Eloquent and charisma are common misnomers for success in the workplace. You don’t need to be eloquent or charismatic in order to be good at networking, as body language makes up the bulk of all communication.
55% of communication happens through non-verbal language and body movements, while a mere 7% hinges on the words you use.
This means that body language can positively or negatively affect what you say to people at the workplace and how you are perceived as a result. So even if you’ve got the vocabulary of a PhD graduate, you still need the right body language to communicate and form meaningful professional relationships.
In our article ‘How to Read and Use the Right Body Language’, we covered the basics of body language and the messages they convey. Today, we’ll talk about why this is the case.
1. Your first impression hinges on your body language
In the workplace, you aren’t always given the opportunity to introduce yourself to people. Most of the time, colleagues, bosses and even clients/customers will have already formed an impression of you in the first few seconds of seeing you for the first time.
And once they’ve mentally classified you as a ‘friendly’, ‘arrogant’ or ‘suspicious’ person, anything you say afterwards will be affected by this bias that has been formed.
So, if you’ve given a client a bad impression of yourself, no matter how eloquently you speak later on, you’ll be hard-pressed to change what they think of you.
2. Trust is built through body language
To a certain extent, body language is your unconscious mind speaking on your behalf—which makes it a great method of telling how much someone means what they are saying. A person might be able to choose their words carefully, but it’s not always possible for them to mask their true intentions with the right body language.
It is through body language that connections are formed, and trust gets established. When you notice that what a person says matches the body language that accompanies their words, that’s when you know they’re safe to build a meaningful business relationship with.
3. One gesture speaks a thousand words
Have you noticed that when people can’t find the word for what they want to say, they resort to using gestures? It’s intuitive for humans to communicate with their hands when they’re passionate or enthusiastic or trying to make a point.
Likewise, the reverse is true. That’s why you can instinctively tell when someone is not interested in what you are saying just by looking out for signs that they’re fidgeting or no longer making eye contact with you.
Research has also shown that people view those who use more gestures when speaking as warm, agreeable and friendly, so don’t be afraid to use body language to express yourself—because that’s how most communication happens!
Check out our Career Centre for more in-depth resources and e-courses on body language.