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The Importance of Body Language:

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Okay...Question Time!

What is the one common factor in a majority of success stories?

It is no secret that successful individuals can come from all kinds of backgrounds and different walks of life, but what binds them together? What is that common factor..? Is it Skill? Or perhaps Attitude…? You may think Luck plays a heavy role, or even Fate. And maybe you’re right! However I personally feel that there is one contributing factor that is far too overlooked. Its use and influence in success has been present since the stone age…literally since day 1. It is something that is relevant regardless of race, language, age, gender or even species. It is something that will be prevalent for as long as humans (or any animal species) are in existence.

What is it? 

Body Language

Let’s start at the very beginning…

This is Borge.

Borge is a caveman. Borge communicates primarily through his body language. If Borge expects to be successful in hunting or gaining status in his tribe then Borge needs to carefully use his body language to his advantage. Borge cannot rely on his words.

If you were in Borges’s position and your singular form of communication was using your body language…what kind of message would you convey? Confidence/Leader, or Weak/Uninterested?

We have now progressed into the 21st century meaning that we now have access to a great multiplicity of vocabulary to express our every thought. However body language has by no means taken a back seat. Our body language continues to convey unspoken thoughts and messages. It is essential that we are aware and in control of what messages we are sending out, as our body language can essentially determine either our success or our failure.

So now in the modern world body language is still of the utmost importance. It transmits messages to the listener and can send signals that are stronger than words.

For example, let’s say you’re hiring, and you interview two candidates. On paper they are equally fantastic! If interviews were based on the CV alone it would be a practically impossible choice to choose between the two.

However interview day arrives and candidate number 1 walks in (we’ll call him Simon.) Simon looks you square in the eye and with a smile on his face firmly shakes your hand and introduces himself. Throughout the interview Simon keeps good eye contact, a straight and open posture, with a happy and relaxed expression on his face. You feel that he is at ease and eager to prove himself! Your natural instinct both likes and trusts his capability to do the job.

Next we meet candidate number 2 (we’ll call him Tim.) Tim walks in with his head down, arms pinned to his sides, avoiding your eye. He offers a rigid handshake before sitting down in a slumped position. Throughout the interview Tim nervously bites his nails.

So…it’s decision time. Both of the candidates shared interesting points, both have similar work experience, however their delivery was completely different.

The decision is yours. Who would you hire?

The way you carry and present yourself can highly influence the way others perceive you. The way others perceive you can greatly influence the kind of connections you make in life. It is true your success level is influenced greatly by your skill set, your work ethic and your ambition…however don’t underestimate the importance of body language. It really can make ALL the difference.

What does positive body language look like?

  • Walking uprightly
  • Steady eye contact
  • Shaking hands confidently
  • Sitting/standing with a straight back – good posture etc…

Of course, it is also important to know what type of body language to avoid:

  • Faking a smile
  • Biting your nails
  • Getting distracted
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Being uptight
  • Hands behind your back
  • Keeping your arms pinned to your side

I’m aware that this may seem like A LOT to take in, but be relaxed, be comfortable and take it one day at a time. As we practice applying the principles discussed today, they will steadily become more natural. The day will arrive that we no longer have to think about whether our body language is positive or not, but it will be second nature.

“Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m Possible.’” – Audrey Hepburn

Leah Moy

 

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