You spend hours rehearsing the answers to interview questions.
You’d never forget to say “thank you” after an interview.
You know it helps to remember to address a person by their name after you meet them.
However, what about the things you’re not saying that are just as important?
My company recently brought in a sales expert to train us on communication styles, and what stuck with me were three surprising statistics on how communication is interpreted:
- 55% comes from our body language.
- 38% comes from our tone.
- 7% comes from our words.
What comes out of our mouth accounts for only 7% of the message we are sending. This blew me away at first, but how many times have you crossed your arms when you’re angry or were so excited you couldn’t sit still? Whether we know it or not, we are constantly communicating with others, so it’s important to take note of the message we are sending.
As this article points out, people are making judgments about you before you even utter your first word, so make sure you’re sending the right message.
- Perfect a firm handshake. You want to appear confident, but you don’t want to break their hand either. Keep it brief and avoid the two-handed handshake.
- Maintain eye contact. People want to feel like you’re really listening to them, and giving them your undivided attention communicates that what they’re saying is important to you. Resist the urge to fiddle with your watch or check your cell phone – it makes it seem like you’d rather be somewhere else.
- Practice good posture. Walking taller immediately communicates confidence, as does sitting with your back straight and not hunched over. Make sure you keep your arms uncrossed, as this can make you seem withdrawn or closed-off.
- Watch those feet. As this video points out, your feet are the most honest part of your body. To appear comfortable with someone, keep your feet facing them.
- Smile. It’s contagious, and who doesn’t love a happy person?
As you can see, what you’re not saying is just as important when you’re representing your brand. Take a look at this slideshow for more ways to display confident body language, and remember: It’s not what you say – it’s how you say it.
Amanda is an account executive at MarketWave, a marketing and public relations agency in Addison, TX, where she works on everything from media relations to writing and editing client materials. Prior to MarketWave, Amanda worked as a publications intern atSouthwest Airlines before hired on with the company and working full-time at the airline for two years. Amanda gained experience writing for Southwest Airlines’ inflight magazine, Spirit, while working on her master’s degree in journalism from the University of North TexasMayborn School of Journalism. She’ll graduate in August 2011 with a degree focused on strategic communication and a minor in marketing. Amanda is a member of the Society of Professional Journalistsand is passionate about traveling, writing and nonprofit organizations. Connect with her on Twitter (@amgleason) and LinkedIn.