Did you know your body has a language of its own? Sometimes what it is saying is not what you want others to hear. Your body language has likely become an integral part of whom you are. Usually, you are not even aware of the signals you are sending.
You could be sabotaging your career, relationships or even just friendships-- after all, first impressions are made within the first 5 -10 seconds of meeting someone.
TalentSmart tested more than a million people and found that the upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence (90% of top performers, to be exact). Having high emotional intelligence means those people know the power that unspoken signals have. Let’s look at ways you are communicating. Maybe we can learn to monitor our own body language.
These are the ten most common body language blunders that people make. According to TalentSmart, emotionally intelligent people are careful to avoid these blunders.
- Slouching is a sign of disrespect. It says that you are bored and have no desire to be where you are. You would never tell your boss, “I don’t understand why I have to listen to you,” but if you slouch, you don’t have to; because your body says it for you, loud and clear.
- Exaggerated gestures can imply that you are stretching the truth. Aim for small, controlled gestures to show leadership and confidence, and open gestures
- Watching the clock while talking to someone is a clear sign of disrespect, impatience, and could also signal an inflated ego. It could be sending the message that you have better things to do, or that you’re eager to leave the person speaking to you.
- Turning yourself away from others, or not leaning into your conversation, expresses that you are unengaged, uninterested. Some may also take it as a sign that you don’t trust what they are saying to you.
- Crossed arms and crossed legs, to some extent are physical walls. They signal a barrier that suggests you’re not open to what the other person is saying.
- Exaggerated nodding signals anxiety about approval. People may perceive your heavy nods as an attempt to show you agree with or understand something that you actually don’t.
- Fidgeting with or playing with your hair signals that you’re anxious, self-conscious, or distracted. A definite turn off in business.
- Avoiding eye contact makes it look like you have something to hide, and that arouses suspicion. Lack of eye contact can also indicate a lack of confidence and interest, a no-no and something you never want to communicate in a business setting.
- Weak handshakes are a sign that you lack authority and confidence. Adapt your handshake to each person and situation, but make sure it’s always firm.
- Getting too close. If you stand too close to someone (closer than one and a half feet), it signals that you have no respect. This will make people very uncomfortable when they’re around you. It can also be misconstrued as sexual harassment. Watch out for this one.