Direct Energy/Success Academy
Studies show that your words account for only 7% of the message you want to send – the rest – 93% is non-verbal.
Improving your non-verbal, body language, can make a big difference in your people skills, communication, sales ability, and your mood.
Heck, it can even get you a date!
Now that I have your attention… understanding and interpreting body language depends on whom you are talking to and the situation. For example, body language will be different when speaking to the boss than it would be when asking someone out on a date.
Non-verbal communication or body language can be broken down into several main areas. These areas include posture, appearance, head movements, hand movements, eye movements, facial expressions, body contact, and space.
Body language is not a one-way street. It is important to remember when we speak of improving body language – it is a two way street. On one hand, you must be aware of your own non-verbal communication and, at the same time, you must be aware of the person or person’s non-verbal communication.
Mom was right – sit up, quit slouching! Sit up in a relaxed way, not in a tense manner.
There is a massive amount of research on non-verbal communications or body language. I have selected my top 10 tips from common observable practices. Master these tips and your people skills; communication skills, will improve. Sales will increase and you will feel better about yourself and the world.
1. Don’t cross your arms or legs – You have probably already heard you should not cross your arms as it might make you seem defensive or guarded. The body language meaning of crossed arms may also show disagreement with opinions and actions of other people with whom you are communicating. This goes for your legs too. Keep your arms and legs open.
2. Have eye contact, but don’t stare – If there are several people you are talking to, give them all some eye contact to create a better connection and see if they are listening. Keeping too much eye-contact might creep people out. Giving no eye-contact might make you seem insecure. If you are not used to keeping eye-contact it might feel a little hard or scary in the beginning but keep working on it and you’ll get used to it.
3. Nod when they are talking – Nod occasionally to signal that you are listening. This gesture usually signifies agreement or bowing, a submissive gesture that shows one is going along with another person’s opinions.
4. Don’t slouch; sit up straight – Mom was right – sit up, quit slouching! Sit up in a relaxed way, not in a tense manner. Good posture = positive image. Standing straight, with shoulders back – this posture shows that you are feeling confident.
5. Lean, but not too much – If you want to show that you are interested in what someone is saying, lean toward the person talking. If you want to show that, you’re confident in yourself and relaxed, lean back a bit. Do not lean in too much or you might seem needy and desperate for some approval. Do not lean back too much or you might seem arrogant and distant.
6. Smile and laugh – Lighten up, do not take yourself too seriously. Relax a bit, smile and laugh when someone says something funny. People will be a lot more inclined to listen to you if you seem to be a positive person. But don’t be the first to laugh at your own jokes, it makes you seem nervous and needy. Smile when you are introduced to someone but don’t keep a smile plastered on your face, you’ll seem insincere.
7. Don’t touch your face – It might make you seem nervous and can be distracting for listeners or the people in the conversation. It also demonstrates stress or insecurity. Many people touch their face without realizing they have developed the habit.
8. Keep your head up – Do not keep your eyes on the ground, it might make you seem insecure and a bit lost. Keep your head up straight and your eyes towards the horizon. A lowered head indicates one is hiding something. When you lower your head, you may be showing shyness, shame, or timidity. It may also convey that you are keeping distance from another person, showing disbelief, or thinking to yourself.
9. Slow down a bit – This applies to many things. Walking slower not only makes you seem more calm and confident, it will also make you feel less stressed. If someone addresses you, don’t snap your neck in their direction, turn it a bit more slowly instead.
10. Use your hands more confidently – Rubbing your hands may show that the hands are cold, which may mean that one is excited about something, or waiting eagerly. Placing your fingers tips together is sometimes called “steepling,” It demonstrates control or authority. Bosses and authority figures use this body language example to show that they are in control.
Take a couple of these body language tips to work on every day for three to four weeks. They will develop into new habits; they will become natural. It will be something you will do without even thinking about it. Once you master a few, take another couple of tips and work on them.
93% of communication is non-verbal; it is body language. Improving your body language can make a big difference in your people skills, communication, sales ability, and your mood.
Lance Sinclair had 17 years operational experience before joining Direct Energy’s Learning & Development group in 2004. In his current role, he is responsible for the development, design, delivery, and evaluation of training and education for the franchise system consisting of Instructor Led Training, Web Based Training, and Online Self-directed Training. Direct Energy Services is one of North America’s largest home services providers and offers a wide range of services to homes including HVAC, plumbing and electrical services through our service brands of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing®, Mister Sparky® electric, and One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning®. He resides in Houston Texas and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org