Body language is an obvious expression of someone’s mood and emotions, which is a large component of the impressions we have on others. Sometimes, body language can be misinterpreted because of mistakes unknown to us. Today, we’ll tell you a few body language mistakes you might be making in your workplace, and how you can fix these mistakes:
Maintaining eye contact is key in making a person feel that you are listening to what they are saying. However, maintaining overly strong eye contact can lead to a feeling of uncomfortableness. By doing this, you may give this person the impression that you are trying to control or intimidate them. Instead, try breaking eye contact every couple of seconds by looking to the side of a person’s head. An important tip when trying to fix this body language mistake is to never look down or make the person feel like they are not seen. This leads to the next mistake, which is avoiding eye contact.
By not making any eye contact at all, this sends a message of a lack of confidence, trustworthiness, or knowledge. People are less likely to become engaged in what you are discussing if you do not make eye contact. By making eye contact while speaking, you are connecting with your audience and expressing that you care about the topic at hand. With this being said, the opinions of your audience may not always agree with your main point, which could lead to possibly the biggest mistake you could make: rolling your eyes.
Rolling of the eyes makes people feel invalidated and like you don’t care or agree with what they said. While it may be true that you don’t agree, make it a point to not use negative connotations towards that person’s opinion in order to maintain professionalism. For example, instead of saying, “That is not a good idea”, you could follow up with, “Maybe a better way would be…”. This leaves your audience member thinking that you agree they had a good idea, but just need some further brainstorming.
2. Hand Gestures
No one wants to be as stiff as a brick when discussing things at the office; however, speaking more with your hands than with your words can cause distraction to your topic. People are much more likely to lose focus on what you are saying when you are speaking with your hands because there is too much bodily movement happening. To better control this, try moving your hands every minute. By using a sufficient amount of hand gestures, you are communicating to your audience that you are confident and knowledgeable in what you are saying.
Majority of the time, posture is the first thing someone notices about you. If you have bad posture and are slouching all the time, this perceives you as being uninterested or tired, and can even be insulting to others. When you are addressing someone or they are addressing you, you should get in the habit of standing up straight with your head held high.
Fidgeting refers to movements such as tapping your feet or finger, twirling your hair, shaking your leg, and clicking a pen. Fidgeting involves things that you do repeated for no reason. These types of actions can portray a sense of anxiety or discomfort pertaining to the situation. If you are nervous about a presentation, speech, etc., be sure to eat a meal beforehand and drink plenty of water. Take a moment to breathe and focus on the task at hand. The greater sense of calmness and relaxation you can achieve the more confident you will come off as.
The Jefferson Chamber hosts many networking events throughout the year where you have an opportunity to practice these body language tips and tricks! Our next networking event is the Business & Breakfast at the New Orleans Marriott Metairie at Lakeway on Friday, August 16. Hope to see you there!