While it might be surprising, most business relationships rely on effective communication. From well-structured marketing strategies used to engage the target audience to conversations with stakeholders concerning business growth, the importance of communication cannot be ignored. Even though written and verbal communications are commonly used in businesses, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of body language.
Non-verbal language, such as sitting positions during a meeting and eye contact, can positively or negatively affect your written and verbal message. In business, body language is the foundation for deeper communications. From body movements, human behavior to facial expressions, unmentioned things often convey much information. According to Psychology experts, body language has a bigger impact on conversations than the words used.
What is Body Language and its Importance in Business Communication?
Before highlighting the importance of body language in business communication, it is crucial to understand how it contributes to conversations in the first place. Essentially, body language is a supplementary mode of communication that complements your verbal and written communication.
Body language plays a significant role in personal and business communications. It significantly affects how other people perceive you. Therefore, body language used on your customers, employees, and stakeholders can jeopardize your business identity. That said, body language has several important functions, including;
Can be used to replace written or verbal communication. For instance, when talking to a fellow employee who won’t stop talking, it isn’t nice to shut them down. Therefore, stepping back or glancing at your watch indicates to them that you should go.
Body language also enhances or accentuates verbal communication. For instance, pointing at the subject of your discussion.
Good choice of body language with stakeholders, clients, and employees regulates a conversation. Several non-verbal cues in a meeting indicate when another person should begin their speech.
You can also use body language to stress a point or draw more focus on something during business communication.
That aside, business leaders rely on various body language cues and tone of voice to engage and motivate employees. Similarly, sales personnel use body language to encourage purchases. Businesses can also convey much information through body language and nonverbal signals. Among them include;
- Confidence – business managers, project confidence to their employees, customers, and stakeholders just by how they hold themselves. They demonstrate confidence by entering a room with big smiles and open body language.
- Intelligence – various forms of body language make one appear intelligent. For instance, nodding and demonstrating comprehension from your face when listening to complex topics is an excellent way to save the “business face.”
- Empathy – just as body language helps demonstrate intelligence or IQ, body language also shows your EQ, which is emotional intelligence. Professionals can easily decipher the emotional needs of their customers and workmates.
- Assertiveness – this is an important element of body language in any business communication. Be it selling to customers or proving your business’s value to stakeholders, you should demonstrate assertiveness.
- Interest – communication becomes effective if everyone involved appears interested. Showing interest in business communication demonstrates professionalism, which is good for building a good brand.
Implementing body language successfully in business heavily depends on establishing how employees should present themselves in daily conversations. As such, you can establish policies that guide non-verbal communication in your business. So to say, businesses that have identified the importance of body language should host seminars to help members improve their nonverbal cues.
Tips for Improving Body Language in Business Communication
Business leaders looking for ways to improve body language in meetings or other people’s body language skills should consider the following to improve the chances of success.
Consider the Body Posture
One thing that most people look at when conversing with others is how the person carries themselves. Posture has a significant effect on assertiveness and confidence in communication. Research studies indicate a lot of attraction to individuals with open stances, such as an open arm, no crossed limbs, closed fist and thumbs, and straight spines. Crossing your arms and legs, hunching the shoulders inside, or drawing the body in conveys some discomfort, isolation, and anxiety.
Check on Facial Expressions
A simple smile conveys a lot. If you want to convince stakeholders or co-workers to feel at ease when conversing, simply smile. Smiles effectively alleviate any friction when engaging with customers and colleagues. Another option is mirroring the facial expressions of the person you are speaking to. For instance, if the other person appears relaxed and laid back, act in the same way to enjoy the conversation. If they speak in a serious demeanor, reciprocate the same to show your seriousness in the conversation.
Other facial expressions can be read on the eyebrows, lips, chin and cheek position, and head nods, among other clues.
Another important element of body language in business communication is eye contact. After perfecting facial expressions and posture, it is prudent to keep close eye contact with others. This indicates that you are paying full attention and a sign of respect. Apparently, 30 to 60 percent of male adults make eye contact when communicating. For a deep sense of emotional connection, up this to 70%. While doing this, avoid staring continuously, as it will induce some tension and nervousness.
Business experts concur with research findings that how you shake hands reveals a lot about an individual. According to studies by the University of Alabama, you can predict another person’s personality and physical behaviors just by shaking hands. Those with firm and confident handshakes are outgoing and positive. Handshakes are also good for growing businesses, especially when meeting prospective investors, clients, and employees.
As you master your body language for business, it is important to learn how to decode conversations with body language. Successful business communication requires that you master beyond the basics of your body language. Entrepreneurs and business leaders should learn how to recognize signals that other people convey in a discussion.
For this, pay close attention to any inconsistencies, read nonverbal behaviors as a group, and trust your instincts. If you read negative body language from the person’s emotions, mood, hand gestures, body movement, personal distance, tone of voice, gaze, and any other sign of aggressiveness, don’t dismiss your gut feelings.