Body Language for Better Business

Better body language can help you become a more effective leader.

Throughout your career in business, you will begin to notice that your body language can have a powerful effect on how people perceive you in the workplace. While what you say is certainly important, the way you present yourself - whether you're giving a presentation or simply engaging a co-worker in conversation - has a key role to play in encouraging people to see you as an effective leader.

When you're standing ...
Posture can be a powerful indicator of your comfort with a given situation, so even if you're nervous to give that presentation in front of the CEO, stand up straight with your shoulders back and head up - this will portray confidence. Slouching or sticking your hands in your pockets will diminish your authority, while crossing your arms will inadvertently make you appear combative or closed off.

When you're sitting ...
When sitting in on a meeting or simply working at your desk, you may not think your body language is conveying much - after all, you're just sitting. But slouching in your chair can have just as adverse of an effect on peoples' perception of you as it does when you are standing up. Sit with a straight back and legs crossed or together in front of you. Don't jiggle your legs, as this is a sign of nervousness and unease - neither of which you want to convey in the workplace.

When you're introduced ...
In business there's nothing more important than making a good first impression. When you meet someone new, make eye contact, give a firm handshake and smile. Project confidence and you will soon be perceived as an effective leader and business person.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online bachelor degree programs in business and online MBA programs. To find out more, please visit

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