Nonverbal communication is the fast track to putting people at ease and developing trust!
Here are the best techniques for showing up with your body language:
· Smile with your eyes. People can see through fake smiles. Smiling with your eyes is warm and communicates to others two things: You're a safe person, and others can be open with you.
· Match your body language with your message. This simple adjustment will do wonders for you and register positively with the other person. If you're excited and happy for someone else’s promotion, sound and act excited and happy!
· Pay attention to your posture. Bad posture could hurt you in a transaction, as it may send the wrong message about a lack of confidence or a closed-off personality. Think open posture (arms and legs spread in a relaxed manner instead of crossed or folded) which shows confidence.
· Avoid both slumping and rocking back and forth in your chair (or leaning back). Slumping conveys disinterest, rocking or leaning back says you're bored. Instead, lean forward when listening to someone speak which indicates an active interest in the speaker.
· Watch your spacing. Have you ever felt uncomfortable when talking to someone because he was invading your personal space? Culturally in the west, if you're not intimately involved with the person, that's a no no. Yet different cultures differ.
· Maintain eye contact. If someone avoids eye contact, you'll most likely pick up the other person's discomfort (which can be a sign of dishonesty). If you're dealing with an extremely shy person, ease his discomfort by asking questions that will help open up the conversation. Again, consider cultural differences.
Typically, we maintain eye contact 30 to 60 percent of the time. More than that is welcome, as it signifies that you're interested in what the other person has to say.
· Mirror the other person's behavior. You've been there before -- the conversation is hitting on all cylinders and both parties are totally engaged. When the magic happens, it's common to see both sides subtly imitating each other's posture, stance, gestures, or facial expression. That's because mirroring nonverbal behaviors creates the sense that you're on the same page, which conveys feelings of trust.
- Marcel Schwantes