Whether in business or personal relations, there's one thing we all need in order to get along and be successful: trust. We all strive to have people trust us, but the truth is that trust can be hard to build. Luckily, there are steps you can take to instantly appear more trustworthy. Here's how you can earn people's trust with five body language secrets.
1. The Eyes Have It
The first thing you want to remember when building trust is keeping eye contact. Eye contact is one of those things we subconsciously take note of every time we meet a person. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who was constantly shuffling around and looking in a different direction? Sporadic eye contact communicates lack of interest, distraction, and even dishonesty. Whenever you're speaking, be sure to keep good, steady eye contact.
2. Stand Tall
One question you should ask yourself if you're working toward any sort of leadership position: How are you holding your shoulders? The language of your posture carries more weight than you might assume. A stooped position and sagging shoulders communicates either a lack of confidence or of effort. If you want others to see you as confident and able, stand tall and keep your shoulders back.
3. Open Arms
When it comes to your arms, remember to keep an open posture. Holding your arms stiff or keeping them clasped behind your back will come off as pretentious, while keeping them crossed over your chest may be threatening. If you must cross your arms, keep your posture loose and open. This will make you look more inviting, and give people more reason to trust you.
4. Give Yourself a Hand
Often, people just don't know what to do with their hands. Nail-biting, thumb-twiddling, and finger-fidgeting are all outward signs of nervousness and anxiety. Avoid that. Keeping your hands in front of you, gesturing, and holding your hands in a comfortable, casual way is best. Another thing to keep in mind is your handshake. Your handshake should be firm but not crushing, and be sure to look the other person in the eye; a second of eye contact and a smile along with your handshake will do wonders for building trust.
5. I'll Be Your Mirror
Probably the single best way to build trust is to let other people know you understand them. When listening to another person, practice 'mirroring' his or her emotions: Nod to show interest; smile when the person talks about good news and frown when it's bad news. Make sure you are empathetic and engaged when listening to anyone; besides learning something from him or her and showing respect, you'll be demonstrating that you're both a genuine person and worthy of trust.