The phrase “It’s not what you say, but how you say it” doesn’t apply to just verbal words. This is definitely true when it comes to body language too. We all know that the way you present yourself physically plays a large role in how others perceive you—especially when it comes to the workplace.
So here are a few tips and tricks you should use to ensure that your body language is consistent with how you want to be seen and where you want to advance in your career.
Stand straight and be sturdy
This isn’t only good practice for your posture—it’s also a good way to communicate your status and dominance without saying a thing. When you stand straight and tall, you put forth an air of confidence that shows others you know what you’re doing and are not afraid to accept challenges or take risks.
Take up space
In addition to standing tall, make sure you enable your body to take up space in any room you enter. If you’re giving a presentation, don’t stick to the front of the room—walk around and own it. This gives you an assertive stance that essentially marks your territory.
Speak in lower tones
The sound of your voice is critical. If you’re an interviewee or interviewer, a person’s first impression of you is based heavily on how you speak. Talking in a lower pitched voice conveys empathy, power, and poise whereas speaking in a high pitched voice conveys the opposite. This doesn’t mean you have to change the sound of your voice—it simply means to speak in a manner that is calm, cool, and collected. That will be your optimal, normal, relaxed pitch.
Use your hands to talk
If you’ve ever spoken to someone who just used their mouths to talk, you may have found yourself losing interest. Our bodies are integral to how we deliver speech, so use it accordingly—especially with your hands. Use your hands to create open gestures that essentially corroborate what you’re saying. Studies show that this makes you appear more trustworthy, convincing, and actually improves the quality of your conversation.
Get rid of nervous habits
Perhaps one of the best things you can do for yourself to improve body language is to eliminate any nervous gestures or tics you may have. Or, if you’re not sure whether or not you have any, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends to point them out! Doing things like saying “um” after every other sentence or fidgeting with your hair/clothing are nervous habits that automatically make you seem less credible and unassertive.
Maintain good eye contact
This can be tricky for people sometimes since there’s a fine line between good eye contact and just plain staring at someone. A good rule of thumb is to look at someone long enough to recognize their eye color. Additionally, use common sense. Maintain eye contact whenever you’re in conversation with someone and look away occasionally if you’re thinking about a response. This shows you are actively listening, engaged, and are being respectful.
And last but not least, be amiable! Smiling can take you a long way in an interview or business meeting. It can determine whether or not someone will want to hire you or work with you. Smiling not only influences the other person’s perception of you, but also causes you to stimulate your own aura of positiveness.
Combine your amiable personality with all of the above body language tips and you present yourself as someone who is confident, smart, trustworthy, and approachable. This will get you far ahead in your career wherever you choose to go.