Body language is revealing—sometimes more revealing than we’d like for it to be. Studies find that up to 80 percent of what we understand In a conversation is read through the body, not the words. Especially for people in leadership, it’s important to make sure your body language isn’t undermining your message when you face your colleagues, board members, or the public. Here are some of the most common issues:
Speech and body language out of sync. If your mind is saying no and your words are saying yes, that conflict will be revealed in your gestures, and there’s a better than average chance that anyone who’s listening is confused—even if they aren’t sure why. In almost any situation where you’re communicating with others, you’ll do best by keeping your body language open and accepting.
Looking off instead of making eye contact. If you tend to glance away or lose eye contact as you’re addressing a meeting or audience, remember that facial expressions, especially the look in your eyes, can tell attentive listeners immediately what’s going on in your head. When people are engaged in an interesting conversation, their eyes remain focused on the other person’s face about 80 percent of the time
Tuning out when you should be tuned in. Do you have a hard time trying to be a good listener because you keep tuning out what’s being said? Especially when you’re in leadership, you need to stay attentive and at least give the appearance of being interested—no matter what.
Lack of engagement. Even if you don’t know anything else about body language, you’ve probably heard that you appear closed off and unengaged when you lean away or cross your arms or legs.In general, when you arrange your body in this way, you signal that you’re mentally, emotionally, and physically closing yourself off from the other person.
Nodding “yes” while signaling “stop talking.” Have you ever noticed that when you see someone nodding excessively, often everything else going on with them is signaling for you to stop speaking? Many of my clients are often taken aback at this revealing connection, which is clear as daylight once you become aware of it.
Allowing discomfort to win out over confidence. When people close off their gestures while they’re speaking, the root cause is often self-consciousness. Communicating with clarity and confidence is an important leadership skill. Being confident in conversation with others helps you get what you want and need and stand up for yourself and your values.
Lead from within: Effective communication is 20 percent what you know and 80 percent how you feel about what you know.
N A T I O N A L B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.
Additional Reading you might enjoy:
- 12 Successful Leadership Principles That Never Grow Old
- A Leadership Manifesto: A Guide To Greatness
- How to Succeed as A New Leader
- 12 of The Most Common Lies Leaders Tell Themselves
- 4 Proven Reasons Why Intuitive Leaders Make Great Leaders
- The One Quality Every Leader Needs To Succeed
- The Deception Trap of Leadership
Photo Credit: iStock Photo
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.