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I recently had the pleasure of attending GBTA-North Carolina’s Education Day. This year’s theme ‘Let’s Get Personal’, kept the interest of the audience for the entire day. The first session on Body Language in Business was conducted by Tanis Roeder, owner of Elevate Your Communication. The 90-minute segment focused on how to improve your first impression with five main areas. Many of these tips can be done even before you say a word.

5 Ways To Make A Positive Impression

1- Friendly and Engaged Face
• Eye contact can lead to likability and can set you apart from others.
• A genuine smile with wrinkles around the eyes is powerful.
• Signs of listening include nodding, tilting head and leaning inward slightly.

2- Open Gestures
• Hands should always be open.
• Gestures to use occasionally include; interlaced fingers to show you are listening, steeple hands to show confidence, and hands on your face to show engagement.
• Some gestures to avoid are pointing, hands over your mouth, hands on hips and hands in pockets.

3- Confident Handshake
• Handshakes are important as they help you develop rapport with the person you are speaking with and also help you remember names.
• There is a correct way to shake someone’s hand. Your palm must meet the palm of the person’s hand you are shaking.

4- Thoughtful Stance
• Men tend to stand more to the side while women stand face-to-face.
• A space bubble of four feet is appropriate for business, while between 12 inches and four feet is more appropriate for social settings.

5- Engaged Seated Position
• Appropriate seated positions included legs straight or crossed toward your audience with arms at your side.
• It is best to avoid crossing your arms in front (too submissive) and crossing your arms overhead (too confident).

Studies show that 85% of our communication comes from non-verbal queues.  If you can send the right message before you even begin speaking, you know you are on the right track for the rest of the conversation.

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