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Don’t Let Your Body Language Speak For You

October 17, 2012

What is your nonverbal communication saying?

We have all heard the saying that a “first impression is a lasting impression”. It is human nature to try to make it the best you can. We think about and practice what we are going to say before we say it and carefully choose our clothing, all to make sure that the first impression is perfect. But many of us forget about the most important part, what isn’t said!

It’s natural for you to concentrate on what you are going to say, your introduction etc. but it’s equally important to practice the things that are not said. Studies show that 55% of communication is based on what people see and the other 38% is transmitted through tone of voice. This means in a business setting, if your body language doesn’t match your words, you are wasting your time. Rehearsing how you will carry yourself, eye contact and even what you do with your hands can mean just as much as what you are saying.

I have put together a short list of tips that will help you become more aware of how the things you aren’t saying during a conversation impact others opinions.

  • Eye contact: Maintain eye contact at least 60% of the time in order to look interested, but not aggressive
  • Facial expression: Smiling sends a positive message and is appropriate in all but a life and death situation. Smiling adds warmth and an aura of confidence
  • Head Position: Keeping your head straight gives the appearance of being self-assured and authoritative. To come across as friendly and open, tilt your head to one side
  • Arm Position: To appear confident and relaxed the best place for your arms is by your side
  • Body Angle: Leaning into the speaker says, “Tell me more” and adding a nod of your head is another way to affirm that you are an attentive listener
  • Posture: Sit or stand erect if you want to be seen as alert, energetic and enthusiastic
  • Hands: Keep your hands visible and out of your pockets and resist the urge to put them under the table or behind your back
  • Legs: The preferred positions are feet flat on the floor or legs crossed at the ankles
  • Distance: Position yourself to make the other person feel comfortable. A good guide is 4 to 12ft if you are meeting someone new or in a public setting

Keep these tips in mind to make sure the first impression you give is a positive and lasting one.The KLR Women CPA’s Business Exchange Group reinforces the firm’s ongoing strategy to retain the best and brightest talent in the industry and connects successful women business leaders. As one of the largest accounting firms in New England, KLR recognizes that a commitment to women is a commitment to excellence. Professionals in this group have experience in tax, audit, wealth management, executive recruiting, business valuation and consulting in a variety of industries.

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