s important for not only leaders such as yourself, but also your team members to be well versed in reading body language and having strong habits themselves. These can help them in everything from daily interactions with customers to public speaking. Hire an expert to teach a seminar, rent a comfortable, convenient training facility and educate your workers in the importance of body language today.