Communication: it’s 90% what you do, not what you say

It’s happened to us all. You see someone across the room at a conference or company meeting, and can tell right away they are confident, comfortable, accomplished, and sure of themselves. Now remember the times you’ve seen someone and knew immediately they were feeling uncomfortable, shy, intimidated, or unsure of themselves. How did you know?

Body language is 90% and words are 10% of the communication process

You don't have to say anything for someone to pick up on how you are feeling. Your body language reveals your level of confidence and certainty, with or without your words. To make sure you’re seen as that confident first person above, here are 5 sure-fire body language boosters:

1. Own your height: whether you are tall, short, or in-between. Stand tall, sit tall, speak tall. Sit with a straight back. Shoulders back, chin up. Speak slightly upward with your chin up. Moderate your voice to that of the person you are communicating with in tone and enthusiasm.

2. Be still: fidgeting indicates, creates, and amplifies anxiety. Instead, prepare yourself for challenges like job interviews with some mindful breathing exercises, and a mental check list with prompts like “feet flat on floor, hands at sides, face relaxed.” Keep your hands in your lap or put them in your pockets if all else fails. And above all don’t run your fingers through your hair. The more you move your hands toward your head, the more distracting it is for the other person and the more nervous you appear.

3. Use the 3-second eye contact rule: hold eye contact for three seconds, then look away if you need to. Be cognizant of how your ‘resting face’ looks as well. Ask a trusted friend or your coach then try to be mindful of a relaxed forehead and gentle smile.

4. Match your expression to your words: saying one thing and expressing something else makes you seem untrustworthy. If you say "I'm not mad at you anymore," for instance, make sure your arms aren’t still crossed or your brows are not deeply furrowed. People will believe your body language over your words so do what you can to have your physical presence reflective of a professional, congenial demeanor. 

And most importantly:

5. Stay riveted: put your phone away and mute the alerts . Give 100% of your attention to the moment, the meeting, and the person in front of you. Being distracted indicates that you are not 100% committed to what’s happening and  prevents you from doing the most important thing you are there to do, which is listen!

Fran Berrick