We’re always told how important body language is in the workplace. Not only can it land you your dream job at an interview, it can also affect the way you are looked upon by your fellow workers and colleagues. Your slightest movements and gestures can instill faith in other people, while also making you look authoritative and uber confident.
However, get it wrong and it’s a completely different story. Someone with poor non-verbal skills can really give off an impression of low self-esteem and a lack of interest. Your silent cues and gestures can make or break relationships, and may even impact on your success.
So find out what are the most common body language mistakes – before it’s too late.
1. No Eye Contact
Lack of eye contact can often imply some form of deception or dishonesty, as it’s one of the main components when it comes to maintaining good communication, even when not speaking. Looking at someone when you’re speaking to them or listening to what they say exudes confidence and authority – so when you don’t it can have an extremely negative impact.
2. Big Hand Movements
In business, less very often means more, and this is even the case when it comes to your body language and gestures. So use smaller, more subtle hand gestures to demonstrate your point with authority, rather than flailing about wildly and waving your hands in people’s faces, which can demonstrate weakness and a lack of confidence.
3. Weak Handshake
The secret to a great handshake is good palm-on-palm contact. Anything less could make you appear weak and lacking in confidence. You want your greeting to be firm, but ultimately not overbearing. So try and lock thumbs while adding equal amounts of pressure if you are to maintain a confident and positive vibe.
4. Crossing Your Arms
Whether in every-day-life or in the workplace, folding your arms is always looked upon as a defensive barrier to those around you. It can also make you look lazy and generally not bothered, like a fed-up kid in a school classroom. Keep your hands on display at all times when in a meeting or training seminar – otherwise they will wonder what you have to hide.
5. Rolling Your Eyes
There are few habits that say “I don’t care,” or “so what?” more than rolling the eyes, even if it is an unintentional act. It pretty much says to the person you are talking to that you don’t appreciate or respect them or even care about what they are saying. So stick to making constant eye contact and if you do need to look away, make sure you glance to the side rather than down at the floor or up to the skies, as this could be construed as looking flippant.
6. Looking Grumpy
Smiling demonstrates confidence, openness, warmth, and energy. It also sets off the mirror neurons in your listener and more often than not, the person you are talking to will smile back, making them at ease and comfortable in your company. Without a smile, an individual is often seen as cold and guilty of not caring. However, don’t fall into the trap of permanently wearing a fixed grin – as this will just make you appear insincere and fake.
7. Giving Mixed Signals
Remember the old school yard trick of trying to rub your belly while tapping your head? Pretty hard to do, wasn’t it? But it’s actually quite easy to give off one message with your body language while your words are actually saying something completely different. For example: saying, “I totally agree” in a monotone voice, while folding your arms across your chest and rolling your eyes.
Author Bio: Written by journalist, blogger and writer Matthew Crist on behalf of Oxford Management who specialise in training seminars. Matthew writes on a number of subjects for various publications and you can see what he is up to on Twitter @MatthewCrist76