They say actions speak louder than words, and when it comes to business meetings, this is most definitely the case.
After all, it’s easy to hear the person who speaks the loudest, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that what they say sinks in. There’s a big difference between hearing something and listening.
What’s more, you really don’t want to be that person who feels the need to shout to be heard — business meetings require a certain amount of etiquette and shouting just doesn’t fall into that category.
5 Body Language Tips for Business Meetings
Body language on the other hand is far subtler, yet gives off a more significant message. That’s because a larger percentage of how we communicate is through our body language, with some research suggesting that more than 90 per cent of our communication is through our gestures, body movements, facial expressions, and tone of voice.
Business meetings are all about making a good impression. Considering the majority of successful communication is through body language, it makes sense to focus on getting that right. So let’s look at how you can use this to your advantage during a business meeting. Read on for body language tips for business meetings.
1. Walk Tall
Generally speaking, we make a decision about someone within the first thirty seconds of meeting them, which makes creating a good first impression vital, especially in business meetings. To create the best possible first impression, make sure you walk into the meeting room with your back straight and your shoulders back.
Good posture speaks volumes in business. It can mean the difference between you looking like you’re prepared and confident, or appearing to not be bothered either way — which signal would you rather give off at a business meeting?
2. Shake Hands
So you’ve walked into the room. The next thing to do is shake the other person’s hand. This is the part of the meeting where you can tell who will have the upper hand. Whenever you shake someone’s hand, be careful not to squeeze too hard — a vice like grip indicates that you’re over confident and too sure of yourself.
Similarly, it is important that your handshake is not too limp as this gives off submissive signals. Always keep an eye on what your free hand is doing during the handshake. If you use it to touch the other person’s arm, be careful not to touch them too high up their arm or close to their shoulder, as this gives off the impression that you think you are more powerful than they are.
3. Sit Up Straight
Similarly to when you walk into the room, you should ensure that you sit up straight in your seat. Keep your legs in front of you and if you must cross them, do it at the ankle, rather than over the knee. Take care not to jiggle your knee as this indicates that you’re feeling nervous.
Ensure that you do not cross your arms, no matter how chilly you feel, as this gives off defensive signals.
4. Talk With Your Mouth, Not Your Hands
Some people naturally talk with their hands, using big, expansive gestures as they speak. In a business meeting, try to rein this in a little.
Otherwise, it can come across as slightly aggressive. When you’re rehearsing your presentation beforehand, keep an eye on what you’re doing with your hands.
5. Maintain Eye Contact
It can be hard to maintain eye contact with someone when you’re feeling a bit nervous, but it’s really important to get this right in a business meeting.
You can use facial expressions to your advantage here too. Smiling while holding eye contact with someone will give the impression that you’re a friendly, calm person, who can be trusted. Glancing to one side can look as though you’re being untruthful, while looking down is a submissive gesture.
If you really are that nervous though, remember the age-old advice — just picture them all in their underwear. That works every time!
Do you notice other people’s body language during a business meeting?
What tips have you learned through your own experience?
Copyright © image courtesy UK Body Talk Ltd.