The Blog

Top Ten Tips on How to Stand Out in Business... For All the Right Reasons

1. Ever wondered how great actors have such amazing presence, like Anthony Hopkins and Judi Dench? It starts with your posture. Most people stand off-centre, with their weight on one foot, so they look like a push-over. Anything you say when you stand like this will appear weak. Gravity is pulling you sideways, instead of downwards, so you lose your gravitas. If you have something important to say get your body centred.

2. Do people ever forget what you say, or switch off when you talk? If you make distracting movements people lose focus. The main danger area is your legs. Many people sway, pace or bob up and down to comfort their nerves. This takes attention away from your message. When youmove do it with purpose, not to comfort yourself.

3. Want to have people in the palm of your hand? Your gestures are very powerful, if you know how to use them. They work exactly the same as handshakes. If you gesture palms down it comes across as powerful and dominant (just like those handshakes). This is great if you want to say, "My decision is final." Do it palms down and people will actually believe you, instead of arguing with you any further.

4. 'Palms up' is great if you want to show that you are open to people's ideas. In a negotiation this is a great one to look out for. Anyone who says, "That's my best offer" with palms up is probably still open to negotiation. Only when they use a 'palms down' gesture should you close the deal. I've used this for haggling in Morocco, Egypt, Mexico & India - it works all over the world and can save you a fortune when buying souvenirs!

5. Do you want to give your words more impact? Congruency is the key. If you say you "feel passionately about your product" you have to physically show this for people to believe you. If your body language shows nerves, people will believe you are nervous about your product, instead of confident. How can you fix this? Well...

6. Get rid of tension. Everyone feels anxious or stressed at work sometimes. This creates tension in your body, preventing you from having natural presence and charisma. The easiest way to overcome this is to clench any tense areas for a few seconds, then relax them. This is great before an important meeting, to help you look calm and in control.

7. Have you ever heard the advice "take a deep breath to feel calm"? It's nonsense. If you feel stressed and take a deep breath you'll look like a balloon that's ready to burst! Instead focus on breathing out (not in). Try it now. Push all the air out of your lungs, then relax. What happens? Your body naturally breathes in much more calmly. Simple.

8. Smiling is very powerful, but beware - if you're always smiling people will think you're on medication! If you make a natural smile at the beginning and end of a meeting you give people a great first and lasting impression. This is far more powerful than most types of body language, because it is inborn. Even a blind baby will smile when it is happy, it's not a learned response - we are born with it.

9. The John Wayne Effect - If you want something to really stand out then pause before you say it. This gives people time to think about what you're saying. John Wayne was asked how he delivered powerful lines. "Simple, I just count to 2... then I say it. That way everyone is thinking "what's he going to say?"

10. And finally, remember one thing - words are facts, nothing more. How people respond depends on your body language and tone of voice. You can make "3%" sound huge or tiny. 3% has no inherent meaning. Is it big, small, bad or good? Nobody knows, until you tell them and show them. Like they say, "People will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you make them feel!" How you make them feel is all about your body talk.

For more information, please see