“If language was given to men to conceal their thoughts, then gesture’s purpose was to disclose them.” – John Napier
Our body language speaks more truth than the spoken word. Often times, we neglect to take note of it. Imagine a person who sees a burning house and calls for help in a mellow tone of voice. Will people even believe him? Our gestures should go with, not against, our verbal language. So here are a few pointers about body language and what it says.
Eye contact. If one wishes to establish rapport with clients, one has to observe a good eye contact because it establishes interest. Shuffling eyes or sporadic eye contact shows disinterest, and makes one appear distracted or dishonest. Meanwhile, prolonged eye contact may be perceived as a threat, while holding gaze longer than usual may be seen as flirting.
Posture. A stooped position may signify lack of confidence or lack of effort. Slouching position on the other hand may signify being stressed, or too lax. Our shoulders should not be shrugged to communicate respect and reverence. As much as possible we have to straighten up. Not only will it improve your body’s ergonomics, it will also help boost confidence and project that you’re prepared and all ears.
Arms. When speaking with potential clients, we must maintain a gesture of open arms. People may find you pretentious when you talk to them with your arms clasped behind your back. If you talk to them with a crossed over arms, you may appear threatening, disinterested, or aloof.
Hands. Avoid nail-biting, thumb twiddling, or finger fidgeting because they signify nervousness and anxiety. Allow your hands to be casual and open. Keep it spontaneously gesturing. In handshakes, give a firm clasp. Maintain eye contact and smile.
Facial Expressions. Be the person’s mirror. If they share good news, smile. If you agree with what they saying or you want to show interest, nod. Frown when they are telling a sad news. Show that you are empathic and engaged in the conversation. One tip is to have a listening ear. It is when you listen that you learn how to respond to their cues. At the same time, when they know you are listening well to them, you earn their respect.
Our true sentiments are reflected by our actions. Take note of your body language and observe these few pointers wherever you are.