Your Body Language Speaks Volumes

 In Career Tips, Job Search Strategy, Professional Networking

Your Body Language Speaks VolumesYou always communicate over two channels: the verbal and the non-verbal. The latter is often ignored but it can be a deal breaker, especially in a negotiation. I have been getting a lot of questions about salary negotiation on my CBS Radio Show Career Coach Caroline lately and with the gradual uptick in the  job economy – I want to empower all of you to be ready to negotiate well verbally as well as with your body language.

Carol Kinsey Goman wrote a great piece in the IBPA Independent about using body language to your advantage in a negotiation. Here are her 5 tips about using body language to help you negotiate with great results.

1.      Start off with the right stuff. Pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, take a deep breath, and walk in as your best self – exuding ease and energy. Trigger an eyebrow flashwhich Kinsey Goman describes as a slight upward movement that is a universal sign of recognition and welcome. Greeting those assembled in the room with this eyebrow flash and a smile will set your positive tone right off the bat.

2.      Shake hands. Whenever possible, initiate the handshake. Lean forward and extend your hand, keep your body squared, and face the other person fully. Maintain eye contact, smile and shake with hand-to-hand contact connecting the web of your hand with the person you are greeting. Press firmly (no wimpy handshakes!) and hold the grip a second longer than you are naturally inclined to do which conveys sincerity and literally holds their attention as you verbally introduce yourself. When you release your grip – keep your eye contact and your head up. If you look down after the break it sends a signal of submission. Never a good thing when going into a negotiation!

3.      Continue building rapport. Rapport is the foundation for a win-win outcome says Kinsey Goman and you must continue with rapport building body language which includes eye contact, leaning forward, head nods of encouragement and a smile, when appropriate. Mirroring can also build agreement but be subtle by allowing a few seconds to go by before you reflect the body language of the other person.

4.      Display confidence. Showing your torso is a way of demonstrating a high level of confidence, security, and trust. The more you cover your torso with folded arms, crossed legs, etc. the more it appears that you are trying to protect or shield yourself. Stand with a wide stance, relax your knees and center your weight over your lower body to look solid and self assured. Feet that are close together signal timidity or hesitancy. Power is displayed by height and space so stand to look more powerful no matter what your actual height. Moving around (within reason) also gives the impression of power by commanding more space and claiming your territory.

5.      Make a positive final impression. Your exit is just as important as your entrance so project confidence by standing tall, shaking hands warmly, and leaving your counterpart with the impression that you are someone to look forward to dealing with in the future.

Carol Kinsey Goman provides some excellent tips about how to use your body language to your advantage during a negotiation or any professional encounter when you want to convey self-confidence and conviction. Start to become more aware of your body language and the signals you are sending out into the world. Be mindful of others that display confidence with their professional presence and consider how you can do the same!

With over a decade of career and professional development coaching experience, Caroline Dowd-Higgins has a desire to empower and energize people to achieve their personal goals.  Her training style is engaging, high energy, and positive with a focus on unlocking the self-advocate within each of us.  Read more from Caroline at

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