Communication isn’t just verbal. During conversation, you may be saying very few words but giving off dozens of non-verbal cues and hints. These cues are just as important as your words, however, and may be crucial to your interactions and success at work. Even though you are meeting deadlines and are dedicated to your job, it may be your actions that are separating you from your next promotion. Below are some of the most common body language mistakes that you could be making without even noticing that you make them:
One of the most distracting body language mistakes made in the workplace, fidgeting may be anything from playing with your pen, twirling your hair, or tapping your feet. These habits can make your colleagues think that you aren’t completely tuned into the conversation, and they can distract others that are. Instead, try to channel your energy into making eye-contact, keeping your hands visible, and sitting up straight to better engage in conversation.
Slouching at your desk is easy after long hours at work, but it can also convey that you aren’t as put-together as you’d like to be. Even worse, it might make you seem negative or bored at work, telling your colleagues and bosses that you aren’t excited to be there. If you find yourself slouching often, use your desk chair to your advantage by sitting as far back as possible and using the back rest as support. This will align you with your chair and keep you from exhibiting bad posture.
Crossing Your Arms
Even if crossing your arms has nothing to do with the person you’re speaking to, it might make them feel that you are being closed off in the conversation. Separating yourself in this way can convey that you aren’t engaged or aren’t friendly, which will make your colleagues feel less comfortable when talking to you. To avoid this, try to keep your hands by your side and orient your body towards the person you’re talking with to show openness and engagement.
Lack of Eye Contact
Not making eye contact with others at work tells them that you’re too busy to converse with them or are not interested in talking. Additionally, looking at the floor or tilting your face downward can show that you are insecure. If it is your phone that keeps you from making eye contact, put it away. Instead, try to smile and look people in their eyes when passing them in the halls or holding conversation.
Being Overly Casual
In today’s world, businesses are becoming more casual and adopting modern values that encourage comfort and happiness. With this, comes more casual dress and attitudes at work. However, people often take this a little too far and end up walking down the office halls like they’re in their own homes. Remember to carry yourself with confidence and poise around the office.
If you’re unsure of other body language mistakes you may be making, ask peers for feedback. Another helpful tactic is to identify someone you admire at work and take note of their habits. Above all else, be aware of how you are presenting yourself in the workplace, as this can be vital in your success.