A substantial amount of communication happens through body language; and if you are getting this pillar of communication wrong, no matter what you say, your message won’t be as effective as it ought to be. So put your best foot forward in all situations, particularly professional ones, and you will feel the difference for yourself.
Avoid these 10 body language mistakes at your workplace and you’ll be halfway through your path to achieving exemplary body communication.
This one is on top of body language blunders. Slouching not only makes you appear dull, uninterested and overly laidback but also harms your spine in the long run. If you slouch at work you are sending off a rather negative vibe about yourself which could, at a micro level, affect how seriously your co-workers would take you. In addition, it also affects how refreshed and engaged you yourself feel at work. Sit up straight in your chair – make a conscious effort to do so and in some time it will become a habit.
Crossed arms signify defensiveness, aloofness and an overall lack of openness to the other person. Whom you are talking to, or listening to, may be put off if you keep your arms crossed for an extended duration during the conversation. Your communication, whether one-way or two-way, is most effective when you give cues of acceptance of what you hear and a keen interest in putting your own points forth – uncrossing your arms will help you achieve this.
We can’t stress enough the importance of looking straight into the eyes of people you talk to. It makes you appear confident, interested and trustable. If you don’t make enough eye contact you silent signal to the other person that you are either uninterested in talking or are not being completely honest. So avoid looking like a liar when you are not by making soft yet firm eye contact during conversations at work.
A weak handshake or an overly aggressive one is a bad, bad body language cue at work or any social situations for that matter. The former makes you look unsure and the latter gives off a vibe of unwanted dominance. The next time you shake hands with a colleague, pay attention to how you do it and change your handshake to a firm and warm one. This will enhance the first impression you leave on people.
This one again shouts defensiveness, discomfort and lack of confidence. At times this may even come across as submissive – the last thing you want to look like at work. Instead of crossing your hands or arms, you should convey a message of openness with open palms.
If you are too tired to stand during a long conversation, suggest taking a seat and talking. Just don’t lean on a wall, chair or desk while talking to people at work. This gesture conveys a lack of alertness and confidence. Many people who do this aren’t even aware of it – so keep a close check on how you are standing while discussing something with a colleague – if leaning happens to be a gesture you often fall into, remind yourself to stop doing it until it becomes a reflex to stand up straight at all times.
It’s always best to keep your hands on the table. Locking them on your lap or under the table is not very powerful body language communication. It sends the message that you may not be the most honest person in the room. On the other hand, if you only followed a simple drill of keeping your hands on the table and your palms open as often as possible, it will help you create an impression of greater trustworthiness.
If you are in conversation with someone and their eyes drift off towards the clock every now and again, the first thing you think of is that they’re probably not interested or are in a haste to leave or both. The unfortunate part is, many a time people do this out of habit and not because they are actually eager to close the conversation as soon as possible. You too might be doing this without knowing. So be aware of these body language blunders and keep your eyes fixed on the person you are talking to instead of letting them drift on to objects.
Sitting or standing obliquely to the person or group you are interacting with is a rather insolent gesture. At best, it makes you come across as disengaged and eager to quit. This is not the vibe you want to give at work. In a professional setting, you are expected to be engaged, attentive, respectful and enterprising. So embrace the traits and embrace the body language that goes along.
While it’s understandable to want a bit of privacy at work particularly if you are an introvert, making yourself excessively aloof is not really a good idea; not all the time at least. It sends the signal of aloofness, lack of trust and even condescension. Try being part of the team through your body language signals by sitting within the group instead of physically isolating yourself from them.
If you had subconsciously been making any of the above body language mistakes start being aware of them and avoid them at all costs in a professional setting. You will come across as more confident, strong and trustworthy person.
Ready to improve your CAREER PROSPECTS?
Gif image credit: GIPHY