Leading with communication involves more than written and spoken words. It includes communicating with great body language. Mastering body language is a crucial skill that can mean the difference between being perceived as a caring and engaged leader or a toxic boss.

Body Language Mastery

Body language can speak volumes about a person. Learning to master your body language and effectively reading another’s body language is the key to all social interactions. It is important to avoid coming off as arrogant. You are more approachable when you make eye contact. The placement of your arms also conveys your stance on openness vs. defensiveness, but it can be a challenge to know what to do with them. Keeping your arms in front of you when standing or your hands folded either in your lap or on the table is the best placement.

When talking with someone, keep your head level and chin up, but not too far up. Look for actions of engagement such as head nods, forward leans, and eye contact. These are the actions that you want to casually mirror. This will create a more relaxed atmosphere. Smile, but do so genuinely. Fake smiles can be spotted a mile away.

Be conscientious of the cues you are being given by the other person and be less focused on the next thing you have to say! Look for disagreement cues, such as leaning back, frowning, or looking away. This is a sign that it might be time to change topics or end the conversation.

When engaged in social interactions, distance is the key. Standing or sitting too close to someone can be an immediate turn-off, resulting in that person feeling ill at ease. You may also see tension cues such as face touching or leaning away. Touching someone on the arm can be a perfectly natural reaction if you have an established relationship. However, touching is never advised during first interaction(s).

It can sometimes be difficult to remain engaged when you feel your phone vibrating in your pocket or see emails arriving in your inbox. Avoid checking your phone, computer, or watch while engaged in conversation. Also avoid sighing, eye rolls, or yawning. This makes the other person feel as though you do not care about them or the topic of discussion.

Michael Klein is a premier writer and speaker on all aspects of human capital.  As VP Operations for KDS Staffing, Inc., he has achieved industry-leading success. Michael was awarded, The New York State Small Business Growth Award; presented by Governor George Pataki.  Additionally, Michael has successfully grown and sold multiple firms. If you or your organization would like to discuss hiring needs, contact Michael at 646-350-3015 or michael@kdsstaffing.com.

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