In order to be most persuasive with our target audience, we need to communicate powerfully with our body language. Our objective should be to amplify our words by expressing consistency of our message with our non-verbal gestures. When our verbal is congruent with our non-verbal, our audience is much more likely to feel understood & believe in our message.
Tips to consider:
- Genuinely smile when meeting the other person. An authentic smile is the most universally- powerful, positive gesture. It says that we are relaxed, happy, and glad to be in the other's company.
- The tilting of our head telegraphs that we are receptive to the other's comments. Consistent eye-contact (avoid a stare-off) and the appropriate head nod along with the raising of the eye brow(s) affirms to the other that we are actively engaged and understand that which they are communicating.
- When delivering our solution any movements that defy gravity (i.e. the raising of our arms or raising up on our toes) expresses that we are positively excited and exudes confidence.
- Talk with your hands. People want to see our hands. Although it is usually non-conscious, people put a strong measure of trust in whether our hands are saying the same thing our words are. Palms-up is a pleading posture or supplication for the other to believe. While palms-down, when emphasizing a point, is perceived as demonstrating more confidence in our position.
- Our torso is the billboard of our body language. The front, or ventral-side, when fully exposed signals an openness of honesty and transparency. While the back, or dorsal-side, sends the message that we are closing ourselves off. Turning our back on someone, as the saying goes, comes from this actual gesture and can be one of the most disrespectful and non-supportive postures we can take.
Here is a challenge to you . . . the next time you engage someone in conversation become aware of the message your body language is communicating. It is usually a good idea (although not always) to let your natural gestures accompany your verbal message. Take the time to notice if your body language is consistent with your verbal communication.