Mind Your Body Language: 9 Tips For The Workplace

By

Hyma Pillay

22-07-2014

3 min read

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hyma.pillay@leaderonomics.com

It is fairly easy to spot the newbies from the big shots in a company. Even without speaking to them, you can tell just by looking at their body  language.

Our body language plays a very important role in how people perceive us.  It is also a very useful communication tool. Here are a few tips on how to  make the best out of any situation.

 1. Smile

You walk into your client’s room, all equipped with your sales pitch  presentation on your computer, but suddenly, technology fails you. Your  computer buffers and your presentation is interrupted.

Put on a smile and tell your clients to give you a few minutes while  waiting for the computer to get back on track.

Your smile shows that you are confident of your pitch, that this slight technical error is not going to stop you from making this sale. It conveys confidence and positivity, and can reassure others you know what you are doing.

2. Don’t slouch

Whether you are in the midst of a really long and dull seminar or meeting, or your chair is extremely comfortable, do not slouch when you’re working. Always maintain a straight back posture.

Sitting up straight projects confidence and seriousness. It indicates that you are focused. Slouching on the other hand, projects laziness.

To some of us, this doesn’t come naturally, so mentally take note of your sitting postures. If you find yourself slowly sliding into slouch mode, immediately straighten your posture. Keep doing this and soon it will come naturally.

3. Stop fidgeting

This is something most of us do subconsciously. Fidgeting and twirling one’s hair reveal an excess of energy, which signals discomfort or anxiety. That isn’t exactly what you want people to think when you’re making a presentation or chairing a meeting.

You can practise keeping your hands to your side, avoid touching your clothes, hair, or ears. Ideally, your hand should only touch the other hand, or point at something, for instance, your visual presentation.

4. Nod in agreement

You want people to know that you are listening. Avoid checking your text messages and e-mails while you’re in a meeting or discussion.

Look up straight to the person who is speaking and nod every once in a while to indicate that you agree with his or her points.

This shows that you are supportive, and it is something your co-workers would highly appreciate.

5. Firm handshake

In the workplace, physical touch is established through handshakes. Handshakes reveal a lot about a person’s personality.

Weak handshakes signals lack of authority and confidence. A handshake that too firm, on the other hand can make you seem aggressive or over confident. When giving a handshake, grab the other person’s hand firmly and confidently. Don’t linger on the handshake too long.

6. Keep your head up

Lowering your head and looking down while walking shows that you may be uncomfortable with making eye contact and do not want to engage in any conversation.

Practise walking with your head up, and keep your eyes forward. Don’t be afraid to look and smile at others when they pass you by. This will make you seem friendly and approachable, and it’s a great look, especially for networking events and conferences.

7. Make eye contact

Making eye contact is important. Eye contact increases the effectiveness of communication. It shows that you are focused on the conversation, and helps to build rapport.

Making good eye contact also helps build positive relationships between co workers, customers, and clients. People will naturally feel more comfortable with you.

8. Walk confidently

Pay attention to the way you walk. You don’t want to be seen scurrying or sneaking around the room. A confident stride tells people that you are sure of yourself, and shows authority.

Take large steps, and make sure you keep a straight posture, with your shoulders back and as mentioned above, keep your head up and eyes forward.

9. Stand tall

The way you stand also gives out a lot about yourself. Avoid standing with your legs too close to each other, this will make you seem a little rigid and tense.

Take up some space when you stand. Relax your knees and shift your weight to your lower body. When you stand straight and tall, you will appear more powerful in the room. Your body language can have a big impact on your professional life and can ultimately make or break deals as well as business relationships.

You can perfect your body language at work by practising and always keeping a mental eye on yourself, keeping your postures and actions in check.

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