Body Language Mistakes

8 workplace body language mistakes

01/04/2015BY: Tracey Mesken

​Posture, physical behaviours and facial expressions can reveal more about you than words.  It often determines how people perceive you.  Body language mistakes can not only damage your relationship with others but also your self-esteem. How you present yourself physically can literally make or break your career.

When at work, take care to avoid the following body language mistakes:

1. Bad Posture
Slouching signals that you don’t care a great deal about yourself or your work, and are lacking in confidence, self-esteem and energy.    Leaning back can be interpreted as lazy or arrogant.  It can also indicate to others that you are either disinterested or not taking your role seriously.

2. Eye rolling
Eye rolling is a sign of contempt, frustration, aggression and disagreement.  It signals to your listener that you don’t respect or appreciate them or what they are saying.  Many of us roll our eyes out of habit without consciously realising the strong negative signal we are sending.  No matter how sincere every word you say may sound, it will be instantly defeated with the smallest eye roll.

3. Arm crossing
Be aware of what you are doing with your arms.  If you have them crossed it creates a sense of being closed off and can also signal that you are disinterested or not buying into what the other person is saying.

4. Fidgeting
Fidgeting with your hands, phone or hair can demonstrate weakness and a lack of confidence.  The nervous energy you are emitting will also be distracting to whoever you are engaging with making it difficult for them to focus on what you are saying.

5. Clock watching
Whether you are looking at a clock on the wall or checking the time on your watch, this says to the other person that there is something more important to you then what they are saying.  Clockwatching can also make the other person feel rushed and uncomfortable.

6. Your phone
If you are looking at your phone when someone is talking to you it is a clear signal that you are not interested in what they are saying.  Placing your phone between yourself and the person you are speaking with symbolically indicates that it is more important than they are, and that you would rather be interacting with your phone.

7. No eye contact
Eye contact is one of the most important forms of nonverbal communication.  Holding eye contact while speaking indicates authority, confidence and presence, it also has an impact on your ability to persuade.  Looking down while you talk makes it seem like you lack confidence or are self-conscious, it can also signal deception or a lack of respect.
8. Handshakes
Weak handshakes signal that you lack authority and confidence, while a handshake that is too strong can be perceived as aggressive or an attempt at domination.  Handshakes need to be adapted to each person and situation, always ensuring they are firm.
Avoiding these body language mistakes will help you form stronger relationships in and outside the workplace.  If you find that you have a problem with any of these common body language mistakes practice by yourself with a mirror or with a friend who can point out every time you do it.  Once you are aware of these bad habits they can be a lot easier to correct, ensuring your body is working for you rather than against you!