Working as an FBI counterintelligence special agent for 25 years, Joe Navarro learned the nuances of nonverbal communication. What a person communicates without uttering a word often leads to success or failure in the business world. For that reason, Navarro wrote a book, “Louder Than Words: Take Your Career from Average to Exceptional with the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence,” which explains the importance of nonverbal communication and how business people can use it to their advantage.

Navarro discusses the importance of what he terms “curbside appeal.” Curbside appeal is a person’s appearance, which includes clothing, hairstyle, and grooming. He notes that conservative attire is most successful, unless you are in a casual environment, in which case neatness still counts. Navarro recommends business people dress in the attire of a warrior for business, and always wear polished shoes.

One of the most appealing gestures Navarro recommends is standing with your head slightly tilted, and your hands clasped, gazing directly at the person. Business people should always avoid touching their neck, which projects insecurity. Generally speaking, steepling the hands projects confidence, while hiding the thumbs shows vulnerability. It is important to blend a proper appearance, gestures, and posture to make a positive first impression.

Lindsay Pollack, an expert on training millennials for workplace success, recommends young workers build credibility by avoiding upspeak, finding their power stance, and making strong eye contact. Upspeak occurs when someone unintentionally ends a statement in the tone of a question. Young people are particularly vulnerable to this affectation, and it makes them sound like they lack confidence.

Feet apart, hands at the side, shoulders back, and head up projects power. Stooped shoulders and slouching shows weakness and disengagement. Whether sitting or standing, Pollack counsels always to maintain a straight back and broadened shoulders, which helps project your voice. Avoid being too tight, however, as that appears robotic.

Eye contact always makes a good impression, while lack of eye contact shows uncertainty or disinterest while diminishing personal connection. Pollack recommends making initial eye contact for 3-5 seconds. Holding eye contact longer can become off-putting. Maintaining eye contact throughout a conversation is also important.

In business, appearance and posture count. Colleagues, bosses, subordinates, and customers use your nonverbal communication cues to form their impressed of you. Make sure to send the right message.