Our bodies have a language of their own, and their words aren’t always kind!
Your body language has likely become an integral part of who you are, to the point where you might not even think about it. Bodies act on their own, and give outward signals of what it desires. It happens with most of us, unless you are an expert on controlling your body language.
If you are not, it’s time to start, because you could be sabotaging your career, because unspoken signals have strong powers of communication and they monitor the body language accordingly.
Here are some usual body language goof ups that people make in office, and emotionally intelligent people are careful enough to avoid:
Slouching (A Serious Sign of Disrespect)
If you continuously slouch while in a meeting or sitting in front of your boss, It communicates that you’re bored and have no desire to be where you are. You would never tell your boss, “I don’t understand why I have to listen to you,” but if you slouch, you don’t have to say that —your body says it for you, loud and clear.
The brain is hardwired to equate power with the amount of space you take up. Standing or sitting up straight with your shoulders back is a power position. It maximizes the amount of space you fill. Slouching, on the other hand, is the result of collapsing your form—it takes up less space and projects less power.
Maintaining good posture commands respect and promotes engagement from both ends of the conversation.
Exaggerated Hand and Body Gestures
A lot of quick hand movements can imply that you’re stretching the truth. Aim for small, controlled gestures to indicate leadership and confidence, and open gestures, like spreading your arms apart or showing the palms of your hands, to communicate that you have nothing to hide. Exaggerated nodding signals anxiety about approval. People may perceive your heavy nods as an attempt to show you agree with or understand something that you actually don’t.
Continually Watching the Clock
If you keep staring the clock or your wrist watch while talking to someone, it is a clear sign of disrespect, impatience, and inflated ego. It sends the message that you have better things to do than talk to the person you’re with, and that you’re anxious to leave them.
Leaning or Looking Away From the Person
Turning yourself away from others, or not leaning into your conversation, portrays that you are disengaged, uninterested, uncomfortable, and perhaps even distrustful of the person speaking. Try leaning in towards the person who is speaking and tilt your head slightly as you listen to them speak. This shows the person speaking that they have your complete focus and attention. Avoiding eye contact also makes it look like you have something to hide, and that arouses suspicion. Lack of eye contact can also indicate a lack of confidence and interest, which you never want to communicate in a business setting. Try to make a pleasant and constant eye contact.
Crossed Arms And Crossed Legs
Crossed limbs in front of your body are the physical barriers that suggest you’re not open to what the other person is saying. Even if you’re smiling or engaged in a pleasant conversation, the other person may get a nagging sense that you’re shutting him or her out, or you are trying to hide something. Even if folding your arms feels comfortable, resist the urge to do so if you want people to see you as open-minded and interested in what they have to say.
Disapproving Facial Expressions
Inconsistency between your words and your facial expression causes people to sense that something isn’t right and they begin to suspect that you’re trying to deceive them, even if they don’t know exactly why or how. For example, a nervous smile while rejecting an offer during a negotiation won’t help you get what you want; it will just make the other person feel uneasy about working with you because they’ll assume that you’re up to something.
Some other very common body language signals that you need to control in office:
Fidgeting with or fixing your hair: It conveys that you’re anxious, over-energized, self-conscious, distracted and overly concerned with your physical appearance instead of job at hand.
Constantly looking down as you talk: Clear signs of lack of confidence or being self-conscious, causing your words to lose their effect. It’s especially important to keep your eyes level if you’re making complicated or important points.
Intense Stare: Eye contact that’s too intense may be perceived as aggressive, or an attempt to dominate.
Rolling the eyes: A fail-proof way to communicate a lack of respect.
Scowling or having a generally unhappy expression: It sends the message that you’re upset by those around you, even if they have nothing to do with your mood.
Weak or overtly strong handshakes: A weak handshake signal that you lack authority and confidence, while a handshake that is too strong could be perceived as an aggressive attempt at domination, which is just as bad. Adapt your handshake to each person and situation, but make sure it’s always firm.
Standing too close to someone: It signals that you have no respect for or understanding of personal space. This will make people very uncomfortable when they’re around you.
The Crux of The Matter
Smiling is one constructive body sign that suggests that you’re open, trustworthy, confident, and friendly. Studies have shown that the human brain responds favorably to a person who’s smiling, and this leaves a lasting positive impression.
Well, avoiding these body language blunders will help you form stronger relationships, both professionally and personally.
If you can think of any other such body language blunders, please do share with