I just returned from speaking at the Women’s Foodservice Forum in Washington DC and was amazed at how many people, both on and off the stage, have no clue as to what closed body language does to their message. The majority of the people create barriers just by not paying attention to their hands. Be aware of:
1. Folded arms across the chest area can be interpreted as being closed to the other persons message.
2. Hands in the pockets can be viewed as hiding something.
3. Leaning back pulls the energy out of the conversation and from the audience or other person. Lean forward just a little with one foot slightly in front of the other.
4. Just touch the other person’s arm or hand for a second. It makes a very quick connection and can build a better relationship. (This is from a NOVA program!)
5. Look pleasant! Slightly tilt the corners of the mouth up and raise the eyebrows.
Good communications is quite simple. Pay attention to the way other people’s body language affects you and how it changes the kind of conversation you have. Focus on your own body language and understand how it can make or break a conversation. Personal responsibility and professional development begins with this kind of self-awareness.