What Signal Am I Sending?

Everything that we do, day-to-day, affects how we interact with others – even when we don’t notice it. We use our body to give off ideas and impressions. When we take intentional, planned action to take control, we become more effective in conveying the correct messages. Ask yourself: What signal am I sending?

Body language is too often overlooked when you consider that it controls 55% of the signal that you send – and body language does more than send signals to others, it actually sends signals to yourself which contributes to determining your mood. The words you actually say make up only 7% of that signal. Body language is incredibly powerful! It can make or break relationships. That may sound incredibly daunting, but as soon as you are made aware of your own body language, you will have the power to control it.

Visualize your usual posture. You can think about it in really any context: Sitting at work, talking with a friend, selling to a prospect, even the posture you have right now – you use body language all the time! If needed, watch your posture in the mirror as you talk. With hope to give you greater control over your body language, here are some of the most powerful ways you can revolutionize it to your advantage. First, remember that you should have open body language. Don’t cross your arms and legs. This is a way to close yourself off and that kind of signal comes across subconsciously to the people around you. It is a defensive stance. Sit up straight and don’t slouch your shoulders. Finally, don’t be too afraid to take up some of the space around you by standing with your legs a bit further apart and with your shoulders broadened by standing or sitting up straight. This shows confidence in your surroundings and comfort in who you are.

Unfortunately, it is second nature to adopt a tick of some sort that we use over and over again in a conversation. These nervous habits have a negative impact on the overall message we try to convey. Here are some common ticks to avoid: hair twirling, placing your hand over your mouth, rubbing your arm or your leg, wringing your hands, and slumping too much. These all take away from your message by making you appear lacking in confidence or even disinterested. Instead, create a habit of smiling. This has a powerful effect on mood. Smiling has been proven to be contagious, attractive, and boosts your mood. As a matter of fact, research shows that smiling triggers the chemical reward centers of the brain. Smiling can be used as a “fake it till you make it” response as well. This is something called brain empathy. Simply put, your body responds to the emotions you are feeling but the process works in reverse as well. You can use your own body language to condition your emotions. Smiling is the perfect example of that. Smiling long enough will actually make you happier.

As a final recommendation, nod your head when another is talking. Do so at appropriate moments to show the listener than you are processing what they are saying and are attentive to them. However, keep in mind that you should use it carefully. You don’t want to look like Woody Woodpecker slamming your nose over and over again into every phrase they say.

Body language has power. By becoming its master, you become the master of the messages that you convey. The strength that inherently comes from that kind of self-control will reward you in your business transactions with more closes and stronger relationships.

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Footnotes:

Stevenson, Sarah. “There’s Magic in Your Smile: How Smiling Affects Your Brain.” Psychology Today. 25 June 2012. Web. 01 Mar. 2016.