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business-etiquettePicture this – you are conducting a business presentation and as you come to the vital portion of the presentation, you put your hands on your hips akimbo-style to stress its importance. Chances are your audience will remember more of your dominating attitude and less of your presentation. And you don’t really want that to happen, do you?

You can communicate without speaking or writing a single word. You nod to greet someone. You purse up your lips to prevent yourself from saying something. This is all body language. And if you are not careful, you might be misunderstood due to poor body language. While I can’t list all the dos and don’ts of body language, you can try the following 4 tips to improve body language for effective communication:

* Make eye contact – Eye contact while speaking conveys your attention, enabling others to listen to you. Eye contact while listening conveys your interest to what others are saying. Making eye contact is a good conversation starter as well.

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* Maintain right posture – Stand tall or sit straight. When you are listening, you can lean your body towards the other person. But don’t get too close, you will be considered ‘pushy’ if you invade someone’s personal space. And if someone invades your personal space, you can show your disapproval by crossing your arms.

* Mind your head – While speaking, keep your head straight to be taken seriously. You can tilt it to either side while listening to convey your interest and attention. Nodding your head while listening is also good. And keep a pleasant expression on your face. Avoid pursing your lips, frowning, etc.

* Manage your limbs – Crossed arms or legs can project you as an uptight person. Arms should be on your side, or you can move your hands to emphasize while you are speaking. Don’t shuffle. Stand with your feet comfortably apart, with body weight equal on both feet.

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These are some of the basic tips to improve body language. Pay attention to these and you will be able to communicate more effectively both inside and outside the workplace. To learn more how you can have more success at work with our business etiquette and grooming tips, use our Contact Form.

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