The Power of Body Language

Posted on: June 1st, 2016

Tonya Reiman is the author of The Power of Body Language. She is a media expert and featured body language expert, having shared her body language analysis and knowledge with various newspapers, radio and TV media such as Fox, Fast Money and others.

We grabbed a few pointers from Reiman’s book, How to Succeed in Every Business and Social Encounter, to share with you on how to exhibit body language that will help you be most successful in
the workplace.

Here are a few facts:

  • Research has shown that as much of 93 percent of our interpersonal communication is
  • As much as 38% of all communication comes through vocal cues other than speech.
  • Paralanguage – the pitch, loudness, rate, fluency and all other vocal signals aside from speech – accounts for almost 40% of our delivered message.

Eye Contact

Looking into another’s eyes says that you are confident, trustworthy and know what you are talking about. It also demonstrates that you listen. Studies also show that employers view prospective hires who don’t make eye contact as unattractive, detached, passive, incompetent or lacking composure and social skills.

Tip: Be cautious about making too much eye contact, which can be an indication of lying.


Several studies have found that people are smile are believed to be more warm, honest, polite, kind, sociable, happy and successful.

Tip: Practice your faces in the mirror! What may feel like a relaxed expression, may actually come across as a scowl. Likewise, if you smile too much, you may get stuck with a “perma-grin” expression, which can be less trustworthy.


Gestures can communicate a variety of messages. For example: leaning forward, smiling and head nodding indicates positive feedback, while fold arms, constant eye movement or squinting
communicates negative feedback. Tip: Avoid nervous gestures such as clicking your pen, tapping your foot or fingers, pacing or swaying.


Even how you shake another person’s hand communicates something about your personality and leadership traits (or lack thereof). To correctly shake hands, approach the person, lean slightly forward, look them in the eyes, extend your right hand so that it is parallel to the ground and introduce yourself. Offer full palm and meet theirs entirely. Grip should feel easy and comfortable, exhibit confidence and enthusiasm. Shake 2-3 times, then release.

Tip: Do not give a limp handshake, attempt to show dominance, shake hands with cold or sweaty hands, or act overly affectionate.

With these basic tips, you will nail any job interview or networking encounter, showing that you are confident, but not arrogant; interested, but not creepy; sincere, but not fake.

To learn more about effective communication at Columbus State, Continuing Education.