Body language is an integral part of businesscommunication that can negatively or positively affect your brand, depending on how you present yourself.
Studies show that nonverbal communication has a 65% to 93% greater impactthan verbal communication. In today’s remote workenvironment especially, greater emphasis is placed on physical gestures and facial expressions on camera to understand coworkers and customers — one wrong move can ultimately change how people perceive you.
For instance, influential leaders spend hours preparing engaging and inspiring talks to boost productivity and collaboration. They might rehearse information delivery or brand awareness that imparts credibility, trust and confidence — but the substance of their speech is only half the mark. How they say it — hand movements, posture, etc. — makes a difference, too.
Recognizing your negative body language is critical to understanding whether it’s negatively influencing your brand. Here are five signs to look out for.
Many say that eyes are the gateway to the soul, making eye contact one of the most effective nonverbal cues you can use to communicate.
You demonstrate active listening and interest in your audience when your eyes meet during a conversation.
For example, if you’re in a conference with a client, you want to ensure that you have their full attention. Imagine how frustrating it’ll be if you’re trying to explain the scope of your product and services as they look down at their phones. The lack of eye contact can hinder engagement and potential revenue.
In today’s virtual businessenvironment, you’ll want to engage as you would in personthrough the camera, which means staring directly into the lens. Although some prefer to keep their cameras off during video communication, the impact on clients, coworkers and collaborators is much more remarkable when you make eye contact.
Whether face-to-face or online, eye contact makes you appear more engaged, allowing you to steer the conversation toward a positive outcome.
No matter what industry you work in or your role, everyone is in the business of people. Therefore, developing your facial expressions is critical to avoid negatively impacting your brand.
People generally feed off of each other’s facial expressions. If you smile at someone, you can often expect them to return a smile to you. Likewise, a furrowed brow or frown may cause someone else’s mood to shift.
Imagine presenting a product line to prospective clients whose investment in your company could positively impact revenue. A sudden wave of nervousness during your presentation might demonstrate a lack of confidence in what you offer. Unfortunately, it may also induce a lack of confidence on your customers’ part, causing them to pause in moving forward with your brand.
Other times, our facial expressions might make us feel difficult to work with or unwelcoming.
Clients are more likely to partner with youwhen you display confident body language. To them, relaxed facial expressions might signify a good business venture or investment opportunity.
Some people lean into wild hand gestures when excitable. Their arms and hands might flail about when they’re enthusiastic about something or are trying to make a point.
Although you may not realize you’re doing it, others could view this behavior in a positive light. Those who communicate with their hands are usually considered sociable and pleasant.
Of course, if you tend to remain still, it’s critical to effectively learn how touse hand gestures to connect with others. Stillness indicates having little empathy or emotional investment, while other hand gestures may cause others to wonder whether they’d be making a mistake in partnering with you.
For instance, hiding your hands could give the impression that you’re untrustworthy. Meanwhile, pointing fingers at someone could come across as accusatory or aggressive, driving workplace toxicity.
Practice the correct style and amount of hand movement to project energy and ambition. When presenting to a group, keeping your arms horizontal near the waist will make you appear more centered, focused and grounded.
Interestingly enough, your voice is a type of body language that can negatively impact your brand. It’s not exactly what you say but how you say it that matters.
Practicing the right tone can make an impact on your brand messaging. If you send a promotional video to current and future clients, striking the right tone will determine how receptive they’ll be to whatever you say.
Speak with a monotone voice, and your audience will likely feel bored. If you’re not showing enthusiasm for your brand, why would they? You want them to be interested enough to pursue your services.
If few people respond well to your brand, it may be time to evaluate your tone of voice.
Your posture can be read in a thousand different ways. If you’ve ever been told to stand up straight, there’s a good reason.
A straight posture dictates your attention and enthusiasm during a conversation. Conversely, slouching might come across as being bored, nervous or stressed — not the best impression you want to give your customers or investors.
Naturally, meeting an important client to discuss your brand can make you tense up. Whereas you may have started a presentation or meeting upright, you could find yourself hunched over with arms folded in front of you.
In these situations, the best thing you can do is uncross your arms and take a deep breath. Breathwork allows you to release negative emotions, relax your body and regain your composure.
Likewise, rather than fold your arms across your chest — the most stand-offish stance you can give — you might hold onto a pen or gently intertwine your fingers in front of your belly button.
You may not realize your body language negatively affects your business’s success. Depending on how others respond to your message, you may need to improve your body language to boost your brand.