Body language should help, not hurt. Even when the chat isn't in person, how you hold yourself impacts how you connect with others and whether you present the best version of yourself. So, when the talk is important, use these strategies to show you're strong, capable and ready for anything,
Eyes up and alert. Your eyes betray your focus. So, if you're picking lint from your pants or looking for the exits, you'll show your interest lies elsewhere and seem dismissive. For maximum engagement, do the physical equivalent of faking it until you make it. Start with the eyes, making solid contact, then nod in assent and raise your eyebrows while you listen. You'll look alert and interested.
Arm yourself. Take note of your arms. Those placed behind you can seem regal and distant, while arms crossed over your chest can seem threatening. To look like a leader, keep your arms relaxed and open, even lacing your fingers together in front of you to seem centered, comfortable and interested.
Tall and proud. Where are your shoulders? If they're over your toes or your lap with your back curved into a C-shape, you'll seem uncomfortable in your own skin, turning people off. To convey confidence, hold your shoulders over your hips. Point your toes toward the person with whom you're speaking, not the door, and lean on nothing. Practicing power poses – like superhero stances with your arms akimbo and your legs in an 'A' shape – can even help boost confidence before your talk begins.
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Mirror, mirror. What's your partner doing? Mimic their stance to diffuse tension and connect. If they are sitting, sit at the same height. If they are standing, face the same direction. Aligning your pose with someone else's can help build rapport.
Don't forget to smile. Smiles put those around you at ease and signal to yourself that you're doing what you're supposed to. It may just help give you the confidence to land that client or nab that dream gig.
Read more: Closing the Deal Is as Easy as Smiling
Nina Zipkin is a staff reporter at Entrepreneur.com. She frequently covers media, tech, startups, culture and workplace trends.
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