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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 non-verbal. In fact, in many instances, your subconscious 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’s definitely worth considering what your body language is saying about you and what should be avoided when conducting yourself professionally. Read on to discover 10 key body language mistakes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 make sure you stay engaged.
This is a particularly important one for making a good first 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.
Angling your body away from the person you are speaking to signals that you are uncomfortable or 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.
Ensure that you always respect the personal space of your colleagues and business connections. Invading their space will make them feel uncomfortable and you will appear disrespectful.
For more on how your body language shapes who you are, we recommend watching this video.
It’s important to 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. If you keep your body language open, you will improve your communication and relationships with others.