How Non-Verbal Communication Can Affect Your Career

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Body LanguageUse body language to advance your career.

Experts agree that adopting the right body language can help people become more successful in their careers. It can help you establish your authority, improve your productivity and foster more favorable business relationships. However, body language has the power to ruin your career if you don’t know how to use it properly.

Considering the fact that more than 90% of communication is non-verbal, the way you carry yourself as you communicate with others can determine whether your career will flourish or wither over time. To avoid ruining your career, you need to project confidence and avoid the so-called “diminishing poses” which communicate lack of confidence and leadership qualities.

Some of these diminishing poses include slouching, fidgeting, and avoiding eye contact. Displaying closed or blocking body language (placing hands on the hip or crossing arms) create a barrier between yourself and your listeners while speaking quickly and using a high pitched voice indicate nervousness and insecurity. Needless to say, these gestures should be avoided at all costs since they can reduce your chances of advancing your career.

Body Language for Career Success

Here are some tips that can help you use body language to pave the way to a more successful career.

  • Stand tall. You can exude a more positive aura simply by standing tall. A straight and erect posture gives the impression of power, status and confidence, while moving around amplifies that effect. To achieve the same effect when you are seated, put both feet flat on the floor and widen your arms away from your body. This gives the impression that you are claiming a wider territory and are, in effect, more powerful than all the other people in the room.
  • Widen your stance. Keep your feet wide apart and firmly on the ground when standing to give the impression of power and confidence. Standing with your feet close together can make you look hesitant and unsure.
  • Wield the power of hand gestures. Studies show that using hand gestures while talking actually enhances your thinking process and helps you form clearer thoughts. This also decreases the use of verbal fillers, reduces the hesitation in your delivery and improves verbal content.
  • Master the handshake. You can gain instant credibility by using the right handshake. For best results, avoid gripping too hard to avoid being perceived as a bully. You should also avoid a less-than-firm handshake (also known as the dead fish grip) since it can make you appear weak.
  • Make eye contact. Perfecting the art of eye contact can be difficult but you can use it to help you project the right attitude and image once you get it right. As a rule, you should maintain eye contact 50% to 60% of the time. Avoid staring since it is grossly inappropriate and may make you appear overbearing.

The right body language can help you advance your career so keep these things in mind as you navigate your way up the corporate ladder.