There are countless ways to communicate, yet not all forms require verbal interaction. Body language is an admittedly subjective way to judge what a person is feeling or thinking. Whether you want others to know what you’re thinking or not, we all give signals as to what is going on in our mind with simple gestures throughout the day. Learning to master this unspoken language will improve your communication skills and possibly your relationship with employers and co-workers as well.
Watch Your Arms.
When you fold your arms during a meeting or when talking to a co-worker, you could be demonstrating disinterest or disagreement. While folding your arms may be out of habit rather than disinterest, it could give the wrong impression to whomever you are speaking with. If you fold your arms out of habit, focus on clasping your hands in your lap instead. This small adjustment can improve your poor body language and help you display the right message to your audience.
Watch Your Audience.
Eye contact demonstrates attentiveness and confidence. Holding eye contact during an important discussion will reassure him or her that you are indeed listening and confident in your responses. When focusing on maintaining eye contact, make it as natural as possible. Rather than staring at one member of your audience, allow your eyes to occasionally shift from person to person so everyone feels included and a part of the conversation. Good eye contact is perhaps one of the most difficult traits to practice, but one of the most noticed.
Watch Your Mouth.
Smiling is the simplest nonverbal signal of all. Smiles come in grades from ecstatic to content. Know the importance of smiling, and when to use which smile. Interacting with co-workers is an important time to smile in a friendly, joyful manner. However, during a meeting, displaying a calm, interested smile will confirm your interest in your job and its requirements. Often we become so caught up in our work that we forgot to smile, forcing others to question if we are truly happy while working. Smiling is an easy yet effective way to improve your body language immediately.
Understanding your body language is something that is learned over time. The key is self-awareness and a willingness to change. Understand that despite our mother’s advice, the majority of us initially judge a book by its cover and you are certainly no exception. Choose wisely when making your next nonverbal statement, and your career will thank you.