First impressions are everything when it comes to meeting someone for the first time, business or not. First impressions are hard to change and can last the duration of your relationship. Researcher Mehrabian found that up to 55% of our communication are non-verbal so body language is a big deal. You could tell when a person isn’t interested in the conversation or isn’t listening. Nonverbal behaviors could change your own feelings and control of your confidence levels as well, so you want to make sure you own them. Below you will see some do’s and don’t and why these details are important.
- Facial Expressions
- Keep eye contact: This shows the other person that you are listening to them and you have your full attention. This could be uncomfortable at first. One way I practiced eye contact was in every conversation I had I would look in straight in their eyes while having the conversation till they looked away, almost like a competition. It shows your confidence and dominance. This will also show you their confidence level as well.
- Keep a positive face because it shows strength. If the person is telling you something sad, embrace it and encourage them. If the person is telling you something that happened, show compassion but also enlighten them with something positive. If you see all they need is someone to talk to but give them a positive face like a smile or an understanding facial expression.
- Do Not look past them because it shows that something else caught your interest and it will shut the other person off and not want to fully engage with you.
- Direct your focus
- Do Not look at your computer or phone when someone is speaking to you. One, this is disrespectful to most humans and two, this is showing them that what you’re doing is more important than them. Human interactions are far better than what a device could give you. Best thing to do is put your phone on vibrate and in your pocket or shut the computer to show them that your willing to listen.
- The 3 quick nods: this shows that you want to know more and your fully engaged in the conversation. A way to prove your listening is to repeat back what they were saying as a seek to understand moment.
- Lean towards them when they are speaking to you, it shows them that your are more focused on them and you really want to know what they are saying. This will let people open up to you more.
- Gestures in your arms and legs
- A good way to do this is point your feet towards them because unconsciously you will focus on what is in front of you rather than around you.
- Do Not cross your arms or legs even when sitting down. This shows that you are closing yourself from them and not truly interested in what they are saying.
- Do Not put your hand in your pockets because this shows that you aren’t taking what they are saying seriously. Its like saying “yea whatever”
- Have a perfect posture so standing and sitting up straight shows your confidence so no matter how uncomfortable you feel, fake it and show them your confidence.
Mehrabian, A. (1972). Nonverbal Communication. New Brunswick: Aldine Transaction.