You can understand a lot about people by studying their body language. Learn the meanings behind these typical examples of body language in meetings, and use the information to your advantage!
- WALKING IN! – The way you walk into the meeting room can say a lot about your attitude. To give a positive impression, walk upright with your shoulders back. Also, smile and make eye contact with everyone there.
- GREETINGS – When greeting other people, smile, look them in the eye and introduce yourself in a confident manner. Also, remember that in many countries (the UK, the USA, Australia, Canada, etc.), a firm handshake is seen as a sign of confidence and trust; and a limp handshake could make you appear weak, submissive or disinterested.
- SITTING – Be aware of the way you sit in meetings. Crossed arms could communicate that you’re closed and not willing to listen. Slouching will make you look like you aren’t interested,. For a more positive impression, lean forward.
- FACIAL EXPRESSIONS – A positive look on your face will show that you’re interested; a blank look will do the opposite.
- EYE CONTACT – Maintain eye contact with other people in the meeting room when you’re talking, and do the same with the person who is speaking to show that you’re interested. In general, for a positive attitude, you should maintain eye contact between 70 and 80% of the time.
6.VOICE – When you speak, do so with a confident voice that’s loud enough for everyone to hear. And try to say something in the meeting as soon as possible – the longer you leave it, the harder it is to speak up.
7. PALMS – To appear decisive when you’re speaking, keep your palms down. This is also a sign of authority and firmness. To appear more open and friendly, keep your palms turned up.
8. ATTENTION – Watch how other people are sitting to gauge their interest. People often show that they’re ready to leave by moving to the edge of their chair, or by leaning forward with their hands on their knees.
9. HANDS – Avoid fidgeting as it’s distracting; and try not to fiddle with anything. If you’re sitting down, try to keep your feet, hands and legs under control to appear calm and confident. Also, avoid drumming your fingers as it’s a sign of boredom, discomfort or nervousness. And try to resist the temptation to text, check e-mails or surf the internet. Instead, bring a pen and paper and take notes to show that you’re interested and following what’s going on.
10.MIRRORING (MIMICKING) – Use mirroring techniques to create a good atmosphere. Mirroring involves copying what other people are doing: the way they’re sitting, the way they’re standing, the position of their arms or hands, their gestures and the way they speak (the tone, speed, volume and pitch of their voice, as well as the type of language they use). Research has shown that subconsciously we think people who mirror us are more persuasive and honest than those who don’t. So, if the person you’re talking to is leaning forward, you should do the same; or if they’re speaking slowly and clearly, you should try to copy this. If you notice the other person is mirroring the way you sit, move or talk, it could mean that they trust and like you.