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When at work or attending interviews, we always think carefully and consciously about what we are saying. However, what many people don’t realise is that the majority of our daily communication is actually non-verbal. In fact in many instances, your sub-conscious body language is doing much of the talking, making an impression on others and betraying what you’re really thinking and feeling. As such, it might be worth considering what your body language is saying about you and what should be avoided when conducting yourself professionally.
Below are 10 key body language mistakes:
1. Avoiding eye contact
Avoiding eye contact with someone can suggest a number of things about you, all of which are negative in a working/interview situation. It may suggest that you are being deceptive, showing a lack of respect, or lacking in confidence.
Your posture sends signals to others and bad posture equals bad signals. Slouching can suggest that you lack confidence, have poor self-esteem and also indicates low energy levels.
3. Crossed arms
Such guarded body language creates a barrier between yourself and others, perhaps signalling that you are disinterested in what they are saying or that you disagree.
4. Looking down
In daily interactions looking down makes you appear uncomfortable or self-conscious. It is particularly important to avoid looking down when making a presentation or putting forward a point/idea, as this simple action can cause your words to lose all their power.
5. Fidgeting and touching
Fidgeting and touching your hair or clothes can indicate that you are feeling uncomfortable or anxious. Hand touching and face touching are also indicators of deception. Not to mention, excessive fidgeting is generally distracting and annoying for the person you are speaking to.
6. Glancing at the clock
Taking a look at your watch or the clock communicates disinterest and arrogance. Looking past the person you are speaking to also has the same effect, so stay engaged.
7. Weak handshake
A particularly important one for making a good impression in business, a handshake that isn’t firm signals a lack of authority. At the other end of the spectrum an overly firm handshake may make you appear aggressive, so it’s important to get the balance right.
8. Leaning away
Angling your body away from the person you are speaking to signals that you are uncomfortable or just disinterested in the subject being discussed.
Frowning can often happen unintentionally and quite obviously suggests that you are unhappy or disagree with what is being said.
10. Space invading
Ensure that you always respect the personal space of your colleagues. Invading their space will make them feel uncomfortable and you appear disrespectful.
For more on how your body language shapes who you are, watch this video.
Be aware of your movements and posture when conducting yourself in the business world. Instead of the common mistakes above, you should ensure that you display engaging body language when talking to others: smiling, nodding and physical mirroring. Keep your body language open, in order to improve your communication with others.