Saturday, September 1, 2012

Business Etiquette - Body Language in Business

Body language is a term used for forms of communication that use body movements or gestures instead of, or in addition to, verbal language or other forms of communication. Even your most subtle movements, including winking and the movement of your eyebrows, are considered part of your body language. Did you know that you are capable of making thousands upon thousands of facial expressions? With this ability to communicate your innermost feelings comes an obligation to learn how to use your body language to successfully work with others.

Understanding body language

Although you are usually not aware of it, you constantly send and receive non-verbal signals. These signals tend to indicate what you are truly feeling. Most people are capable of reading this language, so it is wise to pay attention to what you are saying via your physical demeanor. One of the most important times to be aware of your body language is during a brief encounter. For example, if you are interviewing for a job that you want, the person doing the interview will pay close attention to the way you enter the room, the way you sit during the interview, and what you do with your hands. Some employers train their interviewers to mirror a person's body language for the purpose putting them at ease. This gives them the sense that they are being understood.

Ways to positively use your body language

If you are intent on always making a good first impression when you meet someone, you must be able to control your body language. Saying the right things, both verbally and physically, will go a long way towards establishing a solid foundation for a healthy relationship. There are a number of things you can do to emit a positive feeling. Making direct eye contact is a great way to show the person you are meeting that you are sincere and confident. These are two highly desired traits.

The handshake is the focal point of the greeting ritual, and it often determines the comfort level and success of an entire meeting. Start with direct eye contact, then initiate the shake (gender is not a consideration). This demonstrates confidence, professionalism and gracious behavior. Meet the person's grip web to web and palm to palm. The shake should not be a bone crusher or limp (the kind of handshake that only includes half the hand). If you suffer from sweaty palms, blot your hand before shaking.

A warm smile invites conversation and openness. The key is the smile must be sincere, people can read a fake smile a mile away. When you want to show you are interested and listening, smile and nod your head up and down. Keep your hands away from your face when you speaking, because this gives the impression that you are unsure or lying!

Maintaining good posture shows an alertness and a sense of excitement that allows you to appear vibrant and full of life. Finally, keeping your hands open towards the one with whom you are talking demonstrates a willingness to open yourself to them. In contrast, closed hands or hands in your pockets tell someone that you need to shelter or protect yourself for some reason.

The way you dress says as much about you as your body language. Always be sure you are properly dressed for the job you have.  It is also important to wear clothing that is appropriate, of the best quality you can afford, and in good taste. It isn’t how many outfits you have, or the labels you wear that count, it’s how you care for your clothing and how you put it together with style. Most important is that your clothing reflect your positive attitude toward yourself, your work, and others.

Carefully consider what your body language is telling other people. It tends to say as much about you as your words. You want your body language to display an earnestness, openness, and sincerity that will make others want to interact with you. Communication is key in all relationships, so develop an ability to effectively communicate via your body language.


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