When we’re in business settings, we often agonize how we express ourselves verbally. But let’s not forget about how we communicate through our body language, which accounts for 55% of a person’s first impression!
This article from ForbesWoman has a slew of helpful pointers on how we can improve our body language to convey a professional and strong image in the workplace. For example, you may think that by tilting your head you are showing that you are listening attentively, but the gesture can be read as submissive or even flirtatious. Crossing your arms or legs is defensive and feels negative, like you are resistant to what is being discussed.
The article also notes the difference between how men and women generally sit in a business meeting. Women tend to tuck themselves in, taking as little space as possible, while men stretch out, wave their arms around, and fully occupy the space. By doing this, they come across as more assured, confident, and dominant.
Mirroring is also a good trick to utilize if you’re speaking with a client or colleague. Follow the other person’s body language cues and subtly reflect that in your own posture. Your movements should be natural and fluid—don’t make it seem like you are copying or mocking the other person. But by leaning in when they lean in, or tilting your head when they do, you can help build a familiarity and comfort level with this person—all without saying a word!