“Never judge a book by its cover”
They say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but regardless of how well-intentioned this famous quote might be, the truth remains: humans are designed to make snap judgements.
Studies have shown that 55% of communication was through body language, 38% was through tone of voice, and just 7% was through the actual message’s content. Put: it’s not what you say; it’s how you say it that makes the difference.
Evolution has equipped us with a suite of tools for analysing and responding to our environment. Our ancestors had to quickly assess people they encountered and determine whether they posed a threat or an opportunity (MQ).
In today’s society, we might not experience the same life or death scenarios as our daily business. However, we’ve retained our ability to sus out subtle clues about other people’s intentions and use our intuition to reach decisions on how we should respond.
But that begs the question: how do we improve our body language to appear more confident, inspire those around us, and ultimately achieve our goals?
In this insights article, I’ll be sharing my four secrets on how to radiate success through your body language.
Secret One: The Tone of Success.
As I’ve said at the beginning of this article, 38% of what you communicate is conveyed by the tone of your voice. Is your tone loud and brash? Or soft and subtle? Research has shown that people who put out the right kind of sounds are more likely to become the leaders of most groups.
People who speak with lower, richer tones are more pleasing to us than people who speak with higher ones. It would help if you aimed to speak with a tone below the range of conscious human hearing. In other words, your tone shouldn’t irritate anyone that you’re talking to.
The good news is that our tone is malleable, and with a bit of practice, we alter our tone to appear more confident, competent, and self-assured. I’d recommend taking a deep breath before speaking to avoid any unwanted high-pitched noises. A thin, nasal voice isn’t appealing to us’ whereas a rich, resonant voice is.
Secret Two: Be Strategic with Your Smile.
We all know that a big smile is one of the core components of charisma. Studies have shown that people who smile are attractive, relaxed, reliable, and sincere. So is the secret to better communication to smile more?
Well, not necessarily. Whilst smiling is an excellent method of building trust with others, smiling too frequently can give off the wrong impression. People who smile too often risk being perceived as more naïve than people who smile less regularly.
The key is to smile with purpose. That doesn’t mean you should be insincere, however. If you smile too much, you might want to dial it down a little, so people don’t mistake your approachability for naivety or exploitability.
Secret Three: Strike A Pose.
Did you know that sitting in a specific position can trigger immediate changes in your body chemistry? I was amazed by this fact when I first heard it, and I decided to do more digging to find out how our posture affects what we communicate and how we feel.
When our body language is confident, expansive, and authoritative, other people will mirror us. As a result, we’ll unconsciously reinforce their perception of us and our perception of ourselves.
If you need to feel more powerful and confident before a big meeting, try to take on a power pose beforehand. Spread your body and try to make yourself appear larger (whilst abiding by the appropriate etiquette, of course) whilst being conscious not to tense your muscles or appear uptight.
Tilt your chin upwards, stand with your legs apart, put your hands on your hip, and I guarantee that you’ll begin feeling more confident in no time.
Secret Four: Communicate With Your Hands
If you want to get your point across more effectively, then you should remember that your hands talk just as loudly as your vocal box. Speech-associated gestures have been shown to improve your listener’s comprehension. Furthermore, it’ll help you retain your audience’s attention for longer. Using hand gestures will even help you, the speaker, remember more from the conversation!
It’s important to remember. However, discretion and proportionality are vital here. Flapping your hands around like a startled chicken won’t win you any admirers. Instead, your hand gestures should be appropriate for what you’re saying, expansive and welcoming, and they should match your tone of voice.
So, now that you’ve learned my four secrets for better communication, it’s time for you to put them into practice. I recommend that you try some of these techniques out in your daily interactions with others and notice the difference they’ll make to how others perceive you and, more importantly, how you think about yourself.
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