When you think about communication in the workplace, what comes to mind? You may think about weekly meetings, emails, or speaking with your coworkers. While these are correct, there’s more to communication than our words.
Positive body language plays a crucial part in workplace communication. It’s an important soft skillbecause it can express your professionalism and drive for success. If you’re not careful, the wrong body language can send a negative message to your boss or coworkers without saying a word.
Unprofessional body language can signal that you’re bored, preoccupied, or even lazy. However, many negative non-verbal cues are an easy fix if you become aware of them. If your success at work is stunting, it may be time to correct these common body language mistakes.
Clicking your pen or playing with your hair is not only unprofessional, it’s distracting those around you. Fidgeting can signal that you’re bored and not paying attention to the task at hand. If you want to get rid of your fidgeting habit, try focusing your energy on looking attentive. Concentrate on keeping your hands free and visible and maintaining eye contact.
2. Too Little (or Too Much) Eye Contact
Weak eye contact can display a sense of insecurity and insincerity, but we’ve been taught at a young age that staring is rude. So, what is the happy medium? When in doubt, use the 50/70 rule that says to maintain eye contact 50% of the time when speaking and 70% when listening. If you’re struggling with maintaining eye contact, practice with yourself in the mirror or with a friend.
3. Bad Posture
It can be easy to slouch in your office chair without noticing, but bad posture makes you appear bored and lethargic. Not to mention slouching can lead to health problems in the future. If you’re having trouble maintaining good posture, take advantage of your desk chair. Sit back as much as possible and use the back rest for support.
4. Disrespecting Personal Space
Especially in the age of COVID-19, it’s important to respect personal space. Standing in someone’s “bubble” can make them feel uncomfortable and impacts your ability to make a good impression. Everyone’s comfort level is different, but a good rule is to keep a four-foot distance to respect your coworkers’ personal space.
5. Checking Your Phone
Glancing at the time or checking a text message a can seem harmless, but it can also come off as rude. It distracts you from your job and indicates your boredom. To avoid this, keep your phone away from the meeting room and out of arm’s reach in your workspace.
Using the right body language is key to your professionalism and confidence. Adjusting these mistakes could lead you to your next opportunity in the workplace!