Did you know that the brain picks up nonverbal cues in a fifth of a second? It’s true—the power of body language is real and crazy fast— a whole lot faster than verbal ones. Every little thing you’re doing with your eyes, hands and body are creating unconscious signals that could be sending the wrong message and that you’re completely unaware of.
Avoid These 7 Body Language Mistakes
If you slouch down in your seat it communicates that you’re bored, lacking energy and could be a flat-out sign of disrespect. Maintaining good posture shows that you’re engaged and commands respect. So, sit up straight and don’t slump down, unless you’re wanting to show that you’d rather be anywhere else than where you are.
If you want to signal that you’re engaged and care about the conversation you’re in, lean in and sit up straight. Don’t lean back in your chair.
Crossing Your Arms
Crossing your arms shows that you’re not open to what the other person is saying or that you’re on the defensive. Always keep your hands in view when you’re talking to look honest and credible. Crossing your arms creates a kind of physical barrier between you and the person you’re speaking with.
A Weak Handshake
A weak handshake will send that message that you’re, well, weak. It signals that you lack authority and can leave a bad impression. Believe it or not, there is an art to handshaking and Psychology Today explains how to do it correctly.
Not Making Eye Contact
Not looking someone in the eye is one of the most common body language mistakes out there, yet so many continue to make it! Avoiding eye contact can convey dishonesty, lack of confidence, strength or may indicate that you feel bored or flat out just don’t care what the other person is trying to communicate. Keep in mind that there is such a thing as too much eye contact. If you stare people down too long it can make people feel uncomfortable and can be a sign of aggression.
Smiling not only shows that you’re an open, pleasant person, but your smile can set off mirror neurons in the listener, triggering them to smile back.
We’re all guilty of fidgeting, but be careful—it can signal that you’re disinterested or anxious. Typically, people fidget when they’re bored or uncomfortable and that’s definitely the signal you’ll send if you’re playing with your hair or bouncing your leg constantly. Also be extra wary of touching your face—turns out touching your face can make you look dishonest or is interpreted as a sign of resistance.
How you carry yourself is just as important as what you say. Avoid these common body language mistakes to make sure you’re not hurting or hindering yourself professionally.
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References: https://www.inc.com/travis-bradberry/15-body-language-secrets-of-successful-people.html, http://www.businessinsider.com/21-common-body-language-mistakes-even-smart-people-make-2016-4, http://www.businessinsider.com/common-body-language-mistakes-employees-make-2014-4, https://squareup.com/townsquare/7-body-language-mistakes-to-avoid-at-work,