Using Posture and Body Language to Communicate Power
If you are a manager in your workplace, your title likely gives you an element of power. However, most people in leadership don’t want to lord their position and influence over the members of their teams. They want employees to respect and trust them because they are knowledgeable, good communicators and confident leaders. It is possible for managers to learn how to communicate power, and it doesn’t require shouting, threatening or criticizing team members. Take a look at this lesson on body language and how it can be used to your advantage during your next day in the office.
Check Your Posture
There are all kinds of books and lessons that can teach you about the hidden messages in body language. There are exercises you can do before presentations that can boost your confidence, and there are poses you can strike during meetings to present an image of power. As a manager, though, you likely will be standing in the front of the room. This is your opportunity to take a close look at your posture and how it comes off to other people.
If you want to learn how to communicate power, take a critical view of how you stand. Are you straight up and down with hips, shoulders and head aligned Maybe your head is out front or you stand with your pelvis slightly forward. The best stance to take for conveying trust, confidence and authority is an aligned body with relaxed shoulders. You don’t want your posture to look stiff, but if someone were to look at you from the side or from a seated position ï as people at the table are likely to do ï you want to look poised from all directions.
Own Your Space
Your entry into the meeting or presentation also is important. You don’t have to bound in like an excited child, but you shouldn’t mope into the room either. Enter the space with confidence and take your place at the head of the table or room.
Now is the time to consider space. Your message will be received as general and not personal as long as you stand at least four feet away from the listeners. This may be tough in a small room, but that’s all right. Any closer than four feet and your message becomes personal to the person you are standing near. So, if you want your message to resonate specifically with a few people, walk over to them and stand close. If you get within 2 feet, it may be perceived as confrontational, so be careful how close you get. In presentations for strangers, stick with a longer distance. For meetings with your team members, personal space likely is where you want to stand.
Look Them in the Eye
OK, so you are standing up straight and have placed yourself at the appropriate distance from your audience. The next lesson in how to communicate power is all about eye contact. It’s vital that you take the time to pause on each person’s face, even if what you are saying doesn’t pertain to him or her specifically. This approach not only makes sure the audience knows you are watching, it also makes members feel as though they are actively involved in the conversation. Looking over their heads or darting your eyes around the room will only make listeners feel as though you are being dishonest or don’t truly want to engage in a conversation with them.
Finally, your voice modulation is another factor in learning how to communicate power. Managers certainly shouldn’t mumble, but you certainly shouldn’t shout, either. When speaking to a large crowd, you might want to consider a microphone if you don’t have a loud speaking voice. When standing at the front of the room, you should have an upright but relaxed posture and speak clearly with good enunciation. If there is a lectern in the space, stand next to it, not behind it. Hiding behind a fixture does not communicate confidence. Speak loudly enough to be heard without seeming to be yelling at listeners.
Learning how to communicate power is an important task for managers who want to be powerful in a less-obvious way. Adopting a solid stance, making eye contact and speaking confidently are some of the key parts of this approach.
In addition to learning how to communicate power, managers can find out how to make strong hiring decisions and improve their companies using some of the resources at Mighty Recruiter as a guide.