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Principles in Practice

You have seven seconds…Go!! You’re probably thinking, seven seconds for what? Well, according to research, people tend to make their first impression within the first seven seconds of meeting somebody. How we look shapes the message we are conveying.

Body language communicates attitude, emotions, and intentions and can punctuate, emphasize and enliven messages.

 Communication involves both verbal and nonverbal messages to create a shared understanding. In today’s world, much of our communication is digital and often it’s difficult to understand the true meaning behind the electronically-delivered content. Being behind a computer, we tend to forget the principles of body language that come naturally when we are speaking with somebody, whether at a conference, a business development meeting, or with colleagues.

I recently read an article on Leonardo da Vinci’s “painted psychoanalysis,” the Mona Lisa. The portrait illustrates mixed emotions. Depending on the angle the portrait is viewed, the woman is sometimes perceived to be smiling, while other times appearing more serious.  The painting allows viewers to create their own opinion of her depending on their observation.

The Mona Lisa is a great example that body language creates the art behind communicating. A facial expression is worth a thousand words and goes a long way to set tone and expectation. It’s the quickest and easiest way to change the nature of a conversation.  A smile can suggest approval while a frown indicates a disagreement all without saying a word.

  1. Smile. It’s contagious. It creates positive energy and opens up a more relaxed, comfortable environment.

  2. Convey Confidence.  Make eye contact and extend a tight, firm right handshake.

  3. Tone of Voice. Speak clearly and precisely. How the message is delivered makes a difference on how the message is received.  

Your body language determines how people perceive you. Just like people observe the Mona Lisa’s mysterious face differently, people will react in the same manner to your body language within seconds. A confident, energetic, and honest profile will take you far in creating a lasting, successful impact.


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