It’s important to appear trustworthy when interviewing for a new job or building relationships with potential clients. In fact, in business, helping others realize that they can rely on you and that you operate with integrity is crucial. But, building trust can be tricky. And if you’re not careful, your body language could work against you.
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Here are some tips to ensure your body language supports the trust you’re working so hard to build through your actions and words.
Open body language is a whole category of movement that helps you appear to be the opposite of “closed.” Sit and stand with open arms, never crossed ones. This will let other people know that you are flexible, not rigid, and that you’re ready to listen. Hold your palms open rather than in fists, which can make you seem tense. And, keep your facial expressions “open” as well. Your countenance should be easy, relaxed, and positive.
Communicating with the right amount of eye contact is super important. It’s something people take note of, subconsciously, to determine whether or not they feel comfortable with you. Sporadic eye contact (or excessive blinking) can feel suspicious, as if you have something to hide. If you want to appear truthful and invested, make consistent eye contact during conversation, but don’t hold it for too long either. Research shows that ideal eye contact lasts between seven to 10 seconds, and that it’s maintained during conversation between 70 and 80 percent of the time.
3. Watch your tone.
Technically, tone of voice isn’t exactly body language – but, it is one of the most important ways we subtly communicate trustworthiness or lack thereof. Your tone can make you seem rushed or bored, but it can also help you come off as patient, kind, and energetic when done right. A soothing, calm voice is most appealing, whereas a high-pitched, fast-paced manner of speaking is less desirable. So much work is done without face-to-face contact these days, so minding your tone is more important than ever. Slow down and keep your pitch low – you’d be surprised what a difference it can make.
4. Don’t forget to smile.
Nothing shows trustworthiness like warmth. And, what better way to show your softer side than through a sincere and genuine smile. Sometimes, we can get so caught up in being professional that we can forget to smile, but this is a big mistake. Yes, you want to show you’re capable and that you take the work seriously, but if you really want to put others at ease – a smile is the key. If you appear relaxed, others will follow your lead and relax a little too. Genuine, easy, frequent smiling goes a long way toward helping others to view you as kind and trustworthy.
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