In the business world, your contacts and your interactions with them and conversations can affect the operations of your business. Whether you are interacting with a client or vendor or negotiating pricing, one of the key factors that can affect these communications is Body Language.
What is Body Language?
According to Wikipedia, “Body language refers to various forms of nonverbal communication, wherein a person may reveal clues as to some unspoken intention or feeling through their physical behavior. These behaviors include, but are not limited to: facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space.”
How is Body Language important for your Business?
• Body Language is crucial in creating a first impression. The way people stand, converse and interact gives people the first indication of their personality- is it friendly, outgoing and helpful or defensive, argumentative and unapproachable.
• It can give you non-verbal cues about the functioning of an organization, motivations and give you insight on which issues under discussion are more important to pay attention to.
• It is a key differentiator in networking events as entrepreneurs that exude confidence, leadership and success in their body language make the most favorable contacts.
• It influences the way you are perceived by investors, clients, potential employees and vendors
How to Read Body Language
Reading Body Language correctly can give you and your business the upper hand. Here are a few tips you need to pay attention to:
1. Eye Contact: Pay attention to the eye contact the individuals you interact with. When people are clear, upfront and open, they will share a good amount of eye contact with you. Lack of proper eye contact can be read as a lack of confidence, trust or distraction.
Before assigning meaning to body language, it is extremely important that you gauge the context of the situation. A person for example, could be slouched at the end of a long day from tiredness, without giving proper context to this situation it could misinterpreted as a disheartened or defeated gesture.
3. Facial Expressions:
Facial Expressions combined with tone of voice or gesture can give you a treasure trove of information. While presenting, be sure to watch your audience, minor changes in facial expressions can give you a clue to what they are thinking and how you can convince them of your point of view.
4. Mirroring: When a conversation is going well, you will notice that the other person will begin to mirror your expressions and gestures. It can be read that the person is in agreement with you and you are both on the same page. The copying of gestures serves to represent that a connection has been made between you.
5. Learn to Look for Clusters:
It is essential that you do not put too much import into a single gesture and expression but instead look for clusters of positive or negative signs. E.g. If you focus solely on eye contact you could miss other signs like nervous twitching , crossed legs or defensive gestures that could indicate the conversation has taken a negative turn.
When it comes to Body Language, it is important to be observant, trust your instincts and most importantly ensure that your body language reflects your own positive attitude.