Gwen Stefani is one of the most recognized performers of my generation. Her music, stunning looks and cool personal branding made her an icon.
She’s also an impressive entrepreneur. Her L.A.M.B. fashion line venture has an excess of $100 million a year in revenue.
But everyone starts somewhere.
Prior to her success, Gwen Stefani cleaned floors and served gallons and gallons of soft-serve while working at a Dairy Queen.
While still working there, her brother invited her to provide vocals for a ska band he was forming, No Doubt. It wasn’t until their 3rd album that they hit it big.
Five singles were released from Tragic Kingdom.
During the tour for this album, she became very aware of the power of stage presence.
More recently, during an episode of The Voice, she explained how important body language is to a performer.
Stefani told one contestant:
Once these chairs turn, it’s not just about your voice anymore. It’s about your stage presence, too.
Stefani has commented on stage presence several times in the last season and, interestingly, makes the comment when a singer has a great voice but lacks pizzazz on stage. In one episode Stefani left her chair and leaped on stage to demonstrate how she engages an audience with her body language.
Gwen Stefani knows that a successful performer must have the total package—voice and presence. The same advice applies to how entrepreneurs and professionals use body language.
The following are some body language mistakes that you should avoid.
Not Making Eye Contact
It always seems unprofessional when you avoid eye contact when dealing with an audience or client. It communicates a lack of confidence, which of course, is something you want to avoid.
To prevent this mistake, make a special effort to sustain eye contact when communicating with potential clients. Also, when they are talking, nod your head and maintain eye contact to show your interest in what is being said.
Be careful with nodding though, because exaggerated nodding can signal anxiety.
Crossing Your Arms
You might not consider crossing your arms a big deal. Perhaps, it’s just a habit you have that you think nothing about.
However, crossing your arms typically communicates a defensive position. It implies you want to keep others away. Therefore, it’s a good idea to avoid crossing your arms when dealing with clients.
Having Bad Posture
Hanging your neck low or dropping your shoulders communicate that you are uninterested in what’s going on.
To show interest, keep your head high and stand or sit straight up at attention when speaking to a client.
Moving Around Too Much
Now, on stage Gwen is EVERYWHERE. She’s putting on a show.
But when it comes down to business, she knows that moving around too much, and having exaggerated gestures can communicate dishonesty.
In other words, it can imply you are stretching the truth.
To avoid communicating this, aim for small, controlled gestures. This indicates confidence, leadership, and honesty.
Attempt open gestures, like showing your palms and spreading your arms apart, as this communicates that you have nothing to hide.
Not Giving People Personal Space
Standing too close to another person, meaning less than 1 ½ feet can signal you don’t respect someone else’s personal space. This, in turn, makes them extremely uncomfortable. Therefore, give people the courtesy of space.
As a marketing professional, you want to communicate interest and confidence towards potential clients.
Consequently, due to what we know about body language, you must be careful about how you communicate via body language.
Avoid the common mistakes listed above and you will be well on your way to success.