body language

How your body language can make you a better leader

Inhaaale and exhale… Lean back on the chair, rest your feet firmly on the ground, and your hands on your desk. Now we can begin. From your posture while sitting for a meeting to the frequency you look into the eyes of employees and customers, the way you communicate with your body says more than your voice is able. More than what you say, the way you say can influence customers, motivate employees and improve the productivity of your team. So, I gathered here eight tips for you to reinvigorate your body language and even your relationship with your body. Project more credibility and charisma and present your ideas with more impact, from now:

1. To feel reliable, remember the power

Before entering the meeting room, remember a success from the past that makes you feel proud and confident. Remember your sense of power and certainty, how you looked and sounded. You can lean back with hands behind the head and lift your feet (like a movie scene), or stand with legs and arms stretched wide open stimulates higher levels of testosterone — the hormone linked to power and dominance in both men and women — and lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.


2. To convey confidence, keep your voice down

Standing up and occupying the space around you certainly are means to get you in the field of discussion, more comfortable when expressing your opinion. However, you cannot always be present and, therefore, your voice must be considered. Before a speech or important telephone call, make a pause to exercise your vocal chords. Then, when stating your opinion, use the authoritative arc, in which your voice starts on one note, rises in pitch through the sentence and drops back down at the end.


3. To inspire participation, look like you’re listening

As important as hearing people, is making sure they know you are listening. Avoid the temptation to check your text messages, check your watch, or check out how the other participants are reacting. Instead, focus on those who are speaking by turning your head and torso to face them directly and by making eye contact. That shouldn’t be uncomfortable, so you may switch your eyes between eyes, the top of the nose and the mouth of the speaker. Other nonverbal ways you can show you’re paying attention leaning forward and nodding


4. To show agreement, mirror expressions and postures

When clients or business colleagues unconsciously imitate your body language, it’s their way of nonverbally saying that they like or agree with you. Thus, you can mirror other people with the purpose of building a relationship based on mutuality. Start by observing a person’s facial, body gestures, and then subtly letting your body take on similar expressions and postures. Doing so will make the other person feel understood and accepted.


5. To stimulate interaction, make room

A study on handshakes by the Income Center for Trade Shows showed that people are more open and friendly and two times more likely to remember you if you shake hands with them. Furthermore, to stimulate participation, take away anything that blocks your view or forms a barrier between you and the rest of the team. Even during a coffee break, be aware that you may create a barrier if you are upstanding and hold your cup at breast height, or when you are sitting and you cross your arms on the table.


6. To stimulate good feelings, smile

A good and free smile not only stimulates your own sense of well-being, it also tells those around you that you are approachable and cooperative. When you smile at someone, they almost always smile in return. And, because facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings, the smile you get back actually changes that person’s emotional state in a positive way.


7. To improve memory, uncross arms and legs

Body language researchers Allan and Barbara Pease report a fascinating finding from one of their studies: When a group of volunteers attended a lecture and sat with unfolded arms and legs, they remembered 38% more than a group that attended the same lecture and sat with folded arms and legs. If you see your audience exhibiting defensive body language, change tactics, take a break, or get them to move—and don’t try to persuade them until their bodies open up.


8. To improve your speech, use your hands

Since gesture is integrally linked to speech, gesturing as we talk can actually power up our thinking and help to form clearer thoughts and formulate more impactful phrases. Prefer open gestures, always below the chin line. Using gestures with open arms, and showing the palms of your hands, you show you have nothing to hide. These are silent signals of credibility and sincerity. Here’s good technique, used by great executives, politicians and speakers: approach both hands, touching the fingertips but not the palms. Known as “steeple”, that’s a gesture of calm, which is meant to convey security to your listeners.


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