Exude Confidence with Body Language

June 6, 2017
Kerry Lengyel

Do you appear confident to the clients who come into your veterinary practice? Your body language tells the tale. Show your clients that you are confident, strong and self-assured before you even say a word.

That first handshake tells your clients more about you than you might think. A limp or weak handshake correlates to shyness, a lack of confidence, introversion, guilt and even general anxiety. Make this first impression count by practicing your handshake; if it’s firm and strong, clients are likely to think of you as strong and self-assured.

2. Eye Contact

Besides a firm handshake, it’s important to maintain eye contact when meeting a client for the first time or greeting a regular client. Looking away when introducing yourself can indicate secrecy, a lack of respect or untrustworthiness. Show your clients that you’re interested in them and are someone who can be trusted by not breaking eye contact.

3. Posture

Assert your confidence by both sitting and standing up straight. Hunching over, slouching and standing with your feet too close together show your clients the opposite of confidence. Poor posture often makes others think you’re uncomfortable, insecure or unrelaxed. By making it a point to keep your back erect and your feet in a wider stance, you’ll exude confidence even if you don’t particularly feel confident in that moment.

4. Mirror Movements

While copying the person you’re speaking with may seem childish and silly, it actually can make people feel more comfortable with you. Be sure not to go overboard with this, but try to mimic small things that your clients do when you’re having a conversation with them. If their arms are folded, fold your arms. If they move to the right, take a small step to the right.

5. Take Up More Space

An easy way to make your presence known in any room is to take up more space — this can really work well during the initial meeting with your client in the exam room. Put your arm on a chair or ledge when speaking to your client in the exam room. Do anything you can to make yourself appear bigger, which will make you appear more confident and powerful.

6. Minimize Fidgeting

It can be hard to stop making small, fidgety movements, but if you can find a way to minimize these movements, your clients will see you in a much more confident light. Do you tap your feet? Instead, wiggle your toes or push down on your heels now and then. Do you move your fingers or play with your hair? Try making small circles with your thumb and index finger instead as a way to distract yourself.

7. Be on the Same Side

When walking into an exam room, it’s important to be on the same side of the room as your client. Position yourself on the same side of the exam table while you treat their pet. Get comfortable being next to your clients, and do your best to make them feel like they’re in the room with you instead of being just a bystander.