Manager skills 104: 10 step body language guide

We already shared tips on effective communication for managers and above in senior management jobs. These skills often get ignored while we spend our energies in getting up to speed on more tangible (or so we feel) hard on the job skills.

Non-verbal communication, or body language is often ignored by managers and this can prove to be something that can really improve the performance and impact of how a manager is perceived. Today, we present a ten step body language guide, highlighting additionally the needs and challenges of the whole process.

Body language guide: the background

Body language has been called “the silent language.” According to Argyle (1978), humans have more than 700,000 forms of body language. Considering that the face alone can make about 250,000 expressions and that there are 5,000 distinct hand gestures, it’s easy to see how our bodies can communicate almost as completely as spoken words can.

According to the social anthropologist, Edward T. Hall (1959), in a normal conversation between two persons, at least 65% of it is conveyed through the body. Further, UCLA psychology professor Albert Mehrabian found that about half of each message a person sends to someone else is nonverbal.

Facial expressions, body posture and hand positioning can all contribute to the way a message is perceived. At times, body language even contradicts the words a person speaks.

Needless to say, your body speaks volumes about who you are. Since nonverbal communication makes up between 60 to 75% of the impact of a message, you could subtly use body language to become tremendously successful. Becoming sensitive to the clues of body language can help us communicate more effectively.

The body language guide: infographic

Guide on body language tips by vantage point experteer

10 step body language guide for managers explained:

  1. Posture: Stand or sit straight and relax. Loosen your shoulders by shaking them a bit and move them back slightly.
  2. Raise your head:Keep your head up straight and your eyes towards the horizon.
  3. Make eye contact:Eye contact is important for making a connection, maintaining the flow of the conversation, and gauging the other person’s response.
  4. Facial expressions: Your expressions should give the impression of being emotionally present and filled with interest.
  5. Nod: When someone is talking to you, nod once in a while to signal that you are listening.
  6. Purposeful and deliberate gestures:Use your hands to describe something or to add weight to a point you are trying to make.Fidgeting or touching your face makes you appear nervous and can be distracting for listeners.
  7. Shake hands: A study found that people are two times more likely to remember you if you shake hands with them.
  8. Space:Taking up space signals self-confidence and that you are comfortable in your own skin.
  9. Crossed arms and legs:Crossed arms and legs make you seem defensive or guarded.
  10. Tone of voice: Keep your pitch moderate to low, slow and clear. Your tone should project warmth.

If you want to improve your body language, become aware of it. Notice how you sit, how you stand, how you use your hands and legs, and what you do while talking to someone. You might want to practice in front of a mirror. This will give you good feedback on how you look to other people and give you an opportunity to practice a bit before going out into the world.

Remember that your actions work backwards, reinforcing new behaviors: If you smile more, you will feel happier. If you sit up straight, you will feel more energetic and in control. If you slow down your movements, you’ll feel calmer.

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