Nonverbal communication Through Clothing
Within the first six seconds of meeting you and shaking your hand for the very first time, John Smith has already formed an opinion of you. Similarly, when you begin delivering a presentation, your audience takes that six seconds to size you up and develop their first impressions. Often, before you even speak your first word, the audience has already made up their minds about you.
Since your nonverbal communication (your face and body signals) are so important to making a first impression, let’s examine them. There are five simple ways to ensure you make a positive first impression: posture, facial expressions, clothing, gestures, and engagement.
Posture indicates confidence or signals nervousness. Posture can be open or closed. Posture conveys feelings and attitudes. If you speak the words, “I’m so excited to be here this morning to speak with you about your company’s business plan, ” but your posture is closed and slouchy, your audience will pay attention to what your nonverbal communication says over what your words say. Studies show that people trust nonverbal communication over verbal communication.
Common closed posture stances include crossing the arms in a bear hug or crossing one arm over the chest and grasping the bicep of the other arm. Your stance should be natural and as open as possible; arms and legs should not be crossed.
Slouching indicates laziness, apathy, and disrespect among other negative attitudes. Never lazily lean on a podium or drape your body across a platform when presenting. Stand up as straight as possible to project confidence, poise, and excitement. DeFinis argues, “The most effective standing position for speakers is one with a straight spine and erect head” (Source). Think about a male peacock displaying his beautiful feathers to attract a mate. His posture is strong and self-confident. Even if you are nervous, you must project feelings of strength and self-confidence to your audience through your posture.