Body language is an important factor in how you exert power, influence and create buy-in with others. Just how important is often under estimated. Others will make a decision about your competency in a given situation in less than a second, leaving no time to speak eloquently on a subject or even begin to make your case. In fact, once you do get around to speaking, what you say during an interaction with another person only accounts for about 7% of the impression you make. That being said the way you carry yourself, walk into a room or sit in the waiting area can have a profound impact on your ability to convey your message, sell your product/idea or get your team members onboard.
One of the most basic body language cues used to evaluate one another is posture. There are three basic postures: head posture, pelvis forward posture and heart posture. The one I want to focus on now is head posture.
When your head is down, as it is when looking at your phone, tablet, computer or a book, you are using the head posture. This posture indicates submissiveness and disinterest, the last thing you want to convey before an interview or sales pitch. However, we are in this position quite frequently due to the technology surrounding us. Our bodies can begin to become trained to stay in this position even when we are not checking emails or working on our computer.
It is important to consciously hold your head up high with your shoulders back. Sit (or stand) like your mother always told you to convey an impression of trust and competency.
Judgments are being made about you in a split second, so in the end, it doesn’t matter if you are playing Angry Birds or reading the Harvard Business Review on your phone, the impression left is the same. Use that split second to your advantage.
Look for the next installment of this series next month in our newsletter and blog!