Body language and non-verbal communication are essential parts of any meeting. We send different messages to the other party with our postures, for instance, the position of our hands and feet, gestures, eye contact, smiling, blinking, biting our lips, hand-to-face contact, looking down or up or around, shaking our heads. On the other hand, the other party sends us messages, willingly or unwillingly, with their body language and non-verbal cues. You must have this ability to have a positive and inspiring effect on others in meetings. A successful person prepares himself, his team, and even his opponent for an important meeting. Beyond Practicing your skills and speech, body language makes you appear more reliable than others. You also may become a superhero in the public eye. According to recent studies, body language and non-verbal communication are over four times effective than the impression you make with anything you say. In this note, we will take a look at four essential features of body language in meetings. You can get better results in your various work sessions only by repeating and practicing.
The Importance of Body Language in Meetings
The importance of body language in meetings stems from the fact that we generally prefer to trust the other person’s body language when we see a contradiction between body language and speech. Perhaps that is why the interpretation of body language becomes essential as well. In case people say things that are not true and they want to get the other person to accept something, they need to know that body reacts to the sentences they say. If they do not train properly, these reactions will not be controllable, and in most scenarios, it will be detrimental.
This feature, called body language, is one of the most fundamental cognitive sciences among humans. Privacy, posture, facial expressions, and direct eye contact are just a few of the basics of showing your body language to a stranger. Hundreds of articles can be written to teach complete body language. But in Ardoxso, we will have a comprehensive look at five critical features of body language.
1. You have only a few seconds to make an impression!
In business meetings, the first impression is crucial. At the very beginning of the meeting, the person’s mentality towards you is formed and will hardly change in the future. Are you an influential person or submissive? You may also be labeled as a reliable person or suspicious. Your next behavior and movements are measured based on this benchmark, and others will survey you through such a filter. It seems like if someone likes you in the first place, they are interested in continuing business by ignoring your negative behaviors. But if you are stubborn at the beginning of the meeting, others will be most likely to be suspicious of all your actions.
You only have under ten seconds to get a stranger’s favorable opinion. Here are some tips to help you succeed:
Watch your attitude
Before entering the meeting, consider all aspects and make a conscious choice about your behavior. It would be best if you adjusted your attitude based on the others’ age, gender, and job position. You could ask yourself, is it better to be a humorous person or a gentleman in a stylish and formal dress?
Successful leaders and managers use Smiling as a positive signal. By smiling, you are kindly inviting others to start a conversation or even a friendship. The smile on your face is a sign of incorporation and says, “I have a friendly manner, and I am approachable.”
Make eye contact
Looking directly into others’ eyes seems to emit a kind of energy and subconsciously induce your interests and tastes to others. Do not let anything on the walls disturb your attention or distract your eyes. Maintaining eye contact is good, but you should not stare directly into the people’s eyes. Looking into others’ eyes in the meeting, especially the opposite sex, could be awkward or embarrassing. But you have to keep the face-to-face contact. Try to look directly at the face by focusing your attention on the color of the person’s eyes.
Do not lean in or out too much.
When you want to sit down, adjust the seat slowly, if necessary, and without making a sound. Sit comfortably, but avoid bending your shoulders. If you lean back, your colleagues may consider you lazy, and you may look violent as you lean forward could while sitting on the edge of a chair. The ideal position is with a flat back and open chest and shoulders. You should not sit too dry and formal either because it is a sign of low self-confidence. One way to use body language correctly in meetings is to follow the person you are talking to. If they are bent forward, you can also lean forward slightly. This will lead to better communication and adaptation. If you move your body forward a little on the chair, it means that you are interested in the topic. But respect the privacy of others. This space is defined as approximately 50 cm. However, this rate varies in Eastern and Western countries. In Eastern countries such as Japan and China, this number is 20 cm due to high population density. In Western countries, the opposite is true.
Walk with a straight back
nothing shows your energy and attitude like the way you walk. When you walk into a meeting room, the first impression or even judgment about you will form in the first ten seconds, and this is when you can show your best. It would be best if you did not walk slowly or too fast. Each step should be one or two feet wide, the back should be straight, and you should stretch your neck. It will also help if you put your feet firmly on the ground. There is a scientific reason for this – experts say that striding helps you to look rational and creative with a great mindset. If you have been asked to wait in the reception area or waiting room, you should be careful about your posture and wait confidently for your turn. Some companies may install CCTV cameras to record your movements during meetings or ask the receptionist or office manager about your body language when you arrive. Smile as you walk into the room and, in addition to glancing at the other people there, make direct eye contact with the person you are willing to meet.
In Western countries, shaking hands is not so important. However, the impact of this behavior is not neglectable. In fact, it is the fastest way to communicate with others. According to various studies, a good handshake at the beginning of the meeting is as powerful as a three-hour conversation. Just be careful not to squeeze others’ hands so hard that he feels like you are wrestling with him!
2. Gain the trust of others with verbal and non-verbal communication
A relative trust will establish between several people when your words match your body language. Suppose your body movements do not correspond to your verbal explanations. In that case, others will not feel good about you subconsciously, and this indecision in attitude towards you may cause trouble.
Try not to rush the speech as much as possible, and if you are amateur, it is better not to move and not make a particular gesture. If you are not going to get a favorable opinion, then do not endanger your business’s future by making extra moves or wrong gestures.
3. Power is in your hands
You may have noticed that when people talk about a topic of interest in a group, their subconscious body movements become more active. Also, their arms and legs move more than usual to induce enthusiasm.
You may not have noticed this, but your audiences tend to view you in a more favorable light when you use a greater variety of gestures. Research shows that your audience wants you to be active as an actor. Others also consider you warm-hearted, agreeable, and energetic. In contrast, those who remain still without any gestures or mechanical gestures are regarded as logical, disciplined, and analytic or even a military person.
As a result, you have to assess the situation. If your audience can’t accept your cold behavior, try to become a professional actor in front of a mirror who can show a desirable personality to others by putting an invisible mask on his face.
Experienced leaders usually try to show themselves responsible by controlling their body language. However, not showing emotions through their body movements may discourage people from what they are saying. If you want to attract positive feedback from your audience, it can be useful to pay attention to the following points:
Do not hide your hands.
You look less reliable when you hide your hands. It is engraved in our subconscious from the past. When someone put his hands behind his body in our prehistory, it was a signal of threatening our lives by holding a sharp object. That is why this way of thinking subconsciously still, although it is more symbolic than real.
In most meetings, the speaker often uses finger-pointing to demonstrate power. However, repeated use of finger-pointing subconsciously shows that you are losing control of position so that you are seeking to regain your strength in the meeting by scolding or bullying. So it would be better to minimize the use of this move.
Experience has shown that the more you move your hands and arms, the more energy is injected into the meeting. But be careful not to raise your hands, especially above the shoulders, because it can make you appear less reliable and powerful.
Your gestures should be in balance.
Grounded gestures help you to impress your audience. Do not open your arms above your waist height, and a 45-degree angle from the front is sufficient. Perhaps the most challenging part of body language is to perform this type of balance. With a lot of repetition and practice, you will finally be able to overcome this challenge.
4. Read body language
You should not focus all your attention on just sending a positive signal. Because reading the sign is just as important and maybe more important.
The most important thing in verbal communication is to hear what is not said.
Any kind of communication between us is performed through two oral and non-oral channels. As mentioned, verbal communication alone is not enough. As a result, a lack of proficiency in reading body language can negatively impact business because of missing crucial elements to conversations. For example, if others do not have direct eye contact with you or scratch their heads, they are not entirely on board with an initiative, and if you do not realize it, you are just wasting your time. For this purpose, speak gently to monitor the gestures of your contacts and their engagement and disengagement signals.
By repeating and practicing, you will almost reach a point where you can easily recognize your body language flaws and fix them. Then you can even read the minds of others by tracking down their body language in meetings.