“It’s not just about what you say, but HOW you say it.”
Something an old sales manager once told me. You can possess all the knowledge on a product or service, but if you come across as a mindless drone, nobody will really listen to you. The trick is to influence people. This comes strongly across in your body language. You don’t just want someone to just listen to you like an educator standing in front of 30 odd bored students, you want to captivate them.
There are 7 easy ways to effectively captivate an audience by simply using the right body language:
Stand straight, not rigid
Your posture is probably the first thing someone notices. You need to focus on standing tall, but not rigid. standing tall exudes confidence and strength.
When you stand rigid looking like you’re in the lineup for a military-grade inspection, people will feel uneasy around you, feeling arrogance as a reflection.
The same applies to standing slouched over – you look weak in appearance. Roll your shoulders back, stand upright and walk in with your head held high.
In some cultures, handshakes are a huge deal. Something I was taught from an early age was to always introduce yourself with a handshake. The trick here is to not crush your opponent’s hand though, just a firm approach does the trick.
The “firmer than normal” handshake only applies at times where you need to exert some dominance. The boy who picks up your daughter for the first date would be an opportunity to whip out this one! A simple clear handshake shows confidence and puts the message across quite clearly.
In order to set the right mood, you need the right stance. Opening you stance shows a slight vulnerability which in turn makes you more approachable.
Standing slightly turned away, by closing your hips for example makes you look defensive or shut off.
It’s important to keep this in mind when you are speaking to someone as both have a good, practical application in differing circumstances.
A bad habit most of us have is to start relaxing into a conversation by leaning on things. Leaning back against a wall or placing your hand on something to prop you up can set too much of a casual vibe. Once again, this runs over the posture you take. You need to send across the right message with your entire body. “I can’t even stand up on my own,” send across the wrong type of message and many people will stop listening.
Constructive eye contact
Many people mess this one up. If your eyes are shifting all over the place when someone is speaking to you, it may come across that you’re shifty or even aloof.
You should also consider that staring at someone with an almost glare can be quite intimidating and somewhat creepy.
Finding the balance between intensity and diversion will put weight behind what you’re saying.
Match their body language
It’s important to also pay attention to the other person’s body language. The trick is to subtly mirror what they do. When they cross their arms, do the same – this is using their body language to steer yours in the right direction. People also like to feel like you’re slightly flexible around them when you allow them to steer you a bit. Consciously try this one and see how well it really works!
With thanks to Unified Soul Theory for the motivation behind this piece