4 Ways to Engage and Motivate Your Team Without Saying a Word

4 Ways to Engage and Motivate Your Team Without Saying a Word

Get Paid to Share Your Expertise

Help shape the future of business through market research studies.

See Research Studies

Being aware of the signals your body sends to your team could be just the thing you have been missing to get them on target.

Your body language can be an effective tool to motivate and encourage your team.

What if I told you that you can motivate your team without saying a word? It is not enough to talk the talk, you need to literally walk the walk when it comes to motivating. It is estimated that up to 55% of language comes from the body. So your team may be more influenced by your body language than by what you are actually saying.

You as a leader must set the standard of positive body language, employees will be internalizing all your actions and will mirror them. To be a successful leader you must embody many attributes, including congeniality and candor. In order to be influential you need to portray confidence and integrity.

So, how can you use your body to be

tter portray these characteristics and ultimately get the best out of your team?

The ‘High Power Pose’

The ‘high power pose’ (think Superman) is where you stand chest out, hands on hips and keep your legs slightly apart – try to take up more space in the room (flowing red cape optional).

No slouching allowed, stand up straight you will look and feel more confident and your team will feel confident in return. Your outward appearance has an effect on your inward condition and body language is contagious. As Amy Cuddy, social psychologist, explained in a TED talk, research has shown that holding the ‘high power pose’ for at least 2 minutes will up your testosterone levels. More testosterone means you will feel more influential and confident. As a bonus it also decreases your cortisol levels – high levels of which can cause health problems such as low energy.

Open Gestures

At meetings keep your palms opened out – it will show that you are approachable and willing to communicate.

Use hand gestures to imagine that you are drawing in and capturing the ideas of your team members – it will keep them engaged. When you are speaking make deliberate movements to stand upright and move in toward your team momentarily – make them feel included but not threatened.

Sitting? Leaning in at the table signifies that you are part of the team and is encouraging. Open gestures portray positivity and are persuasive. Uplifting body language will spur your team on to success. Talk with your hands – research shows this will improve the clarity and fluidity of your speech.


Steady eye-contact conveys interest, respect and that you are open to feedback – it is motivating.

Stay focused on your team members, face them at all times, do not turn your back in meetings or discussions. During one-to-one discussions avoid staring by using the ‘facial triangle’, this is where you rotate your gaze around the person’s eyes and mouth.

Body Language to Avoid

Eye-rolling, sighing, head shaking, fidgeting all make it hard for your team to present their ideas, stifles creativity, and mutes dialogue. Avoid crossing arms and legs, this is defensive body language that signifies dissatisfaction and an unwillingness to talk.

Wandering eyes (like checking your phone discreetly in your lap) show a lack of respect for the person speaking and what they have to say. Many forms of body language that are aggressive and disrespectful will deflate your employees. Standing too close or too far away, looming over someone at their desk, pointing, and clenching your fists should all be avoided.

You may not be aware of the body language signals you are sending out.

Ask a trusted colleague to watch you address your team. Studies show non-verbal communication to be at least as important as verbal communication in affecting how people perceive you. How you move and hold your body effects you on a biochemical level – hold your head up high and you will feel stronger, stand up straight and you will project confidence.

Body language plays a crucial part in holding the attention of your team and making them feel valued (a key motivator). Your team will look to you for cues on how to act, so pay attention to how you behave and reap the rewards of a happier and more productive team.

Tatiana Compton
About the Author
Tatiana Compton

Tatiana Compton is a freelance journalist who has covered accountancy and finance in both the UK and US.

Similar Articles

Show more