Contributed by Mark Bowden, Author of Winning Body Language
Body language and wining trust with our nonverbal signals are some of the most important gestures in business.
There are some fundamental pieces of nonverbal communication that you can use to better control a conversation, command attention and convey the right messages, because they are fundamentally about our cultural shared physicality – regardless of gender. Here are the top five tips body language tips from my new book Winning Body Language (McGraw-Hill 2010).
- Watch Your Hands. Don’t hang your hands down by your sides during important business communications – one-to-one, presentations, interviews and meetings etc. When you stand or sit still with your arms hanging by your sides, it causes you to initiate a “sleep” or “depression” reaction in the body and mind of both yourself and others around you. And if you are active with your arms by your side and presenting, it can cause you to sway from side to side, pace up and down and become quite aggressive in the feeling you give off.
- Keep Your Energy Truthful. Instead keep your hands in what I call the TruthPlane; the horizontal plane of gesture that fans out 180 degrees from your navel. This keeps energy up, vocal tone lively and confident and the physical image you now send engenders trust in those you are communicating with. You instantly look and feel calm and assertive.
- Gesture Appropriately to Show Excitement Levels. Bring your gestures up to chest level or as I call it the PassionPlane only if you wish to bring more excitement and energy to your communication. This horizontal gesture plane is great for communicating vision and big ideas, but if you are talking about facts and figures in this area it can easily give the data a feeling of exaggeration. Not good for the CFO!
- Shake Hands with the Right Intentions. When shaking hands make sure that your give the full palm of your hand to the other person. When you don’t touch palm to palm it creates a feeling of uneasiness and mistrust. Shaking hands gives us a sense of each others’ positive or negative intentions by sensing the tonality of the muscles in the hand. No touch at all is considered, by our emotional brains, as a lack of information and so by default a bad thing.
- Be in a mindset of acceptance or what I call the YesState. When you feel more accepting of everything around you, your body language quickly and naturally opens up and you look more accepting of others around you. You look more able to handle the world and you look safer to be with. In return, those around you mirror both the body and the mindset that it comes from: they become more open and accepting to you. This is nonverbal influence and persuasion at its best.
About the Author
Mark Bowden is a noted body language expert, master of non-verbal and verbal communication, and a leader in the techniques of influence. The creator of TruthPlane, a unique model of training for anyone who has to communicate to an audience, his techniques are used now by top executives and political leaders across the globe. Mark gained his university degree in performance in the UK, and studied the gesture control methods of Jacques Lecoq’s Laboratory of Movement, Paris; he has worked with leading practitioners of movement psychology and built upon the influence techniques of Dr. Milton Erickson. He holds a reputation as one of the UK’s expert performance trainers, lecturing on performance at Drama Academies and Universities throughout the UK and across the world including RADA, Oxford and Cambridge; he is a highly sought after trainer in business communication at Canadian Universities including McGill, and international top ten business school Schulich at York. His client list of leading business people and politicians currently includes presidents and CEO’s of fortune 50 companies and a G8 Prime Minister. His book Winning Body Language is available everywhere books are sold and his website is www.truthplane.com.