8 CRUCIAL STEPS TO REACH THE NEXT LEVEL IN YOUR CAREER
Number 1: Keep Your Hands Out of Your Pockets
Our hands are our trust indicators. Along time ago when we were all cavemen and cavewomen, the first place we would look as we approached each other would be the hands. We checked the hands for weapons, spears, stones, or anything that could hurt us, this told us if the other person was a friend or a foe. If they didn’t have a weapon we could assume they were friendly, and of course if they did have a weapon they were NOT! This behavior is encoded in our genetics, so when we can’t see someone’s hands we don’t know if we can trust them. Are they our friend? Or are they our foe? If your hands are in your pockets it is impossible for the subconscious brain to make that decision.
To show others you are trustworthy make sure they can see your palms – “or show them your hand” as the expression goes. If you use palm up gestures they can immediately see that you are not hiding any weapons and therefore think you are not hiding anything from them.
Number 2: Gesturing
Use your hands for open gestures. Using your hands can make your brain more engaged in what you’re saying and therefore make you more convincing. Note that your gestures should always be open and inviting, never aggressive or invading another person’s space.
Use the steeple hand gesture. Forbes suggests using a steeple gesture to communicate sincerity when speaking. To do this, touch the tips of your fingers on one hand to the tips of your fingers on the opposite side, while leaving your palms open.
*Think about making a steeple or a triangle with your hands.
Number 3: Leave Your Neck Alone
Don’t play with your necklace or scratch the back of your neck. Our necks, especially the area around the Adam’s apple, sometimes called the neck dimple, is full of nerve endings and is a place we reach for to ease the tension when we get nervous or anxious. Neck touching is one of the most significant and frequent behaviors we use when responding to stress. When the neck area is stroked it reduces blood pressure, lowers the heart rate, and calms the individual down.
But be aware this signals that you're uncomfortable — and possibly even lying.
Number 4: Mirror Your Boss's Body Language
Duke University performed a study that showed subtle forms of mirroring could prove useful when you're trying to win someone over. It's called the "chameleon effect" because, in the same way, a chameleon changes the color of its skin to match the environment, people can change behaviors and mannerisms to mirror the person they’re interacting with. Another study from Nijmegen University in the Netherlands reveals that mimicry increases rapport — and your chances of getting what you want.
Number 5: Watch Your Posture
When you become nervous, anxious or timid you often subconsciously try to make yourself disappear. You attempt this by making your body as small as possible. You will roll your shoulders forward, tuck in your chin, lean over, tuck your feet under your chair, and bring your arms close to your body. Often we end up in this body position as we check email or text on our phones. Avoid this posture! When you do this, you increase your cortisol levels (stress hormones) and decrease your testosterone levels (power/confidence hormones). Remember what your mother told you, keep your chin up, back straight, shoulders relaxed, and head held high.
Number 6: Eye Contact
Eye contact conveys confidence, attention, and trust and helps you build connections faster. Looking away from a person's eyes might express hesitation or lack of confidence, which could cause you to appear weak and untrustworthy.
Likewise, too much eye contact can make you seem desperate or intimidating. Instead, maintain eye contact 60-70% of the time. This keeps you from appearing creepy from too much eye contact but doesn't make you look like you are avoiding them. This will be enough to convey your most confident self, but not so much that it compromises your image.
Number 7: Natural, Direct Tone
Your tone of voice can carry signals that transcend the intention of your words. Keep this in mind as you speak. Ending your sentences with an upward inflection can demonstrate hesitation while speaking entirely in a monotone voice can make you seem robotic and unfriendly.
Find a way to carry a confident tone throughout your conversation, adding emphasis and inflections only when appropriate, to assert yourself as a confident, communicative individual. Many intonations are unintentional, so it’s best to practice this beforehand to master the art.
Number 8: Use Their Name and Smile
Your name is an essential part of your identity, and it feels terrific when people use it. You shouldn’t use someone’s name only when you greet them. Research shows that people feel validated when the person they’re speaking with refers to them by name during a conversation.