Actions speak louder than words: Why body language is important

By Blake Norris (LinkedIn), governor at large, NTEA Generation Next
This article was originally published in the Octoer 2022 issue of Generation Next Edition.

Peter Drucker, an Austrian-American management consultant, educator, and author once said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't said.” 

Body language is a vital component of conversation and presentation. Whether you are presenting to an audience, conducting a business meeting, or having conversation with coworkers, body language can make or break the interaction. Body language can represent respect, confidence, empathy, and so much more. What are some components of body language?

1. Eye Contact

Eye contact can be challenging for some people. Looking someone in the eyes while communicating with them can feel uncomfortable. However, to the person you are communicating with, it shows respect. When you practice good eye contact, you are conveying to the other person that they have your full attention. On the other hand, not practicing good eye contact can portray that you are not interested in what they have to say or you are trying to end the conversation.

2. Posture 

The better posture you have, the more confident and assertive you will appear. It is important to stand with good posture especially when delivering solutions to issues, presenting a new idea, or even introducing yourself in the workplace. To practice good posture- stand with a straight back, open stance, and open arms.

Mirrored Facial Expressions

In the workplace, mirrored facial expressions can show empathy, care, and friendliness. If a coworker approaches you and expresses a concern, you should mirror their facial expressions. If they seem to be struggling with something, you should not converse angrily or overly happy with them. By doing so, you can make them feel less validated about what they are going through. On the flip side, if they are excited to share a new idea and you portray closed or angry body language, you can make them feel as if their idea is not appreciated. Mirrored facial expressions can show willingness to listen and collaborate which is vital in the workplace. 

In summary, body language tells a deeper message than words. It is not always what we say, but how we say it. Spend time focused on conveying these three components of body language in the workplace and see how your next conversations and presentations improve. 

Communication is critical to business success, and body language is just one aspect of it. Want more? Click and follow the link to my fellow Generation Next Goernor at Large Sean Woodman's article on Key communication skills.

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