The Body Language Basics For Successful Business

10 Years with the Tenant Advisory Group _ TAG

Is your body language impacting your success? Absolutely. Here are the Body Language Basics.

A good portion of interpretation of what has been said is based on tone of voice and largely body language. Albert Mehrabin, Guru of nonverbal communication, said ” 55% impact of our message is body language, 38% is tone, and 7% is delivered by words”. Do not let your body betray you.

The government uses a variety of lie detection techniques including voice diagnostics, blinking rapidity, and body positioning (aka body language) to determine truthfulness. While your clients, business contacts, and colleagues are unlikely to come equipped with this machinery, the way you conduct yourself physically is very important.

First and foremost consider your face and hands.


A genuine smile starts at the eyes and continues down to the mouth. If you don’t have a thousand watt smile or are not keen on a big grin try out a variation on the smising (smiling with your eyes) technique coined by Tyra Banks. Think of something that makes you happy and flash those pearly whites. Now close your mouth and you’ve completed the smise.

Remember to relax your jaw. A flexed jaw is a primary indicator of tension.


Relaxation comes from a feeling of groundedness. Why are drinks always provided at business meetings and networking events? People feel a sense of security when they have something to hold onto. Notice that even after a drink has been consumed frequently the glass will not be relinquished.

Keep your hands loosely by your sides. Closed fists or fidgety hands are an abrupt indicator of anxiety and tension. If you feel unable to relax your hands, hold onto a pen or a drink. Do not clasp your hands above your belt. While this may have been taught as a serious pose it comes off as insecure or untrustworthy.


If you are standing, maintain proper posture with shoulders back and drawn in. This denotes confidence and also relaxation. Paired with a smile (smise or otherwise), this formula is powerful.

If you are in a situation where you are sitting take up space. Psychologically speaking if you make yourself smaller you could be insecure. Taking up space (legs slightly spread apart) shows confidence. Rest your hands lightly on your thighs.


To indicate interest, point your feet towards the person to whom you are speaking. Additionally, imitating the body language of this person will make them feel comfortable. For instance, if the person you’re speaking with pushes their hair back or tucks it behind an ear occasionally, try imitating the motion nonchalantly.

The phrase “actions speak louder than words” is especially true when it comes to body language. Being articulate is important, but be sure your body is articulating the same message.

For more information or how to apply this to networking, check out our Networking Tips and Tricks post.

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