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15 Body Language Secrets of Successful People

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Our bodies have a language of their own, and their words aren’t always kind. Your body language has likely become an integral part of who you are, to the point where you might not even think about it.

If that’s the case, it’s time to start, because you could be sabotaging your career.

TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and found that the upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence (90% of top performers, to be exact). These people know the power that unspoken signals have in communication and they monitor their own body language accordingly.

What follows are the 15 most common body language blunders that people make, and emotionally intelligent people are careful to avoid.

  1. Slouching is a sign of disrespect. It communicates that you’re bored and have no desire to be where you are. You would never tell your boss, “I don’t understand why I have to listen to you,” but if you slouch, you don’t have to—your body says it for you, loud and clear.

The brain is hardwired to equate power with the amount of space people take up. Standing up straight with your shoulders back is a power position. It maximizes the amount of space you fill. Slouching, on the other hand, is the result of collapsing your form—it takes up less space and projects less power.

Maintaining good posture commands respect and promotes engagement from both ends of the conversation.

  1. Exaggerated gestures can imply that you’re stretching the truth. Aim for small, controlled gestures to indicate leadership and confidence, and open gestures—like spreading your arms apart or showing the palms of your hands—to communicate that you have nothing to hide.
  2. Watching the clock while talking to someone is a clear sign of disrespect, impatience, and inflated ego. It sends the message that you have better things to do than talk to the person you’re with, and that you’re anxious to leave them.
  3. Turning yourself away from others, or not leaning into your conversation, portrays that you are unengaged, uninterested, uncomfortable, and perhaps even distrustful of the person speaking.

Try leaning in towards the person who is speaking and tilt your head slightly as you listen to them speak. This shows the person speaking that they have your complete focus and attention.

  1. Crossed arms—and crossed legs, to some degree—are physical barriers that suggest you’re not open to what the other person is saying. Even if you’re smiling or engaged in a pleasant conversation, the other person may get a nagging sense that you’re shutting him or her out.

Even if folding your arms feels comfortable, resist the urge to do so if you want people to see you as open-minded and interested in what they have to say.

  1. Inconsistency between your words and your facial expression causes people to sense that something isn’t right and they begin to suspect that you’re trying to deceive them, even if they don’t know exactly why or how.

For example, a nervous smile while rejecting an offer during a negotiation won’t help you get what you want; it will just make the other person feel uneasy about working with you because they’ll assume that you’re up to something.

  1. Exaggerated nodding signals anxiety about approval. People may perceive your heavy nods as an attempt to show you agree with or understand something that you actually don’t.

 

  1. Fidgeting with or fixing your hair signals that you’re anxious, over-energized, self-conscious, and distracted. People will perceive you as overly concerned with your physical appearance and not concerned enough with your career.
  2. Avoiding eye contact makes it look like you have something to hide, and that arouses suspicion. Lack of eye contact can also indicate a lack of confidence and interest, which you never want to communicate in a business setting.

Looking down as you talk makes it seem like you lack confidence or are self-conscious, causing your words to lose their effect. It’s especially important to keep your eyes level if you’re making complicated or important points.

Sustained eye contact, on the other hand, communicates confidence, leadership, strength, and intelligence. While it is possible to be engaged without direct, constant eye contact, complete negligence will clearly have negative effects on your professional relationships.

  1. Eye contact that’s too intense may be perceived as aggressive, or an attempt to dominate. On average, Americans hold eye contact for seven to ten seconds, longer when we’re listening than when we’re talking. The way we break contact sends a message, too. Glancing down communicates submission, while looking to the side projects confidence.
  2. Rolling your eyes is a fail-proof way to communicate lack of respect. Fortunately, while it may be a habit, it’s voluntary. You can control it, and it’s worth the effort.
  3. Scowling or having a generally unhappy expression sends the message that you’re upset by those around you, even if they have nothing to do with your mood. Scowls turn people away, as they feel judged.

Smiling, however, suggests that you’re open, trustworthy, confident, and friendly. MRI studies have shown that the human brain responds favorably to a person who’s smiling, and this leaves a lasting positive impression.

  1. Weak handshakes signal that you lack authority and confidence, while a handshake that is too strong could be perceived as an aggressive attempt at domination, which is just as bad. Adapt your handshake to each person and situation, but make sure it’s always firm.
  2. Clenched fists, much like crossed arms and legs, can signal that you’re not open to other people’s points. It can also make you look argumentative and defensive, which will make people nervous about interacting with you.
  3. Getting too close. If you stand too close to someone (nearer than one and a half feet), it signals that you have no respect for or understanding of personal space. This will make people very uncomfortable when they’re around you.

Bringing It All Together

Avoiding these body language blunders will help you form stronger relationships, both professionally and personally.

By Dr. Travis Bradberry

Using Visualization in Public Speaking

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How To improve Public Speaking Skills

Public Speaking isn’t for everyone, but with some public speaking training you can get better at it and go on to become an impressive speaker. If you run a business or hold a leadership position in an organization, chances are there will often be occasions where you need to take the stage and address a group of employees, a larger audience of stakeholders, or even clients. Thankfully, there are some methods like visualization that can help you make the right impression.

 

Public Speaking Exercises

Before you begin a visualization exercise, you need to clear your mind this will relieve your public speaking anxiety. Find a comfortable space and relax your body and mind in a quiet room. Breath deeply and then begin to picture what things will be like on the day you need to make that speech or presentation. Imagine yourself taking the stage, feel the excitement at sharing what you have prepared with your audience. Make an impactful beginning, designed to impress your listeners. Draw them in as you go on. Picture yourself walking calmly up and the feeling of success as you run through the speech. The key is to just think positive thoughts. It helps immensely to have a professional guide you through visualization for public speaking the first time you try it.

 

Know your audience

 

It always helps to know the who’s, what’s and whys of your speech. Who will your audience be? What do they want to learn from you today? Why should they keep listening to what you have to say? Give them reasons to pay attention, make their time spent worthwhile. Note that this isn’t restricted to the stage and speeches. These skills can stand you in good stead when you’re called on to make a public presentation as well. If it is a client presentation, know who you will be addressing. If you haven’t met them before, find out a bit more about them. It sometimes helps to see what they look like, so you will be talking to a familiar face. If it is a larger audience at a conference, find out the demographic mix so that your speech dwells on things that are of interest to them and skims over what they are already experts at or won’t be interested in. Picture what they might look like. Imagine the venue filled with people when you take the stage. Watch them hang on your every word. Feel the applause wash over you as you give them interesting bits of information or a solution to their business problems.

 

Training in Public Speaking

 

Professional public speaking skills training can help you overcome your fear of the stage and audiences. Public Speaking workshops can show you how to be a better speaker, how to overcome mid-speech crises and even how to weave your speech into an evocative story. Visualization is a valuable skill in the public speaker’s arsenal and going through public speaking training can help you get learn this technique and many others.

 

 

 

 

Be prepared

 

Run through your presentation or speech in your mind so that you have the confidence to deliver it without referencing your notes. But do keep some notes handy should you need them. Go through the steps of visualization a few times before D-day so that you are ready and raring to go. Engage the help of a trainer with the requisite credentials – like Leaders Speakers. If you have done your homework and put the skills learned in the training sessions into practice, you are likely to deliver a memorable presentation. Strike it lucky and you will get rave reviews!

 

Eight Tricks To Better Speaking

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Good presentations do not happen and excellent presenters are not born. A good presentation is one that is carefully crafted and an excellent presenter is one that hones her skills and uses her tools appropriately.

Here are tricks you can incorporate to make your presentation a success.

  1. Create a clear message – Know what you want your audience to know and do when you are through speaking.
  2. Develop good visuals – Create visual aids that are interesting, clear, and to the point.
  3. Know your audience – Audiences often miss the message when visual aids (PowerPoint Presentation in particular) are poorly designed.

Research the group before you arrive. Take time to meet individuals before you speak. During the talk, pay attention to the energy of the audience.

  1. Allow for adequate time to prepare

Preparation is critical if you are to deliver a credible and moving presentation. Create an outline, good visuals, practice; and know how to use your equipment. The first time you deliver a talk should not be in front of a “live” audience.

  1. Make your audience comfortable

Audiences that are uncomfortable in their chairs, hungry, thirsty, in need of a break, or in a room with poor temperature control, will have a difficult time paying attention.

  1. Set up the room to meet your needs

Arrange the seats, tables, lectern and the screen so it works for you and your audience.

  1. Present yourself appropriately

The audience will judge you based on your dress, language you use, and your level of organization. Watch your use of “French”, jargon and technical terms.

  1. Evaluate your work

Check your success based on the goals you set in the first step. Revise your presentation ideas to improve your oral presentation skills.

In truth, these are not “tricks” at all; these are tips you can use if you want to present well. Yes, it takes time to create and deliver a oral presentation that is memorable, a good speaker works to engage and motivate their audience – but is worth the effort.

See also Public Speaking Tips