Articles

 

Email & Texting
Body Language
Looking Slimmer

Email & Texting

  • Avoid using phones in elevators, during funerals, movies, theaters or places of worship
  • Abbreviations and slang should be avoided unless you are friends with the person
  • Professional emails should include proper salutation (Dear,) and closing (With regards, Sincerely), and your full name
  • Emails should use standard punctuation and grammar that would be used in a regular letter

Body Language

The single most important tool in business is the proper use of Nonverbal Communications. Nonverbal communications refers to the unspoken messages people express, and it amounts to more than 55% of the total message sent. The movement of the hands, legs, body and face are all considered part of ‘body language.’ Body language will either work for you or against you, so it is important to control your physical gestures, and make them congruent to what you are saying.

It’s not fair but it’s true: Your physical appearance matters. Your physical appearance will either boost you to the top of your field or keep you among the people in the middle.

You have less than 10 seconds to make a good impression on those you meet. There is a world of research that clearly indicates that you will be judged professionally and personally in the first few seconds of meeting someone for the first time, without speaking a word!

People are first affected by your facial expressions, then your eye contact, posture, gestures, movements, tone of your voice, and your handshake. In that order. Walking with vigor and vitality, shoulders erect, head up, with a smile on your face is the best way to make a great initial impression. When you approach someone, extend your right hand forward for a firm handshake with good eye contact. Eye contact is considered any contact in the “eye-nose triangle”. After maintaining direct eye contact for at least 4 seconds, you can adjust your gaze to their “triangle” to prevent a gaze from becoming a stare. Always prepare yourself to shake hands by keeping a cotton handkerchief in the right jacket or pant pocket. This will prevent your presenting a sweaty or wet hand.

Body Positioning

Americans are naturally friendly and casual in dealing with others. However, it is important to recognize that in the increasing global marketplace, we are now doing business with the world, which still adheres to universal guidelines. Therefore, when meeting someone new, the normal business distance between you should be between two to three feet. In this way, you are showing respect for their personal boundary. We all have a personal space, which is generally two feet around our body. We are threatened anytime a stranger comes too close in our ‘space’.

Every movement of our body, every posture, communicates a message. Whether we sit, stand, shuffle our feet, drum our fingers, tap or chew a pencil, fidget with our hair or touch our face, play with keys or change in our pocket, all these actions reveal our unspoken thoughts. We must strive for a congruency between what we say and how we move, because people always believe what they see not what they hear.

To be an effective communicator, you also have to know how to ‘read’ the Visual Cues of others. Here are some examples:

The Action The Message
Stands tall and erect Extrovert. Healthy self-image.
Stands slumped with head bowed. Introvert. Does not feel comfortable in the situation.
Uses wide, large gestures. The person is open to conversation. Sure of himself.
Uses small, closed gestures. Shy or unsure.
Has lots of smile lines. The person has a positive attitude.
Rubbing Chin Thinking, Undecided
Rubbing Back of Neck Unsure, Disbelief
Head Scratch Puzzled
One-sided smile Sarcastic
Touching/Rubbing Nose Lying Thinks you’re lying.
Unblinking gaze Threatening
One eyebrow raised Skeptical
Eyes closed while talking Very sure, not wanting any objections
Touching/Covering mouth Something to hide
Body leaning forward Interest
Legs/Ankles wrapped Insecure
Legs crossed, ankle on knee, hands clamped on horizontal leg Stubborn, immovable
Arms Crossed Defensive
Arms behind back Thoughtful, Relaxed
Head Tilt Empathy

Understanding these body language cues in context with someone’s language and tone of their voice will help you understand what they truly are communicating. This is an important tool in “winning” any negotiation, not only in business, but in every aspect of your life.

Remember, people believe what they see, not what they hear. Your body language can support or diminish your professional image. It can either enhance your attractiveness, or have the opposite affect. It is the silent message that speaks volumes about who you are, without your saying one word!

Looking Slimmer

  • Custom tailoring – when shopping, don’t buy size, buy fit. Make sure there is enough seam allowance for the clothes to be tailored
    to your measurements
  • Proper Under Garments – spend the money on good foundation products which support posture and give your body a smooth appearance
  • Vertical Stripes – be mindful of large prints, patterns and horizontal stripes as they make the body look larger
  • Flat Front, Full Legged Trousersfor full the figured consider trousers with a side zipper, flat front and flowing pants.
  • Long Trench Coat – neutral colored, single-breasted trench coats are always Flattering with a sash belt or not
  • High Heels – 2″ to 3″ heels provides a slimmer appearance than a flat or sneaker and gives the appearance of grace
  • Dark Clothes – for years we have been wearing dark fabrics to look thinner such as midnight blue, navy, dark greens, purples, charcoal gray or brown
  • Single Breasted Jackets – if you have a larger chest consider single-breasted jackets and suits as double-breasted creates a larger appearance
  • V-Neck Blouses & Sweaters – full chested women should select V-neck and Boat-neck blouses and tops which gives a slimmer appearance. The worst neckline is the round, jewel neck, which cuts the length of your neck and over emphasizes breasts