Nonverbal signals affect how people trust, respect and like you

Body language is a type of non-verbal communication, where thoughts, intentions, or feelings are expressed by physical behaviours such as facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space.

Body language is a subset of nonverbal communication and complements verbal communication in social interaction. Research has shown that nonverbal communication accounts for the majority of information transmitted during interpersonal interactions and it helps to establish the relationship between two people and regulates interaction.

What you communicate through your body language and nonverbal signals affects how others see you, how well they like and respect you, and whether or not they trust you. Your body language is critical to your success irrespective of whether meeting a new client, at a conference, or a job interview.

Six keys to project a positive body language in business are:

  • Posture – Shoulders back, head up, walk and stand with confidence with no slouching.
  • Handshakes – A firm dry handshake is essential and can empower a relationship. Conversely a weak or ‘dead fish’ handshake indicates nervousness, anxiety, and passiveness.
  • Eye contact – Focused eye contact displays confidence.
  • Smiles – Smiling shows interest, excitement, concern and can create an upbeat and positive environment.
  • Be cool – People who are cool, calm, collected and in control of their emotions use only a few deliberate gestures.

The Definitive Book of Body Language – How to Read Other’s Thoughts by Their Gestures, by Allan and Barbara Pease, is the body language bible. See Pease International.


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