Although there’s been a lot written about body language and most of it is very important, I want to stress a few points that I think make all the difference in the world when you’re looking to make a great impression.
1. Be sure your handshake is firm and definite. You’d be surprised how many women have a firm handshake and how many men don’t. It has nothing to do with gender or strength. It has to do with confidence, so make sure yours is terrific.
2. Maintain eye contact for at least six seconds. Any more than that and it becomes a stare. However, if you are in one on one conversation, looking at someone directly is very important. You have to make them feel as if they are the only person in your universe at that particular time. It states they are very important to you.
3. Sit in a comfortable and well positioned chair. If you can’t watch the people traffic go by or know when you might be interrupted you are at a disadvantage. Be able to get in and out of the chair without wobbling, and make sure your legs and feet are in a comfortable place. Sometimes a chair can be too low or too high, and you feel like you are 12 or 90.
4. Before you enter a room, take 10 seconds to scope it out. This way you won’t trip or head to the wrong people. It isn’t much time, but it serves a couple of different purposes. You look more poised and in control and it gives other people time to observe you as well. It also gives you a chance to see how many different groups you may want to approach.
5. Watch your posture. If you slump, you look tired, weak and non-powerful. If you are too rigid, you look stiff and off setting. Being natural is the way to go. Stand tall and proud but always be approachable. Keep a smile on your face and always be the first to extend your hand.