By Malminder Gill, experienced Exec Coach and Certified Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) at The Coaching Agency
Your body language
Understanding your own body language will help you to understand how you potentially come across to those around you. It will also provide a window into how you feel in the moment. Start by noticing how you sit in your chair, is your posture upright, slumped or somewhere in between? How do you feel when you are sitting upright and how is this different from when you are sitting in a slumped position? What are your common facial expressions? For example do you often raise an eyebrow, keep your lips pouted or have a tendency to smile? How do you think your facial expressions come across to others? When in conversation do you look people in the eye or do your eyes dart around? How do you feel when others look at you in the eye when they talk to you?
Adopting a new body language style
Try experimenting with new and different postures, facial expressions and body positions and notice if you feel different. For example, if you usually keep your lips pouted try smiling more often and notice if you feel different. Often subtle changes in our body language elicit different responses from those around us and having the flexibility to adopt different styles may help you to improve engagement in teams and with your customers.
Building rapport with clients
As a Business Coach, I am often asked how one can build a relationship with a potential client quickly, especially at trade fairs, conferences and introductory meetings. A simple and effective way to build rapport is to observe your client’s body position, angle, posture and to adopt a similar style. In NLP terms this is known as matching – a process where one adopts a series of movements, tone, gestures, words from another person in order to build rapport. For example, if your potential client is standing and leaning to one side with crossed arms, use body language to build rapport and try either crossing your arms or also leaning to one side whilst in conversation with this person. The key here is to be subtle and adopting one or two gestures is usually sufficient.