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The Importance of Body Language: How to Make a Good First Impression

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When entering a room filled with people, you have about ten to twenty seconds to make a good impression. When you meet people, you have five minutes to bring a positive relationship. Conclusions are not drawn solely from what a person says. 90% of opinions are formed depend on non-verbal communication alone - your body language. The impact of non-verbal cues may either help or hurt you in the following situations:

  • Job interviews
  • Giving business presentations
  • Supervising teams/employees
  • Leading meetings
  • Negotiating with key decision makers
Even the most confident person can send mixed messages using their body language. These common body language tips will help you stay focused, and give a positive impression when meeting new people.

Eye contact - It is the most important non-verbal cue. If you look at your feet when talking to a person it shows, lack of confidence and that you are not interested in what that person has to say. Do not stare at a person for hours, but look directly into their eyes when shaking a person's hand or answering a question.

Posture - Position your head and body squarely in line with the other person. By facing towards a person, you show genuine interest in what they have to say. Do not stand too close or too far away when you talk to another person. Be respectful of personal space. Remember to stand and sit up straight when speaking - do not slouch.

Don't cross your arms or legs - This is the biggest mistake when it comes to negative body language... Keep your body open when communicating with others.

Nod your head once in awhile- When a person is speaking directly to you, nod once in awhile to send the message that you are listening. Do not over do it and bob your head every few seconds.

Slow down your actions - Whether you are walking or talking, slow down your actions. It gives others the impression of ease and confidence.

Don't touch your face or wring your hands
- These are nervous habits that many people do unconsciously. Practice well in front of a mirror before giving a presentation to make sure you do not engage in these nervous habits. These actions are distracting to an audience and may make you appear nervous.

Don't mirror other person's body language - Sometimes when you connect with a person you unconsciously mirror their body language. If they lean forward when talking to you, you may lean forward as well. Do not mirror the other person's actions - it looks awkward and strained.

Keep a positive behavior or attitude and remain confident
- If you maintain a positive attitude, your body language will reflect your confidence. If you look at the ground or look away at people, it gives others the impression that you do not care or are afraid to talk to them.
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