When you’re in a meeting with a customer and they ask you a question, don’t lean back. Instead, lean slightly forward.
I’m always hesitant to get too caught up on saying absolutes regarding body language, as I’ve found that for every absolute, there is always an exception. However, there are some basics that for some reason always get lost. No matter what your body language, you have to ensure the other party feels you’re engaged with them and in control of what you’re saying.
It might be very comfortable while seated to lean back in the chair just before you speak. Even so, it’s not a good idea. It gives the impression you’re not confident with what you’re going to say or you are slightly aloof in how you feel. Anytime you are about to speak, lean forward slightly and give a slight hand motion. These two actions convey confidence and control, and they will help to bring your audience into what you’re about to say.
You can even take this one step further by beginning what you say with a softer voice. This in turn will draw the audience even closer to you in terms of having to pay 100% attention to what you’re saying. These simple actions can and will allow you to control the meeting in ways you didn’t think possible. Watch leaders — they do this and do it in such a subtle manner you don’t even notice.
Remember — your actions speak far louder than your words. Therefore, make sure that your actions are working in sync with what you’re saying.