Workplace Body Language
It's the place where we spend the most of our adult lives. Hundreds of people interact with each other on a daily basis. Welcome to the workplace. It's no wonder that body language plays a pivotal role here too. First impressions count in this case since in the first 30 seconds, most people have already formed an opinion of you. From the way you dress to the way you gesture while you pitch an idea, all these things factor into how someone thinks of you. Use these tips when you interact with co-workers, present a proposal, or even in an interview - and you'll find yourself having a more receptive audience.
Good Body Language
Relaxed hangs with open palms - This is often associated with sincerity and openness.
Leaning forward slightly - This communicates interest in what others have to say.
Make eye contact - If no eye contact is made, this can signal deception or suspiciousness. Also, be careful on your judgments if someone does not make eye contact with you. While to you it may seem suspicious, to them it could be a sign of respect or timidness as a result of different cultures
Sitting or standing upright with relaxed shoulders and arms - This is good assertive body language. While you are showing powerfulness through standing upright, you are showing you are open to ideas and suggestions with your relaxed posture.
Mirror the body language of the other person - This shows that you are “in tune” with what the other person has to say and will make them feel at home and relaxed. Use discreetly though, otherwise you could seem to be making a mockery of them.
Respect the space of others- This will avoid nervous tension and allow a better atmosphere to communicate in.
Just like there is positive body language for the workplace, there are also little things we do that affect other's negatively. It may be things we don't notice - like shrugging after presenting a proposal or fidgeting with a pen during an interview. The best thing to do is to videotape yourself and then watch the tape over and over to be able to tell when you are doing something that would annoy another person. Watch out for these things:
Bad Body Language
Tightly crossed arms- Defensive, uninterested
Rolling on your heels- Insecure, childish
Lazing about on a chair- Arrogant
Shoulder shrugs- You don't believe in what has just been said, even if it was you who said it
Playing with your hair- Inner build-up of anxiety
Pulling your ear- Gives the impression that you're struggling to reach a decision
Touching your face- Nervousness, sometimes dishonesty
Stroking your neck- Stressed, can been misread as flirtatious
Wringing your hands- Concern
Fidgeting- Worry. This also draws attention away from you and reduces the impact of what you say.
Foot tapping or pen drumming- Impatience, boredom
Clenching your fists or chopping: Usually when presenting an idea. Be careful not to gesture to wildly or frequently, because it gives the impression of violence.
Be aware that everybody perceives things different. A hand on the shoulder to you could be seen as a fatherly gesture, but to another person it could be a patronizing move or a sexual advance.