Interviews, networking events, meetings, gatherings could be daunting for a fresher.
A way to feel at ease in such situations is to practice good body language. Postures determine our state of mind. A good posture reflecting confidence, approachability and professionalism would help you reach a similar mindset.
Practicing good, confident body language is a great way to ease the anxiety one might experience in professional situations that one is not accustomed to handling, yet. Read on.
-What exactly does one mean by “body language”?
An online search will bring forth a list of definitions. An easy, comprehensive definition being, ” the conscious and unconscious movements and postures by which attitudes and feelings are communicated.”
-Why Make it A Habit?
Because it shows when you are trying too hard to achieve a posture. Effortlessness is the key.
Although, it is not a very big deal if it is apparent that you are trying to maintain a good body language.
Not a problem. After all, people do appreciate efforts.
The danger lies in trying so hard in paying attention on your postures that you ignore everything else: your words, your listener, and their responses, the situation.
-So, what are some general postures/gestures that are considered to be “good body language”?
In other words, what are some good habits to cultivate?
These habits can come in handy when you want to be an engaging speaker, a good interviewee, a presenter who holds the audience’s attention and overall, a clear communicator.
A relaxed but a stable, erect posture is something we are going for.
Too erect looks too authoritative, and too hunched looks under-confident.
It is equally important to pay attention to the placing of your hands and feet. If you are to sit in a chair, don’t slouch. Remember, you are in a professional setting.
In a networking event where you will have to socialise, make sure you aren’t standing too close or too far. Respect the personal space.
Crossed hands and feet signal defensiveness; fidgety, shaky ones signal anxiety.
Hands stuck rigidly on the sides look like someone just shouted “attention!” to you.
Read on to know more about the gestures of your hands.
- Hands and Gestures:
Imagine the writer of this article wants to communicate these exact points to you, in person.
Which one would be more effective? a) Keeping the hands rigidly in one place, or b) Using gestures and motions to divide the points. Obviously b) would be a better option.
Using simple natural gestures while talking can help you appear at ease, clear and demonstrative.
Again, make sure you don’t go overboard with the gestures. We don’t want to hit someone or look like we are dancing.
The way you sit, walk, shake hands makes a huge difference.
While sitting, have the posture that we talked about; make sure you don’t cross your legs or you don’t shake them constantly. You don’t want to appear defensive or too anxious.
Your gait towards and from the chair should be confident.
A nice strong handshake is something you should aim for. But make sure you don’t squeeze the hand too hard. On the other extreme, make sure you don’t offer a limp hand. Don’t shake hands with both hands unless the other person does so. Under no circumstances should the handshake make someone uncomfortable.
Events of public speaking are inevitable: onstage, presentations, meetings, etc.
Pacing a little while on the stage is a good idea. It gives you the opportunity to involve different sections of the audience.
Again, make sure to not overdo it: we don’t want you running around the place!
In a meeting or presentation, where pacing isn’t really an option, you can still be an active speaker. You don’t need to stand as if your feet are stuck to a spot. Read on to understand the importance of eye contact!
- Eye Contact:
It is necessary to maintain eye contact, whether you are in an interview, or addressing a gathering.
Eyes that look down indicate a lack of confidence. It makes one look less trustworthy.
But what about gatherings and meetings? You can’t look at everyone, right?
Here, a technique called the “eye-line division” can be used. In this, you divide the audiences in sections of three (in your mind), and then glance over those sections every once in a while. This gives the impression that you are talking to everyone in the audience. You can even do this while standing at a podium if you must.
Again, don’t overdo it. Non-stop eye contact makes people uncomfortable. Nor do you want to appear patronising, looking down at the ones you are addressing.
It is not staring contest. Please blink!
You are not fully dressed unless you wear a smile. This little curve is necessary to humanise the speaker. It helps you as well as the person listening to you feel at ease.
A very simple way to appear as a genuine, warm person, as opposed to a robotic straight-faced arrogant speaker that looks like they will scold someone who asks a question!
But make sure you look at the situation. Don’t overdo it. A plastered fake looking smile is not something we are going for.
Good body language consists of postures and gestures that feel normal: to you and to the person(s) you are speaking to. It makes your words clearer. The language and the language of the body, both are necessary to make sure interviews, networking events, meetings, presentations, speeches go smoothly. Whether you are a fresher, researching the Internet to know more about how to go about professional interactions, or you are someone who just wants know more, these tips will go a long way in helping you achieve a confident bearing.