Our bodies have a language of their own, and their words aren’t always kind. People are constantly throwing off a storm of signals. These signals are mostly non-verbal messages communicated through the sender’s body movements, facial expressions, voice tone and loudness.
Your body language has likely become an integral part of who you are, to the point where you might not even think about it. If that’s the case, it’s time to start, because you could be sabotaging your career, friendships and relationships.
Patryk & Kasia Wezowski talk about body language and micro expressions. It’s so interesting how facial expressions can have such an impact in communication Watch this TED talk!
Here are my 5 top body language no no’s and what you should do to improve them.
1. Crossed arms – (and crossed legs, to some degree) are physical barriers that suggest you’re not open to what the other person is saying. Even if you’re smiling or engaged in a pleasant conversation, the other person may get a nagging sense that you’re shutting him or her out.
What to do? Even if folding your arms feels comfortable, resist the urge to do so if you want people to see you as open-minded and interested in what they have to say.
2. Slouching – Slouching is a sign of disrespect. It communicates that you’re bored and have no desire to be where you are.
What to do? Maintaining good posture commands respect and promotes engagement from both ends of the conversation. The brain is hardwired to equate power with the amount of space people take up. Standing up straight with your shoulders back is a power position. It maximizes the amount of space you fill. Slouching, on the other hand, is the result of collapsing your form—it takes up less space and projects less power.
3. Watching the clock (watches, iphone and computers fall into this bracket too) watching the clock or any form technology while talking to someone is a clear sign of disrespect, impatience, and inflated ego. It sends the message that you have better things to do than talk to the person you’re with, and that you’re anxious to leave them.
What to do? Refrain from looking at your watch on your wrist. Put your phone or ipad away and turn it off – think out of sight out of mind. If you’re using a computer be aware of people around you, when people are talking you should be looking at them.
5. Getting too close. If you stand too close to someone (nearer than one and a half feet), it signals that you have no respect for or understanding of personal space. This will make people very uncomfortable when they’re around you.