Did you know that when your verbal and nonverbal actions are out of sync, people are forced to choose between what they hear and what they see? Here’s the kicker: Subconsciously, more than anything else, they’ll believe your body language.
A study by Albert Mehrabian at UCLA found some interesting results. Facial expression and other forms of body language account for 55% of a message’s total impact. The tone of your voice is responsible for 38%, leaving a meager 7% of impact for words used. It looks like Mom was right. Actions really do speak louder than words.
Next time you’re in the office, consider the following tips to maintain professional, confident body language:
Pull the string
How often are do you try to get from point A to B in your office both quickly and undetected? The look often results in hunched shoulders, eyes sewn to the floor, and an air of insecurity.
For a more confident appearance, imagine pulling an invisible string from the top of your head. This will keep your gaze centered, pull your shoulders back, and inspire enough concentration to be present in the moment.
Strike a pose
A study conducted at Harvard found that simply holding your body in “high-power” poses, like standing with your legs and arms stretched wide open or leaning back with hands behind your head at your desk for two minutes a day can stimulate higher levels of testosterone -- the hormone linked to power and dominance.
Test it out before your next big business meeting for a quick shift in mood and confidence boost.
Try “Oprah Hands”
Have you ever noticed how Oprah effortlessly lights up a room and makes you feel at ease? A quick YouTube search will reveal her two trademark tactics: Open hand gestures and positive eye contact.
By showing your open palms with relaxed and subtle arm movements, you’re able to give silent signals of credibility and candor. It’s like saying, “See, I have nothing to hide!”
Positive eye contact, which is an expectation for business people across the U.S., Europe, and Australia, should be maintained at about 50-60% of the time during a conversation. This may feel uncomfortable, especially if you’re introverted, but strong eye contact expresses confidence and openness.