4 Acts of Business Body Language

Business body language and business networking run parallels as they both occur at the same time. When you are out at networking events and generating leads or contacts, there is a language being spoken that is nonverbal.

Just as if you were visiting another country and had to communicate with different people who spoke another language, it is important to speak and understand the language of the body. This has the obvious benefits of better communication which can lead to a number of favorable things.

Business body language, just like social body language, has its subtleties and can’t be completely depended upon. However, taking note of certain movements and behaviors can help you in your networking experiences.

We all like to be as prepared as we can for important situations. Knowing what certain positions and movements mean gives us superior understanding and is all part of adequate preparation. Below, are a few body language aspects to take note of and use to your advantage;

Raised Eyebrows

Sometimes people are not as vocal in expressing their inner feelings as you would like them to be. Raised eyebrows is a sign of interest. If you are engaged in a business networking conversation and explaining something, raised eyebrows indicate that your conversation partner has an interest in what you’re saying. Don’t be fooled by the lack of words.

Partially Facing You

Typically, we usually face the direction of our intentions. In other words, when we are engaged in a conversation and are ready to leave in a rush, our bodies will usually start to face towards the door. If this is happening while you are engaged in a conversation, don’t take it personal, the person may have an appointment to get to. To your advantage, make the conversation brief and set up a time to talk later.

Leaning Forward into You

Just as with the raised eyebrows, people have a way of showing interest without talking. When an individual is interested in something, they will lean towards it. We can be very predictable at times and leaning towards an object or person is a clue to take note of. However, pay attention to all of the surrounding factors.

Not Making Eye Contact

You may even see a minor pattern at this point. Typically, when people are interested in something they will face it, or lean towards it.

Not making eye contact can be compared to not being faced. There may be a lack of interest or even a shyness involved. You will have to make your own assertion in this situation. It will be to your advantage to observe this and take the appropriate action to get the results you want.

Male Eating Disorders and Body Dysmorphia

It was his turn to look after his toddler son. And it was morning, time to soak his skin thoroughly in hot water in the shower, so he would be very smooth-shaven when he shaves. His son was crying. He could hear it but was not listening. The voice of self-criticism was louder. It said to make sure there was not a hair out of place, not a bump of skin. He was frantic, a morning ritual normal for him.

His son cried louder. His nappy was soaked through. He missed his potty time so had to wet his nappy. The crying made him lose control of his bladder again, and now he was soaked through. He was so upset, he could not walk. He crawled to the bathroom where Daddy was. Daddy played a game with him to take away the crying.

The game was going on the scales. John (a fictional character), was due to weigh himself. Another morning “normal” ritual. And evening ritual, all normal, of course. It never occurs to him that there is anything wrong with this obsession. It is normal to look your best and be “healthy”. He needs to weigh himself twice a day, in case his weight approached an “unhealthy” level. He has just under 10% body fat, normal, he considers, for body-building athletes.

Only John is not an athlete. He works in an office and works out in the gym 1 hour a day, five days a week. It is too tiring to do more, but that too, is considered normal, as he does intense workouts, helped by his “healthy” shakes.

The same shakes his doctor recommended he stops. The same shakes the dietician his doctor recommended told him to stop, at least for a while. the same shakes the allergy consultant told him were a contributor to his allergies. The same shakes the alternative health practitioner said were affecting his health. Of course, they are all wrong; interfering busy-bodies.

He is pleased with himself. As his son plays the weighing game with him, the crying stops. And, he is 100g leaner. So, eating food with no fat is perfect. He is so happy with his new diet; two shakes morning and night, a low-fat sandwich so his colleagues can see him eat at lunchtime, and meat cooked so well on a rack, that it oozes all of its fat. He is delighted. The new diet is working.

Smiling happily at his son, his son responds with a smile. Daddy notices him.

At this point, his ex-wife rings the doorbell. She collects their son after the overnight visit, changes his nappy and feeds him in the car.

John is glad she is out of the way. He can now go to the gym and forget what she did to him. Like all women, she was a demanding useless thing who left him. And she was fat, too. That stupid doctor refused to send her to the dietician for her weight. The doctor had the wrong equipment. He could not see how fat she was; disgusting.

His mother is always thin, a true beauty. He had a happy childhood, always being taught not to let his feelings show, being encouraged to be the strongest, thinnest, most muscular man in high school. His mother is the best. That counsellor he saw lied and told him he had a bad childhood. Another stupid useless person. His parents loved him very much. They sent him to the top schools, bought him the latest toys, gadgets, phone, and computer. They were a happy family.

He gets dressed and goes to the gym. He gets back home to shower. He never showers in the gym. He weighs himself just one more time, then dresses to go and see his parents. Happy times ahead.

The Importance of Business Body Language

Most of us go about our daily business, and conduct a number of both business and personal conversations without giving much thought to what the body language we use is saying to other people. In business though it really is as much about the way you say something as the actual words you use.

But what does the way you conduct yourself and your conversations say about you, and what might others be thinking?

Eye contact is of course very important. Maintaining eye contact with another person during a conversation is of course the best way to convey that you are truly interested in what they have to say. But there is a fine line between eye contact and out and out staring, which is discomforting to most people. However, beware of those who speak to you without making eye contact at all, as that is often a good indicator that someone is being less than honest with you.

Holding your head up straight while delivering a speech or presentation conveys the right air of authority. However, tilting one’s head to the side occasionally while listening to someone else speak conveys that you are truly interested in what they are saying.

Your hands and arms say a lot in conversation too. Folded arms indicate defensiveness, and can be very off putting to the other parties involved in the conversation, as can having your hands shoved into your pockets. Excessive hand gestures can also detract from your message, so the best place for your hands, during a business conversation at least, is at your side.

When it comes to posture what you learned to do in grade school, sit or stand up straight and tall, applies in the business world too. Slouching indicates a lethargic, disinterested person, who no one will want to do business with.

Watch where you place your legs when seated at a business meeting too. You can often tell if a person is nervous because their legs move about endlessly, which can be off-putting too all at the table. For women, crossing the legs can send out a rather unprofessional signal so if you must do it, cross them at the ankle, not the knee. Guys should avoid the “figure four” resting one leg or ankle on top of the other knee. This is taken by others as a sign of cockiness that can put the observer off you before you ever open your mouth to speak.