We all know how important communication is—both on the job and in our personal lives. Whether it’s assigning an important task to an employee, making a sales pitch to a key customer, or presenting a budget to the board of directors, our verbal communication skills can lead directly to our success at work.
But how often do we think about our nonverbal communication skills—our body language? Typically, not much. Researchers have found, however, that up to 90 percent of our communication is nonverbal.
Given this fact, it’s clearly just as important—if not more—to focus on improving the way we communicate with others using our body language.
Here are 7 body language habits that will lead to your success on the job.
1. Control your gestures
Although some gesturing while you’re talking to someone else is good—it shows that you’re interested and engaged in the conversation—too much can make you look nervous or overly aggressive. If you’re the kind of person who is always waving your arms around when you talk, tone it down just a bit.
All of us are attracted to people who smile at us—it’s a welcoming gesture that makes us feel more comfortable. Not only that, but when you smile you project to the world that you are confident and happy.
3. Make and maintain eye contact
When you make and maintain eye contact while speaking with someone else, that person will tend to trust what you say.
4. Match your facial expressions to your words
It’s important for your facial expressions to match what it is you are trying to communicate. If you’re telling someone they’re doing a great job, but you’re shaking your head no, then you’re sending conflicting and confusing messages.
5. Stand tall
Having good posture—shoulders back and head held high—exudes confidence and makes others perceive you as strong, confident, and successful.
6. Employ a firm handshake
There’s nothing much worse when it comes to body language than a weakly executed handshake. Shake hands like you mean it. A firm grasp and a squeeze while maintaining eye contact will send a powerful message of success to the other person.
7. Think and pose for success
Research has demonstrated that if you simply think of a time in the past when you felt powerful or experienced an incredibly positive outcome, this can increase your confidence. This confidence projects out to others and you are much more likely to have a successful interaction. And, striking a power pose is proven to be extremely beneficial before an interview or speaking engagement, creating internal calm and confidence—the feeling that you can do anything. Stand with legs apart and hands on your hips.