10 Surprising Body Language Tips That Will Make You a World Class Communicator

Want to learn how to be a better communicator? Discover how body language can play a crucial role in effective leadership, personal branding, and your public speaking.

Here are ten surprising body language tips that will make you a world class communicator.


Ever notice how you can sometimes look at someone’s body language and understand exactly what they’re trying to communicate even when they’re not saying a word?

While words are amazing, they’re clearly not the only way to communicate. Some people are exceptional at using hand gestures to help make their point, others employ a natural smile at just the right moment of a conversation, putting everyone around them at ease. I have warm memories of my grandmother Ruth giving me her undivided attention as I shared stories of my school day as if I was the only person in the world.

These are body language tips that every leader needs to know. Best practices every entrepreneur, executive, and manager in practically every industry need to remember in order to perfect their own body language in their regular dealings: everything from weekly meetings with their teams to keynote speeches at national conferences.

Thankfully, there are plenty of experts out there — sociologists, psychologists, consultants, and the like — who study the art of nonverbal communication for a living … and you can find 10 of their must-implement body language tips and tricks below to better your own communicative skills on the job.

1) Own the space you’re in.

Strength can be conveyed in so many different ways, but one of the easiest in any business environment in which you want (or need) to make a powerful first impression is with your posture — and, more specifically, how you utilize the space around you.

“Leaning forward with your arms slightly stretched out on the table illustrates confidence and an open attitude to listening,” Usheroff noted in her LinkedIn feature on how to own the space during things like formal meetings and presentations.

2) Make a practice of “power posing”.

In her incredibly powerful TED Talk from 2012 (which you can check out in its entirety here), Harvard professor and researcher Amy Cuddy indicates that, even if you don’t feel confident at any given moment, you can still tweak your posture in a way that, in time, can help make you more confident.

Through practicing and refining the art of what she calls “power posing” and implementing those poses in your everyday life, you can build your confidence when it comes to social situations — everything from presenting at day-to-day meetings to speaking in front of large convention or meetup crowds.

3) Don’t avoid eye contact.

One of the first lessons your parents may have taught you during your formative years was how to present yourself to the world so that you’d be respected: shoulders up, speak with purpose, and so on.

One tidbit I picked up on early in life was the power of eye contact — an act that, while it may take time to retrain where your attention lies when speaking with or to others, can greatly impact how you’re perceived and received in a business atmosphere.

In her Business Insider profile, Glass notes the best places you can practice improving your eye contact are “on the subway in the morning, strolling outside on your lunch break, and in conversations at the office and with friends.”

4) It’s ok to use your hands when you speak.


Behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards recently studied the body language of every single TED Talk speaker through 2015 to unearth what makes them so effective in their public speaking — and which were most effective, in terms of how many people have viewed their talks online. The findings may not surprise you:

“The least-watched TED talks had an average of 124,000 views and used an average of 272 hand gestures. The top-ranked ones, meanwhile, had an average of 7.4 million views and 465 hand gestures during the same length of time.”

Using your hands as a storytelling tool is how you can best explain yourself in both personal and professionals situations. Navarro indicated in Psychology Today that the human need to see hands during social situations is inherent — likely because we don’t always trust the words coming out of someone’s mouth.

With proper hand and finger movements, he added, the conversations one has and arguments one makes become both more compelling and trustworthy.

5) Work to calm your nervous gestures.

If you get nervous, you will likely start speaking too quickly. And that makes you appear less powerful.”  — Amy Cuddy, Social Psychologist

It’s fairly easy to spot those with extreme nerves, including and especially while talking. Confidence doesn’t emerge out of nowhere. It takes time to build up the nerve and self-assurance that one will be able to thrive when taking the stage (literally or figuratively).

In her book, “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges”, Cuddy unveils her secrets to speaking confidently and simultaneously using the correct body language to support one’s speech.

So much of the mind-body connection is about really understanding what your body does,” Cuddy said, adding that developing a “presence” while speaking goes back to being able to believe your own stories.

6) Be present when others talk.

Even if it feels phony, you have to realize your habits and inattention are sending messages that are just as inauthentic.— Carol Kinsey Goman, International Speaker

I can tell you from experience that some of the best body language insights I’ve gained over the years have come from the countless conferences at which I’ve spoken over the years.

Watching the myriad influencers and subject-matter authorities take the stage at conventions and corporate events has given me insight into my own body language — particularly when it comes to giving my full attention to others.

It’s not just how you control your body while talking in business environments, but also how you listen to others when you’re taking in their information.

“In business, first impressions are crucial,” Goman, a renowned international speaker, relayed in a CNN article. “Once someone mentally labels you likeable or unlikeable, powerful or submissive, everything else you do will be viewed through that filter.”

7) Dress appropriately for your audience.

Successful people maintain an impeccable image. Why? Because they know that their image is part of their brand.” — Stacia Pierce, Life Coach & Career Expert


While you don’t have to don $2,000 suits to work every day (or any day, depending on your field), you do have to consider how the outside world perceives you based on your appearance. Fair or not, many business decisions, including who to hire and promote, are based on one’s look.

“Your image is an outside indicator of who you are as a person,” Pierce stated in a Huffington Post piece. “A big part of advancing in life is looking the part. This is especially true as a business owner. A keen sense of style when it comes to your image can lead to greater opportunities and higher levels of success.”

At the end of the day, looking the part and, in general, caring even just a little bit about your professional image can take you much further in your career. Given the modest effort it takes to show you take your job seriously, it’s more than worth the investment to reevaluate and, if needed, improve the way you showcase yourself in your day-to-day.

8) Learn to relax.

Keeping your movements relaxed, using open arm gestures, and showing the palms of your hands … are silent signals of credibility and candor.” — Carol Kinsey Goman, International Speaker

Apart from dressing relatively snazzy in your daily dealings, it’s also important to feel confident about yourself and ready to take on the day — something Goman also knows a thing or two about, as she shared with Forbes.

Goman suggests professionals recall past experiences in which they were supremely confident and owned the room. Then, they can use this memory to prepare for their next high-level business endeavor and exude the same body language again.

Recalling that genuine emotion will help you embody it as you enter the meeting room or walk up to the podium,” said Goman.

9) Pay attention to others’ body language.

Just as you want to pay close attention to others when they present during meetings or speak in front of their colleagues in general, you also ought to concentrate on their body language when they’re silent.

Why? Because you can often learn how others are thinking while listening to others — and these “tells” can give you more insight into their intentions and, in certain situations, maybe even give you some leverage.

As Bradberry shares in his article for Entrepreneur on how to read others’ body language, you can really discover a lot about a person simply by keeping tabs on their movements. For instance, someone mimicking your gestures.

“It’s a sign that the conversation is going well and that the other party is receptive to your message,” according to Bradberry. “This knowledge can be especially useful when you’re negotiating, because it shows you what the other person is really thinking about the deal.”

10) Remember the power of smiling.

Whatever their origin or motivation, smiles have a powerful effect on us humans.” — Harvard Management Communication Letter

Nothing puts one at greater ease during a high-intensity business activity than smiling. As a matter of fact, there’s even data that proves smiling has a big effect on how successful one is in communicating on the job.

According to Harvard Business School research, smiling impacts people in a variety of conditions. One aspect of the HBS study focused on judges and their leniency, or lack thereof, on defendants.

“Though courtroom judges are equally likely to find smilers and nonsmilers guilty, they give smilers lighter penalties, a phenomenon called the ‘smile-leniency effect,’” said Daniel McNeill, author of “The Face: A Natural History.”

While you hopefully won’t have to utilize this smiling tactic in that specific situation, the fact that smiling enhances others’ viewpoints about you means you have yet another body language tactic in your repertoire — one that could help you close a new customer or client or make a big impact on that new hire you really want to sign on.

Seth Price

I’m on a mission to transform the way you think about personal branding to empower your life’s work. My keynote speeches connect me with audiences all over the world. Join me in creating ideas for bringing your brand to market.