Body Language

Body Language is identified as one of Matter’s top soft skills linked to performance and career success. Contrary to popular belief, soft skills like body language can also be learned and developed just like any hard skills. Matter helps professionals tease out blindspots and areas for growth in skills like body language through regular peer-to-peer feedback.

What Is Body Language

Definition of Body Language: Uses engaging and approachable gestures, facial expressions, and postures.

The way you present yourself is as important, if not more so than what you say and how you say it. Body language can either support your verbal communication or compromise it. Whether you’re speaking to a large group or just one person, body language such as your posture, facial expressions, and hand gestures really do make a huge difference in how you are understood. By keeping your body language consistent with your words, you will gain the trust of your team, communicate and train more efficiently, and collaborate more easily.

Leaders With Great Body Language You May Know

Tim Cook: Carrying on Apple’s tradition of delivering electrifying product launches is no easy feat, especially when following the footsteps of a dynamic presenter like Steve Jobs. Since becoming CEO, Cook has been more than up to the task, continuing to dazzle crowds at each year’s unveiling. Despite not being a natural product person by trade, Cook has utilized his body language skills to amplify his storytelling when communicating about Apple’s products and services. His commencement speech at Tulane University is an excellent example of his ability to inspire an audience not only through words, but also his smile, hand gestures, and small, yet authentic body language cues.

Amy Cuddy: Not only has Cuddy provided a great example of body language in her TED Talk, but she is also an expert on body language as a researcher and social psychologist at Harvard University. In particular, Cuddy notes the power that comes with how you carry yourself in the workplace. With strong body language, “you are more likely to feel confident and see the world in a way that is filled with opportunities rather than challenges. If someone is seen as confident then they are also seen as competent.”

Joe Navarro: While working as an FBI Agent, Navarro used his specialty in nonverbal communication and body language to gain important information to solve cases. Navarro provides all kinds of tips for improving your body language, and to help others feel comfortable talking to you. From what you wear, to how you place your feet, to where you sit and how you move your hands, just about everything you do is communicating in some way. According to Navarro, “It’s about how small things that we do affect the environment around us and affect the people around us.”

Why Body Language Is Important

  • Connection: Proper body language is absolutely vital to help you connect with your listeners. By having inviting body language, you’ll encourage your audience to care about what you’re sharing and potentially inspire them to take action.
  • Passion: Body language is a powerful way to communicate the passion you have for a project or idea. When your hand gestures, facial expressions, and overall stance supports your message, that passion can inspire and empower those around you to catch the vision and grow in their own motivation for the project.
  • Confidence: When you feel confident, your body language supports and communicates that confidence. This confidence will help reassure your listeners that you’re passionate and credible speaker.

What Body Language Isn’t About

  • Exaggeration: Over-the-top body language that doesn’t match your message does more to distract from what you say than it does to support it. Exaggerated body language comes across as inauthentic and leads to a lack of trust in what you’re saying for those you are communicating with.
  • Invading Personal Space: While at times it may be necessary to communicate through closeness or physical touch, it’s rare that this is the case in the workplace. Invading the personal space of others can not only make them feel uncomfortable in the moment, but can cause a lasting negative impression and feeling of distrust.
  • Aggression: Body language should be a reflection of your desire to support, encourage, and help those around you. If your body language is aggressive or dominant, your peers may feel threatened, physically and emotionally.

Abilities That Lead To The Mastery of Analytical Thinking

Dressing professionally: Your clothing and how you choose to dress will be a big part of your appearance, and hence a big part of how people perceive you, and look at you.

Maintaining a confident posture: Your body language can be a useful instrument to appear confident. Don't let slumped shoulders or a nervous habit derail the message you're trying to convey.

Making eye contact: While speaking or listening to a peer, maintain eye contact to project confidence and let the other person know you are interested in what they are saying.

Monitoring facial expressions: Facial expressions speak louder than words, yet most people are unaware of their facial expressions. While engaged in a conversation, be aware of what emotions your facial expressions may be expressing to your peers.

Respecting personal space: Personal space is the region surrounding a person which they regard as psychologically theirs. Most people value their personal space and feel discomfort, anger, or anxiety when their personal space is encroached.

Shaking hands firmly: Perfecting the art of a proper handshake is essential to making a good first impression.

Using hand & arm gestures: People who use a greater variety of gestures are viewed by their peers in a more favorable light. People who communicate through active gesturing tend to be evaluated as warm, agreeable and energetic, while those who remain still are seen less favorably.

Explore Roles That Benefit From Analytical Thinking

Who can benefit from practicing analytical thinking? Matter is helping professionals at all levels get actionable feedback to improve their analytical thinking.

  • CEOs who are looking to become better leaders and cultivate company culture
  • Designers who want to grow their professional and soft skills
  • Freelancers who work without a traditional team and want feedback
  • Project Managers looking to improve their cross-functional collaboration skills
  • Software Engineers who aspire to become a tech lead or manager

Explore Complementary Skills to Analytical Thinking

Analytical Thinking shouldn’t be practiced in a vacuum. Improve your analytical thinking by exploring and developing these complementary skills.

  • Communication: Clearly conveys information to others (written or verbal)
  • Inclusiveness: Creates an environment that values individual and group differences
  • Presentation Skills: vers effective, understandable, and engaging presentations to a variety of audiences
  • Storytelling: Creates an engaging oral or written message that contains a lesson via a narrative
  • Verbal Communication: Speaks effectively using appropriate vocal tone, speed, volume, and vocabulary

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