“Body Language is your second language”
Social and visual media have seriously changed the game! Regardless if you choose to pose for the camera or not, someone is always taking a picture, recording, or posting around you. Therefore, investing some time and energy into your personal presence and body language is truly a power move.
Did you know that your body language bluntly influences each first impression you make? Your smile, eye contact, and stance all have the power to propel you towards achieving your personal and professional goals. In business, success comes by building strong lasting relationships. So when professionals come to me ready to get promoted and advance in their careers, one of the first things I teach them is to become conscience of their body language in their business environment.
I remember being a young professional preparing for my first international trip. It was of major importance to respect the different cultures of the countries I was visiting. This would ensure that I could build good business relationships with my company’s partners which in turn would provide me with future professional opportunities and success. At different points throughout my career and personal life, I have had to carry myself in different ways to be successful. All me, of course, but the art of adjusting to what is considered appropriate in different situations is respecting where you are and who you are interfacing with.
Networking is not easy for everyone, but it is the essential ingredient to professional excellence. Mastering the S-O-F-T-E-N technique keeps you in tune with your body language at all times. These are the steps you need to take to S-O-F-T-E-N:
S = SMILE
You always want to ensure that the person you are speaking with feels invited to speak to you, and what better way to do that but with a smile! So as a person approaches you, or you approach them, simply smile!
O = OPEN ARMS
Watch the position of your arms, when you cross them it sends the message that you are stand offish and closed off. Relax, and simply hold your hands if you feel awkward.
F = FORWARD LEAN
When shaking ones hand, gently lean into the hand shake to let them know that you are open to engaging and welcome them.
T = TOUCH
When engaging in conversation, don’t be afraid to gently touch their arm when appropriate to send the non-verbal message that you are listening…
E = EYE CONTACT
Always look people in the eyes. If you are a person that struggles with eye contact, try looking at the person’s forehead. When the person you are talking to looks at you, it will appear as though you are looking them in the eyes.
N = NOD
They say to communicate well, one must be an active listener. Engage in the conversation by nodding in understanding or agreement.