Body language is about stance, eye contact, movement, facial expression and the use of space. It sends cues about some of our most fundamental traits such as honesty, collaboration style, negotiation skills, ability to reach agreement, sense of power, and actual work performance.
Clients, employers, colleagues and others who have influence pick up quickly on non-verbal signals and make hiring and long-term association decisions accordingly.
As a business development consultant to law firms, I see how the current marketplace puts considerable pressure on lawyers, particularly those early in their careers, to stand out. It is a buyers’ market in which the balance of power has shifted to the client, there are more lawyers than there is work, and clients and prospects need to be given a compelling reason to choose you.
People are persuaded by people they like and trust. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.
What thoughts, intentions and feelings are you communicating as you establish relationships with new and existing clients, connectors, influencers and referral sources? How can you have more control over how people respond to you? How can you communicate in a way that matches how others need to hear you?
You can adjust your body language to get the results you want. Tips include:
• Make eye contact to look sincere and honest
• Sit up straight or stand tall to demonstrate confidence
• Shake hands with the web pointed toward the ceiling to show equality and cooperation
• Use strategic mimicry to mirror posture, words, voice and gestures to facilitate a bond of like and trust by appearing similar
• Open your palms to show sincerity and openness
• Tilt your head to one side to demonstrate attentiveness and listening
For the fullest appreciation of the power of body language, do not miss the second most viewed TED Talk of all time by watching Amy Cuddy’s talk entitled “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.” Here Amy talks about “power posing,” not only because it shapes how others see us but, also, it changes how we see and feel about ourselves. “Our bodies change our minds and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.”
You will notice that people respond to you differently and you to them. You control what your body language conveys.