The Miniguide for correct body language in the workplace
Find out some body language mistakes that can cost you the job and improve your #CEOattitude with some tips about non-verbal communication in the workplace.
We have all witnessed the attraction of someone when they enter the room. Why does it happen? It’s a matter of charisma. Or, in other words, a matter of body language. Especially in the workplace, non-verbal communication is a huge deal and it has enormous consequences on the image we project on others. Facial expressions, gestures, posture and small interjections can have serious consequences for your career as a leader. Here is a short list that will be incredibly useful for you to start being aware of what kind of information you’re transmitting to your peers and managers. Remember that the brain learns by repetition, so pay attention to your body language in the workplace, improve it and reap a #CEOattitude.
Posture, gestures and interjections are everything when we talk about body language at work:
- If you work in an office, spending a lot of time sitting and in front of the computer can be exhausting. As a consequence, you may adopt a relaxed posture, something that can be perceived as unproductive and even, impolite. Yes, it might be more comfortable but let’s be honest: at work you can’t sit down as if you were on the couch at home. Whenever you notice that you start to bend your back, sit up straight and hold it to the back of the chair. This will help you maintain an upright posture and avoid discomfort in the spine.
- Fidgeting excessively can suggest nervousness, impatience and a lack of attention and it can be rather frustrating for anyone who is observing you. So, avoid small repetitive movements with a pen between the fingers, the tapping of fingers on the table or the quick movement of your feet on the floor. Whenever you perceive a certain impatience in you, get up, breathe and take a break for a couple of minutes. Your colleagues will appreciate it! If you are in a meeting, try to sit with your legs slightly apart, the soles of your feet flat on the floor, your arms (and pen) on the table and the palms of your hands visible. This will show that you are prepared to receive and take in all the necessary information.
- Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work or the difficulty of it can lead to constant sighs or interjections like “uff” or “pfff”. Avoid this as they can be perceived in a very negative way. And, let’s face it, nobody wants to work with someone who is constantly negative or angry. Imagine that your co-worker wants to ask you something, do you think they will do it if they think you’re in a bad mood? Therefore, controlling this type of non-verbal communication at work is crucial to increase job performance.
- If you work in front of a computer screen, it’s normal that you keep a facial expression of concentration. But this can also be perceived as an attitude of “anger” or “bad mood”. Some experts recommend that, if someone comes to talk to you in those moments when you are very focused, change your expression to a smile, maintain eye contact and keep your hands visible. It’s a sign of openness and approachability.
- In those situations where you have to stand, try not to have your arms crossed or in your pocket. Instead, keep your hands on your hips. This point might be seen as a given, but it’s easy to forget and cross your arms because it’s more comfortable. But, as you see, when it comes to non-verbal communication at work, being receptive is always key.
- It’s also important to keep in mind that appearances, especially in the workplace, are everything. That’s why dress code at work is also an essential part of non-verbal communication. In this case, try to find a style that suits your personality and is comfortable, but also consistent with the image of the company you work for. Although the environment might be casual, dressing “too casual” might not be well perceived by most companies.
- Finally, remember that winning body language is not so much about communicating power, but inspiring leadership. Smile whenever you can. A smile is always synonymous with kindness, humility, confidence and closeness, some of the key attitudes for today’s leading figures.
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