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Make a good first impression by checking your non-verbal communication

Make a good first impression by checking your non-verbal communication

Inspired by a lost interview with Jordan Harbinger of The Art of Charm.

A huge part of our communication is non-verbal communication. Whenever we’re in a new situation, or when we meet new people, we quickly analyze the situation to determine where we stand, what others’ intentions are and what obstacles or challenges the situation might provide.

Other people are also analyzing, as soon as you walk in the door. So, how will you make sure you’re giving others the impression you hope to give? Even if you don’t ever get a chance to speak to them?

When I first began this podcast, I had a great interview with Jordan Harbinger from The Art of Charm. Unfortunately, I lost internet connection part way through and when it reconnected, it didn’t continue to record. I lost the entire interview (sorry, Jordan). But, Jordan gave such great information throughout the entire interview, so I really wanted to make sure I still got that out to you in some form.

Although Jordan is the host and co-founder of The Art of Charm, a podcast and business dedicated to helping men get the girl, he is really about so much more. He truly understood the importance of non-verbal communication and how to coach someone to exude confidence, without having to say a word. Exuding confidence is a good idea in just about any situation, personal and business included. He was a pure non-verbal genius. He really understood the science and reasoning behind the tactics.

One piece of advice that Jordan gave was to do a door check upon entering any room. We’ll focus on what that means today and how you can implement this challenge so others will be drawn to you, inevitably have more positive feelings about you, like you and – of course, so you can increase your power and influence in your personal and professional life.

So what’s the door check?

Make a better impression

Make a better first impression

Jordan suggests checking your non-verbal communication every time you enter a room. So, let’s do that right now. Take a second to take inventory of your body language. Here are some things you might consider:

(Note: Although Jordan suggested a non-verbal check upon entering any room, the specifics provided below are my own.)

Posture

1. How is your posture? This is a huge problem for me. I sit on the computer all day. When I’m not on the computer, I’m doing something even worse for my posture – reading text messages or otherwise consuming content while hunched over a tiny screen. This extends into the rest of my day. I’ll find myself with less than perfect posture and I wonder… what is this saying to the world? If I’m not even taking the time to hold myself up right, why would anyone want to bother with me? I don’t want to appear slouchy. It sends a message. And, not one I really want to send.

So, how is your posture? Take a second to check it out. Is your chest open, shoulders back? Back straight? If not, what does your shape look like to someone seeing you for the first time? What does it say about you?

I actually found some great exercises on Lifehacker that are specifically designed to counteract the damage done by sitting at a desk all day. I’ll post them on the show notes for today’s show.

Ok, now that we’ve taken care of our posture, let’s check your appearance.

Appearance

2. What are you wearing? I’ve interviewed multiple image consultants for the podcast so far, all of which agree that your outer appearance can really send a message to those around you. In the episode with Taylore B. Sinclaire, she goes even further, saying that your appearance can can communicate to even those who can’t see you. She tells a story of a client of hers who was able to increase sale by changing her wardrobe. Not too hard to believe, until you hear that she was in tele-sales! Taylore goes into depth on the how and why, but in summary, one component of your non-verbal can impact other aspects, so it is important to keep them all in check.

Some of you listening might work from home, as I do. There might be days you don’t see clients. How do you dress? What message does that send? If you needed to run out for a quick errand, what would your outfit say about who you are?

So, how do we know we’re dressed correctly? This isn’t so much about fashion, but more about dressing the way you’d like to appear. If you want to appear like you have it together, dress like it, whether others will see you or not.

Movement

3. Next – check your movements.

Have you seen the movie, Jobs, with Ashten Kutcher? What stood out to me about the way Kutcher portrayed Jobs was how well he got that walk down. It was an awkward walk. The movements were stiff. Short. The head was down. The entire walk just seemed uncomfortable.

Perhaps you know of someone in your life who moves in a way that looks uncomfortable, or awkward in some way. It’s off-putting. How is it to approach someone who makes you feel uncomfortable? If given the option, would you approach someone with strong, confident movements, or short, stiff closed movements? If you don’t know how you look when you walk, or move about your space, place a mirror or a camera somewhere that you’ll be sure to be acting yourself. For example, I have a large floor to ceiling mirror in my dining room. I sit in that room all the time. I often catch a glimpse of myself while working or eating and think, oh my goodness, do I ALWAYS look like that? But, at least then I know and I’m able to fix it. This is why I am so conscience about my posture! I’ve caught myself a few time!

Voice

4. The final check point for your body language that we’ll discuss is actually not part of your body at all. It is your voice.

[Related] Find out how much weight non-verbal communication carries – this video will AMAZE you! 

Are you prepared to speak and engage in conversation with those around you? When I was in elementary school, I hated raising my hand because, after sitting through hours of class, my voice always sounded funny when I would begin to talk. It still does if I don’t talk for a while, but, now that I’m not in school, I rarely go few hours without talking.

When you enter a room, prepare yourself for whatever is to come. For me, I would clear my throat. But, you might do something like mentally prepare, if you are shy.

Take a moment to take inventory of your present state. Do you typically speak slowly? Quickly? Do you speak in a clear and confident voice, one that doesn’t increase pitch at the end of every sentence? Because – that is so common and can come across as less than confident – as if you’re not sure what you’re even talking about.

Now that you’ve taken inventory of where you are starting from, you’ll know what things you’ll need to pay special attention to when you enter a new room, with new opportunity. If there is anything you need to work on, head over to clearly influential.com and I have put together some resources for you on the show notes page – clearlyinfluential.com/show – search episode 6.

Your challenge for today is to implement the door check every time you enter a new room. Before you walk in, check your posture, your appearance, your movements and your voice.

This challenge is going to give you an immediate improvement on your non-verbal. I like to think of this podcast as a way to help you optimize your communication. Just like in website optimization, this is all about conversions. How often can you get others to do what you want? Make this small tweak in your body language, and you’ll hear yes more often.

If you liked this challenge, I’ve got more. Sign up for the weekly emails. You’ll receive an instant gift, plus you’ll join the community in our weekly challenges. Each week, I’ll send you something to work on just for that week that will give you instant results when it comes to optimizing your communication. Go there and sign up right now before you forget!

Resources:

Improve your posture with these exercises

If you are not getting the results you want in life, check out the Art of Charm Podcast. Or, if you really want to step up your game and improve your social life, check out the Art of Charm Academy. 

 

About the Author Sandy Donovan

Sandy empowers the young and talented to increase their power and influence by improving their ability to be heard and be clear. She does this by providing access to rigorously tested research in the communication, psychology, and marketing fields.

  • FireStarters

    Really like the “Door check”! Great advice to be aware of all 4 areas. Bummer the internet connection went out, yet a great episode and post here with valuable info to vastly improve my communication ability. Thanks Sandy and Jordan!

    • ClearlyInfluential

      Yes – I really wish we could have used the interview, Jordan gave a lot, but I loved the door check idea! Very useful.

  • Sandy – this is awesome – thank you so much for packing so much amazing content into one consumable package! It’s really helpful to walk through all the forms of non-verbal communication like this so we can continue to remind ourselves of these things.

    • ClearlyInfluential

      Thanks Kate!

  • Oh man, Sandy! Were you a fly on the wall when I had this discussion with my son today? Is 11 too young to get started as a listener of this podcast? I jest. He’s such a good boy, he just has a few things to learn about all the ways a message can be sent and misunderstood even if it was sent with good intentions! 😉

    • ClearlyInfluential

      Oooh, I imagine teens/tweens could definitely benefit from some non-verbal training! 🙂 Jordan’s training is for the gentlemen, so maybe he would appreciate that… but in 7-10 years, perhaps. 🙂

  • Celest Horton

    This is such great advice. Working as a Sales Professional for years I have learned these lessons well. I always approach everyone with a smile and focus on great posture, confidence and kindness. It’s my nonverbal cues that can soften a room of potential clients faster than anything and make the ensuing conversation so much easier. Love these tips!! Thanks Sandy.

    • ClearlyInfluential

      Celest – I imagine you as a great sales professional because you just radiate kindness!

  • Non-verbals are one of those things that we typically don’t think about. I love how eloquently described the four items. There’s so much that goes on in our unconscious communication that we totally don’t think about that stuff when we walk into a room. Some great pointers here, I learned some new things! Thanks for the great show.

    • ClearlyInfluential

      Yes, we don’t always think about it and that is why I loved the door check so much. It is a visual reminder that we should stop and take inventory. Jordan had lots of tips for making sure one is always prepared to make a great impression.

  • Justin Williams

    Meeting with investors and agents are my everyday routine and your presence is everything. having a good impression is one of the key in closing a deal. Thank you for sharing this Sandy!

    • ClearlyInfluential

      Thanks for the comments, Justin! Yes, this is good advice in business AND in life!

  • You never get a second chance to make a first impression! Great stuff!

  • Way to turn this into a great episode. I got a lot out of it. Really loving your podcast.

  • Maritza Parra

    So much gold here Sandy! Thanks for the reminder about the importance of non-verbal communication (and the amazing tips!)