Building trust quickly is an essential business skill. Whether you’re in sales or you’re the CEO, chances are you’ll need to connect and talk with clients and customers to keep your business moving.
1. Hold Eye Contact
When speaking with someone, you should maintain steady eye contact. Shifting around the room or continually looking at something else can be a red flag to your partner. You might appear disinterested in what they’re saying, or worse, look like you have something to hide. Keep your eyes on theirs to show where your focus lies.
2. Keep Good Posture
Good posture conveys confidence, authority, and helps people trust you. Even if you’re not a leader, sitting or standing up straight gives you a likable appearance. Slouching can make you look uninterested and even unprofessional.
But there’s a difference between slouching and leaning. Leaning toward the other party conveys interest and engagement. Your body language says that you’re listening, a trustworthy trait.
And don’t forget about your arms. Keeping your arms in an open position gives the impression that you’re willing to connect. Crossed arms look as if you’re closed off or distant.
There’s nothing like a disarming smile. Smiling genuinely at your partner helps them relax and feel the same positivity that your smile conveys. But beware; people are surprisingly good at detecting fake smiles, which can indicate deception or dislike for the other person.
When you smile, show some teeth, which looks more trustworthy than a closed smile. Let your smile fade slowly. Dropping a smile too quickly can look fake.
4. Mind Your Hands
Many people don’t know what to do with their hands while talking and it’s obvious. Twirling your thumbs, messing with hair or clothing, and excessive hand movements indicate nervousness. You’ll also want to avoid keeping your hands in your pockets. There’s a reason “keep your hands where I can see them” is a police officer’s tagline. People feel more relaxed when they can see your hands.
Don’t underestimate the power of a firm handshake. Shake the other party’s hand confidently and make eye contact at the same time.
5. Be a Mirror
Being a mirror means showing empathy, not copying everything the other person does.
Reflect the same emotions they express to show you’re listening and you care. You can also give nonverbal cues like nodding and smiling as you listen. And if a serious topic comes up, it’s only natural to mirror their distress in your expression.
Most of us perform this body language naturally. But when you’re tired or nervous, knowing these body language secrets can be just what you need to build trust.