How to… walk
If your stance isn’t right when you walk through the office or into a meeting, you could be giving others the wrong impression about your capabilities. “The slower your pace, the more confident you can appear,” says workplace body language expert David Alssema of Paramount Training & Development. “People who ooze confidence don’t check their surroundings.” The perfect walk? “A reasonable pace with your shoulders back, arms at your sides, head high, good eye contact and a smile.”
How to… show you’re listening
“Nodding during a conversation not only shows you are listening and understand what the other person is saying, but it can also assist you in getting people to believe you are on the same wavelength as them,” says Alssema. “It’s natural to mirror people, so nodding helps reach a positive outcome. It’s a great way to connect and build relationships.”
How to… sit
Sitting slumped at your desk doesn’t exactly convey enthusiasm. The best way to show you’re alert and interested is by “sitting upright on the edge of a chair, with a slight inward lean,” says Alssema. If you’re holding a pen, you can point to something on a piece of paper, but limit how much you use it. “Visual props can cause distraction, so be careful not to play with anything you’re holding,” advises Alssema.
How to… shake hands
Getting a handshake right relays that you’re both professional and friendly. “Starting off firm, then adjusting your grip to match the other person’s shake is ideal,” says Alssema. If you’re on the receiving end of a “power handshake”, where the other person tries to turn their hand on top of yours to show their dominance, there is a simple way to reassert your authority. “Bring their hand closer to your body,” says Alssema. “Take a few steps towards them… Their hand will straighten up and become a normal handshake once again.”