Wednesday Workshop – 6 Ways to Use Body Language to Build Trust
Hello and welcome to Wednesday Workshop. We have all heard that it’s not necessarily what you say; it’s how you convey your message. And more important—it’s all about your body language. These nonverbal cues will help people see you as more trustworthy.
Here are a couple ways to build trust using your body language:
- Put your phone down
Maintaining eye contact when someone is talking will help build trust because it shows genuine interest, but that’s hard to do if you keep glancing at your phone or scanning around the room. “Listen with your eyes,” says Paul Zak. “It says, ‘I don’t want to look at emails—you’re important.”
- Come down to their level
Standing or sitting in a higher chair than other people indicates dominance over them—which is great if you want to seem more powerful, but not so good if you’re trying to build trust, says Dr. Chamberlin-Quinlisk says.
- Uncross your arms and legs
Crossing your arms towards a persons’ face indicates that you are closed off. You might only be crossing your arms and legs, say, because you’re cold, but that stance is a defense mechanism. It blocks any basis for building trust. Make sure your body looks welcoming—you’ll look more open to hearing others’ thoughts.
- Touch (appropriately)
Lightly touching a friend on the hand can indicate your support for that person. A touch on the elbow or shoulder communicates more empathy than saying, “Oh I’m sorry.’”
- Just smile and nod
Nodding and smiling while someone is talking shows you’re listening, which indicates you’re interested in what the person is saying. “It’s a really good indicator of listening when we give good nonverbal feedback,” Dr. Chamberlin-Quinlisk says. Just don’t be too cheesy—overdoing the positive reaction will make you seem less genuine.
- Keep your palms open
Pointing your fingers looks like an accusation, and pounding your fist makes you seem angry, even if you’re just using those gestures for emphasis. If you open your fingers, people will be more open to you.