Since writing The Silent Language of Leaders three years ago, and The Nonverbal Advantage a couple of years before that, I’ve spoken to over two hundred business, university, association and government audiences and, in the process of preparing to address these very savvy professionals, I’ve discovered even more about the role of body language in business success.
Here are my ten simple and powerful body language tips:
1) Before an important meeting, breathe through your mouth.
Right before you enter the meeting room, take a deep breath and exhale through your mouth. (If you are unobserved, make a soft “ahh” sound.) Doing so releases the tension in your neck, shoulders and jaw that can make you look rigid or aggressive.
2) When making a formal presentation, move then pause.
Human beings are drawn to movement. If you move when you speak, you’ll get people’s attention. It can be especially effective to move toward the audience before making a key point, and away when you want to signal a break or a change of subject. You can also use space to reinforce your ideas. For example, if you’re presenting three issues, talk about each of them from a different physical position. Or if you have “bad” news and “good” news, you can present each from different sides of the stage or platform. (Just be sure to make your closing remarks while standing on the “good” side.) But don’t move while making a crucial comment. You have the most impact when you combine movement with physical pauses in which you stand absolutely still to highlight your most important points.
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