I was inspired to write about improving body language after listening to a podcast where 2 guys warned of their concerns that if you improve your body language you’ll become an “aggressive weirdo corporate creep.” I suppose that could happen if you work on your body language in a really weird way. Like just being really stiff and putting your fingertips together. Let’s try that one for giggles.
The rest of us who are obviously attempting to be self-actualized & realize that we humans aren’t born perfect & that our pre-frontal cortex still shuts down when we’re placed in anxiety-ridden communicative situations, us, we’re going to make sure that we don’t fidget or cross our arms or keep our shoulders up to our ears. We’re looking to succeed in this world & being aware of our body language and improving it will help us do just that.
High-stakes situations make us lose control.
When you’re in a high-stakes situation like a job interview, some meetings, selling your stuff on Shark tank, etc. we can lose control of our bodies. If you find yourself on the edge of your sat and you can’t sit back that means that you’re pretty tense. Don’t beat yourself up for this, its’ normal.
So Yes, Improve Your Body Language
Some really great stuff about improving body language here.
I had this amazing client who was a high-level executive in a financial firm who often found herself in meetings with only men. She found it impossible to sit at the back of her chair! She was always at the edge of her seat!
How could she possibly demonstrate her authority & talent sitting at the edge of her seat? That’s impossible! It took her a couple of weeks, but she could sit at the back of her chair. This resulted in her having more control over herself & others.
In addition to improving your own body language, being observant of others‘ body language is also important. When people have their arms & legs crossed they’re likely to be more resistant to your ideas. Our bodies demonstrate how we’re feeling. Being observant of what others are doing can help us get what we need out of each situation.
Make sure you’re using appropriate body language when you’re public speaking.
Successful communications depend upon people being relaxed & open. When you bring your open body language, a nice smile & a warm voice to a meeting you’re helping other people to be relaxed. It’s kindness & it’s great leadership. If you improve body language that’s exactly what you’ll end up with-successful communications & strong relationships.
Body Language and the webcam.
The same body language movements that we do IRL also happen on the webcam. When your teammate moves forward you move forward. When your teammate has their arms crossed she is being defensive and you’ll not get anywhere with her until you can get her to be more relaxed.
We can still infect each other with our vibes and our moods. So be sure to use executive presence.
Here are some tips for rocking your virtual meetings.
Look in the mirror. Do you have lines from the base of your nose to the corners of your mouth? If so that means those muscles are too tense.
If you have lines across your brow those muscles are necessarily tense. When I first started doing my relaxation exercises I had lines in my brow that I attributed to aging. (I was 25.) But after I learned to be relaxed. I noticed those lines went away. I thought it was an incredible by-product of my relaxation exercises.
After a couple of years, I realized it wasn’t merely a byproduct of being relaxed but because I stopped using my face so much when I talked. I learned to keep my eyebrows down.
Watch people’s faces & bodies during meetings this week & let me know what you’ve observed by writing in the comments below. Being in virtual meetings you have the unique opportunity to see yourself on the video. Check out your facial expressions. If you are overusing your eyebrows and your mouth you may be confusing folks.
Remember, your arm movements and facial expressions should be a supplement to your message, not a distraction.
Becoming a better communicator is probably the most essential thing you can do for your career. Let me help you get to the next level.