“The body never lies.”Martha Graham
Body language has been, throughout history, one of the most important ways to communicate.A wink signifies mystique and glamor, a single raised hand in front of your face is shorthand for ‘I’ve had enough,’ and putting your leg behind you with your tilt back means joyfulness around the world.
How you look in your job may make a significant difference (or not). According to a Harvard Business School study conducted by Amy J.C. Cuddy, an associate professor of business administration, standing in a powerful posture for a few minutes before an interview might help you land the job. [Read more of Cuddy’s advice on power poses]. Power posing, according to Cuddy, lowers a person’s resistance to risk and pain while also enhancing their capacity to think abstractly.
So, what are some easy methods to improve your negotiation expertise, make a difficult job easier, and increase collaboration? We spoke with Dr.Carol Kinsey Goman, the author of 12 books, which includes The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help—or Hurt—How You Lead, about her best tips for improving your body language in the workplace.
Send engagement signals to find a deal.
According to Goman, work groups who show engaged body language such as smiling, nodding and mirroring reach agreements faster. “The fact that this good result is the same whether the display was caused by an unconscious reaction or a strategic decision,” she continued, “is intriguing.”
[Related: Boost Your Confidence in 20 Minutes]
Smile to make a difficult activity seem less daunting.
This is essentially faking it till you make it for your body. You are convincing yourself that you like this challenging project. “Whenever you grimace or scowl while performing a task, your brain is sending the message ‘This is really hard,’” says Goman. “The brain then responds by releasing stress chemicals into your circulation. And this begins a circle of viciousness: the more stressed you are, the more difficult the work becomes.” However, if you grin, you will eventually come to the conclusion that this labor is not so difficult after all.
Hand out your business card to create a rapport.
If you want people to approach you, stop looking so unapproachable. When you sit with your legs crossed, it sends the same message. However, if you open yourself up to a person when they enter the room by offering them a card or getting them a cup of coffee, you will reduce the resistance.
[Related: What Your Office Body Language Says About You]
Reining in your excitement will make you more authoritative.
You can look weak if you appear overly enthusiastic. Goman advises, “When you want to come across as powerful and in control, it’s best to minimize your movements. Take a deep breath, keep your gestures at waist level or below, and pause before making a key point. This will help you appear calm and collected – and therefore more authoritative.”
If you want to lower the tension in a situation, realign your body language.
Often, people argue because they feel unheard. One method to make that individual feel better and demonstrate excellent leadership is to physically align yourself with them, whether it’s by standing or sitting next to them. According to Goman, one thing that would make the argument escalate is by stand facing the person with your arms crossed or move closer instead of backing away.
To increase participation, act as if you’re paying attention.
Put down your phone if you truly want to demonstrate that you are paying attention! Goman claims that you can prove your focus by making eye contact and turning your head and torso towards the person. Another nonverbal method to demonstrate you’re interested and listening is to lean forward, nod your head, and tilt your head.
Remove barriers to encourage collaboration.
Barriers in between? Get rid of it. Take away anything that obstructs your vision or creates a barrier between you and the rest of the team, according to Goman. According to her, even something as small and seemingly insignificant as the way you hold your cup during a coffee break can communicate disinterest or create distance between you and others.
The quickest way to connect with someone is by shaking their hand.
A strong handshake can affect your business in many positive ways. According to Goman, a study found that people are twice as likely to remember you if you shake their hand. “Touch is the most basic and powerful nonverbal signal. For as little as 1/40 of a second, simply touching someone on the arm, hand, or shoulder establishes a human connection. Physical touch and warmth are established through handshaking etiquette in the workplace, and this tactile contact leaves a favorable impression,” she added.
Agree through facial and body expressions and postures.
According to Goman, when people unconsciously imitate our body language, it’s their way of telling us that they either like or agree with us. “Mimicry can be an essential component of establishing rapport and fostering feelings of mutuality when you intentionally do so,” she added.
Use your hands to improve the delivery of your speeches.
Although some people might say that making too many hand gestures looks like you’re nervous, that’s only if you aren’t doing it correctly. “Since gesture is inextricably linked to speech, miming as we speak might actually boost our cognitive function,” Goman adds.