Our personal presence and communication skills are a critical part of “outer branding”, and body language in particular can speak volumes about our personal brand. As we may not always be aware of what we might be communicating to others, we risk sending a very wrong (and brand inconsistent) message. It could be as subtle as fidgeting, which could be interpreted as nervousness or impatience, to the more obvious looking away that conveys disinterest.
As body language can speak louder than words, becoming fluent in this non-verbal lexicon can ensure that you are sending the right message, or more importantly, not sending the wrong message. Psychology consultants at Davitt Corporate Partners have highlighted the biggest body language mistakes that you might be making. Here they are in this handy little infograph from TechInsider.
To improve non-verbal communication, try out these exercises:
- Enhancing non-verbal communication begins with observation…of others and yourself. What signals can you notice in others? Start with observing people you know well. Then take yourself to a public place such as a coffee shop and watch people. Observe how they sit when they look bored compared to how they sit up when they’re more animated or interested.
- What gestures or habits do you tend to make in conversation (e.g., crossed arms, fidgeting, looking down)? Friends and family can be a rich source of feedback. Ask them if you have any habits or mannerisms that they think you should be aware of.
- Ask someone to video you in action at work, speaking to another person or larger audience, or even just speaking to camera. This will give you an idea of how confident you come across, along with and any non-verbal communication that you might want to work on
- Posture work can makes a huge difference. If you are a habitual sloucher or even suffer from hunched shoulders from too much desk time, this won’t be giving people the best impression of you. Start doing exercises to loosen your neck and shoulders (there are plenty of these online) or perhaps visit a physiotherapist or personal trainer to work on posture-enhancing exercises.
- Try out your handshake on a willing friend and ask them how it feels: firm and confident or weak and a bit slippery, or perhaps worse, too strong and aggressive?
Remember that our personal brands are constant works of progress, so ongoing non-verbal communication “checks” are an essential part of building a strong and consistent personal brand!