Use These 10 Body Language Tips to Jumpstart Your Credibility and Career

Body Language - Your eyes speak more than you know (woman with only half of her face in picture).

Your body language has already communicated before you’ve said a word. For instance, the way you tilt your head or smile say volumes before you open your mouth.

Body language becomes crucial to career success, especially when your reputation is on the line. By paying attention to how you stand and move as you interact with others, you’ll find you’re better able to convey your message, which will advance your credibility as well.

Learn how to increase your career success without saying a word with these tips:

1. Start with the Right Handshake

In the era of the pandemic, you may forgo a handshake. But if you are in a position where it’s safe to shake hands, keep this in mind. A grip that’s firm and not too gentle shows confidence and sets the tone for the entire encounter. Keep in mind, a good handshake takes practice. A little time spent perfecting your grip until it’s right will payoff later.

2. Keep Your Distance…Somewhat

As we are beginning to return to the office and mask mandates are being lifted in areas, it’s important to stay mindful of others. There’s such a thing as standing too close. On the other hand, the last thing you want to do is wander so far off that the person you’ve just met thinks you’re no longer part of the conversation. If applicable, after the handshake or other formalities, take a step back to create your own personal bubble but stay close enough to show you’re interested in engaging in conversation.

3. Take Up Space

Your posture should not only be good with a straight back, but it also needs to be expansive if you want to show the world, you’re confident. Stand in a way that shows you’re not apologetic for taking up space and gives you room to gesture comfortably as you speak.

4. Eyes on the Prize

If you’re making a point or needing someone to agree to something, then it becomes especially important to maintain good eye contact. Meeting the eyes of the person you’re talking leaves no question over whether you intend your information or question for them. It also lets them know that you’re fully engaged in this conversation and paying attention to them as much as they’re paying attention to you.

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5. Keep Your Hands Under Control

Hands can be tricky without work. They fidget with jewelry or hair, they can be closed, or even clenched when things aren’t going well. Pay attention to how you hold your hands and use them to gesture. Keep your movements simple, you’re not conducting an orchestra, but do use them to underscore points in easy, gestures.

6. Put on a Happy Face…?

Not entirely. Fake smiles are always bad (and creepy) but keeping your expressions positive is a crucial skill to learn. Squelch unhappy expressions or disgust or dismay quickly. Learn how to school your features to convey the best positive expression you can. This might not necessarily mean a smile. Sometimes the best you’ll be able to do is to appear open and interested in what the other person has to say. Honestly? That’s plenty. So long as you’re being real, that’s what counts.

Consider These Smart Body Language Tips to Communicate Credibility

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Competent. Confident. Credible. You.

There’s nothing more frustrating than having your credibility doubted, especially when you’ve been trying your best to convey something you believe passionately. If you find this happening often, you might want to consider what your body language might be saying about you.

Now let’s look at some quick tips to prepare your mind before you set the rest of your body in motion.

7. What do you do to Pump You UP?

Sometimes the problem lies in your energy – the tone and attitude in which you first engage in the conversation. Remember, someone confident is always going to come off as being genuine. If you’re afraid you’re not feeling it, take a minute before you engage socially to pump yourself up. Remember a time when you were feeling at your confident best. Hold onto this feeling and make it your own all over again.

8. Listen to Yourself Talk

Studies have shown that people automatically react to certain voices in specific ways. Consider your pitch. Try toning down your pitch as you talk. Also, pay attention to the speed at which the words come out of your mouth. People tend to speed up when nervous so it might be wise to slow down a little. A calm tone and pace enhance credibility.

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9. Lose the Nervous Twitch

When anxious, it’s not uncommon to fidget with things. What you might not realize is this kind of twitching around is going to make it look like you’re hiding something. For the sake of sincerity, you need to break those habits fast!

Try this trick: While seated, you might have your hand steady, but your foot might be in motion. Learn the Go To behavior you’re particularly apt to gravitate toward in social situations. Are you a hair twirler? Do you play with your pen in meetings? When you spot the behaviors starting, take a deep breath, and put your hands, palm down on your legs, on the lap, or on the table. This will steady you and give the added bit of confidence you need to make your point.

10. Pay Attention to the Basics

Don’t forget the cardinal rules. Watch your posture, maintain eye contact, and use open gestures when speaking. If you’re going for a smile, make sure it’s genuine. Most important listen with your body. Relax. These are the building blocks of confident credibility. Don’t trip yourself up by forgetting something so basic.

Bonus Tip: Genuinely listen and engage

People want to feel heard, and you cannot do that if you are only focused on what you will say next or listening for when you can speak. That’s not a conversation, and people can feel that. Relax, be present in the conversation, really listen to what they’re saying and be interested. Ask questions. Doing this will make your interactions more memorable and enjoyable.

With the right body language and mindset, you’ll gain the confidence in your interactions, and build the credibility needed to advance your career to the next level. It all starts with being smart and paying attention to your body language.

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