There are times when your body and your mouth are not actually saying the same thing. Even though you are not always conscious about the way you conduct yourself, please take note of these commonly made mistakes. Being more aware about your body language will make you an even better conversation partner.
We like to share the 10 most common body language mistakes.
The 10 mistakes
- Don’t slouch, sit or stand up straight. Slouching is a sign of disrespect. It communicates that you’re bored and have no desire to be where you are. Standing up straight with your shoulders back is a power position. It maximises the amount of space you fill.
- Exaggerated gestures can imply that you’re not exactly telling the truth. Aim for small, controlled gestures to indicate leadership and confidence. Use a lot of open gestures, like spreading your arms apart or showing the palms of your hands. This communicates that you have nothing to hide.
- Checking the time or, even worse reading your messages on your phone, while talking to someone 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.
- Crossed arms are physical barriers that suggest you’re not open to what the other person is saying. 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Fidgeting with or fixing your hair signals that you’re anxious, over-energized, self-conscious, and distracted. People will perceive you as overly concerned with your physical appearance and not concerned enough with your career.
- Avoiding eye contact 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. Looking down as you talk makes it seem like you lack confidence or are self-conscious. It’s especially important to keep your eyes level if you’re making complicated or important points. Sustained eye contact, on the other hand, communicates confidence, leadership, strength, and intelligence. Eye contact that’s too intense may be perceived as aggressive, or an attempt to dominate.
- Weak handshakes 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.
- Getting too close. If you stand too close to someone (nearer than one and a half feet), it signals that you have no respect for or understanding of personal space. This will make people very uncomfortable when they’re around you.
Want to learn 5 more mistakes? Check out the Huffington Post.
If you’re looking to improve your body language, join our Morning Meeting on June 8th at Spaces. Our guest, Jobtraining, will help you realise your areas of improvement, and teach you how to read and take control of a situation. Sign up here!