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Reading the words between the lines

Body language is a non-verbal form of communication. In fact, unspoken communication makes up over 50% of what people say, so knowing how to analyse and interpret body language has a definite place in the workplace. As a manager or leader, it is essential that you understand the body language of your team and educate them on the subject, so they are better positioned to figure out what is going on around them.

Understanding body language will enable your team to alter how others view them, help clarify what others are saying and provide them with communication tips to propel their career forward. Knowing the art of body language in business will show them how they can adjust their own body language for each situation and improve overall nonverbal cues.

Take a step back and consider whether your team is using their body language to the best of their ability to improve their communication and persuasion techniques. Reading the words between the lines can advance your team member’s careers and profitability in ways you never thought possible.

Eye Contact

Maintaining good eye contact is necessary when it comes to business interactions if you want to be taken seriously. It shows you are interested in what is being said and that you view the conversation as important. Remember to take breaks from eye contact every now and again, so you do not appear overly aggressive or rude.

Smile

Even if you are nervous, it pays to smile. We all like to see positive faces around us. It makes us feel welcome and, at the same time, enables us to warm to those around us. Smiling instills feelings of trustworthiness and positivity. If smiling is not a natural act in a business or formal setting, then it may pay to practice your smiling skills, so it doesn’t look overly forced or false.

Voice

Your voice plays a big part in your overall body language. The pitch of your speaking voice is as critical as the words you are saying. A deeper voice comes across as empathic and compelling. Listen to your tone and if you notice it rising at all, particularly at the end of a sentence, take a deep breath before you continue speaking. That should help lower it slightly and give you the confidence to carry on.

Posture

Posture can convey a lot of information about a person. Stand tall and keep your shoulders back in a relaxed position to avoid coming across as stiff or unapproachable. Keep your head up and avoid slouching when standing or sitting. This will automatically instill thoughts of power and confidence. Open up your body and spread out slightly to claim more space. If you stand with closed feet or a clenched body, you will look slightly hesitant or nervous to onlookers.

Handshake

Did you know you can tell a lot by someone’s handshake? Knowing how to perfect a polished business-like handshake is worth the practice. You don’t want it to be too soft or too hard as it will come across as unprofessional. You want it to be firm, while at the same time, maintaining your eye contact to give you credibility and self-assurance.

Gestures

Using hand gestures while you speak is different from gesturing through nervousness. It portrays confidence and will help the flow of communication, provided it is used effectively. Let your gestures emphasise your speech rather than overtake it. When listening to others, maintain an open posture and avoid crossing your arms or hiding your hands.

Body Language Basics is just one of over 210 courses we offer in our eLearning library. Our fully customisable training courses can be purchased individually or as a complete set. Contact us for more information.

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