Poor body language gives a bad impression to others and can easily lead to misunderstandings. To encourage a better work environment and happier employees, pay attention to your body language. Here is a list of the five worst body language mistakes you could make at work and how to fix them:
#1 Keeping Your Cell Phone in Sight
A common body language mistake people unknowingly make is keeping their cell phones in sight during meetings. Even just leaving it on the table in front of you or solely using it to check the time sends a bad message to others. It subconsciously makes them think they’re not important to you and that you’re more interested in the cell phone. They will think that if it buzzes or gives some other notification, you will check it rather than focusing on the meeting at hand. Therefore, you should always keep your cell phone out of sight during meetings. Use a watch or the clock to check the time.
#2 Never Smiling
People feel more at ease when you smile during communication. You don’t have to smile the entire time; in fact, smiling the whole time would most likely make someone feel extremely uncomfortable. Just allow yourself to smile if the other person smiles. Or smile at another appropriate time, such as when the person makes a joke. You don’t have to give a big toothy grin either. A slight upward curve of the lips is fine too as long as it looks genuine. When you’re talking on the phone with someone, don’t forget to smile. Although they can’t see you, your body language transfers to your voice. If you never smile during a phone conversation, it’s likely the other person will feel that as it usually causes your voice to be more monotone.
#3 Contradicting Your Words with Inappropriate Body Language
Your body language should match your words. For example, if you’re praising someone for doing a good job, don’t sound monotone about it or have a scowl on your face. Your body language should indicate that you’re happy with their work, so keep your arms uncrossed, smile, and let your voice be more enthusiastic. People usually believe your body language over your words, so even if you’re not intending to send the wrong message, others will subconsciously receive it that way.
#4 Failing to Mirror the Person You’re Talking To
Another body language mistake people make is failing to mirror the person they’re talking to. Throughout the conversation, you should match the other’s body language, so that he feels like you understand him. Aspects of the other person to mirror are tone of voice, posture, tempo, and movements. For example, if someone is talking excitedly about a new project, match that excitement with a higher tone of voice, faster speech, and more movements depending on how the individual is expressing his excitement. You don’t want to remain monotone and calm or else it makes it look like you don’t care.
#5 Lack of Facial Expressions
If your face is blank all the time, people will think that you’re not interested in what they’re saying. Some body language tips for showing interest include raising your eyebrows, leaning forward, and nodding your head. It’s also important to make eye contact during conversation. When you need to glance away, look either left or right. Don’t look down because it signifies a lack of confidence.
Changing your body language can make a positive difference in the workplace. A small smile at the right moment and a nod of the head sometimes makes the difference in making someone feel like you’re interested in what they’re saying. Avoid the above body language mistakes at work and employees will be happier and more productive.
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