Body Language Dos and Don’ts

Be Sure You're Sending the Right Message

When going into a situation where we know we are going to be mingling with new people, oftentimes we carefully concoct what we are going to say and how we are going to present ourselves. Interestingly, it isn’t necessarily what comes out of our mouths that should be our top priority as we prepare.

“Studies have shown that only about 7 percent of communication lies in the words that you’re actually saying! Thirty-eight percent is communicated through tone of voice, and the remaining (and largest) portion, at a whopping 55 percent, is communicated through body language.” (

Be sure you’re sending the message you intend with these following 5 tips:

Look them in the eye. They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul and if you struggle to look others in the eye – they are going to struggle to know your true message. Establish good eye contact early in the conversation, but remember it’s not a staring contest. It’s ok to look away briefly – take your cues from the person with whom you’re conversing.

Nod your Noggin. If done at the right moments, nodding ones head shows that you are engaged in the conversation. But don’t overdo it. Slow, brief nods show your listening, but quick, repetitive nods may lead your conversation partner to think you’re growing impatient or can’t seem to get a word in.

Stop fidgeting. Fiddling with your sleeves, rings, phone, etc. can be not only distracting but can also send signals that you re impatient or bored with the conversation. Be mindful of hand gestures and what they say about your feeling on the topic at hand.

Get your hands off your face. This is a big no no. Touching your face can accidentally convey negative messages. Certain moves like touching your ear or rubbing the back of your neck can imply uncertainty or boredom respectively.

Relax. Holding yourself too stiffly can come across extremely awkward when trying to get to know someone new. Don’t slouch, but keep a relaxed, comfortable and professional posture to communicate sincerity and engagement in the conversation.

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