Is Your Body Language Sabotaging You?
No matter what we say, our body language is also talking, and it may be saying something totally different. Worse yet, it may be speaking so loudly our words are drowned out.
Look around at a typical meeting. Everyone there would claim to have a positive attitude. And some people may already know they need to project a positive image to reinforce their thoughts. But other people, may be slumping in their seats, playing with their hair, or shuffling papers as their body language speaks for them. Sometimes they may just have bad habits like slouching. But in some cases, that body language may be telling everyone exactly how they really feel.
If you have not thought much about body language, a recent Forbes article suggests figuring it out before it undermines your work. Researchers have studied thousands of subjects and discovered the true power of positive or negative body language. Start looking for all of those little clues, as people eye the clock, nod without thinking, or even stifle a yawn, and then take a closer look at your own body language.
Ask yourself what messages you are sending
When you slouch, you may be telling your boss this is just one more day and one more task. When you make exaggerated gestures, you may appear to be hiding a lack of preparation, or making it obvious this seems fairly unimportant.
I have watched people do a number of things in meetings, consciously and unconsciously. Some were good, others were incredibly funny, and some were really bad ideas that quickly moved people into the wrong camps. Many assumed they were unobserved, but they were usually wrong.
Look around at your world. What you spot may be very informative. Then start fixing your body language so it always supports your words.
Ways to Fix Body Language
When you show up, find a good seat and sit up straight. Turn your phone off and put unneeded papers away. If you are tired, have another cup of coffee, and think of a reason to smile. Then pay attention. Make sure you have absorbed the main points when the meeting ends. Sometimes it helps to do advance homework, so you can ask good questions.
Most important, don’t undermine all of your hard work by not using body language to your advantage. Body language will happen whether you choose to think about it or not. So why not put it to work for you?
As you add body language to your work skills, you may be surprised at the flow of new, positive feedback you get. As you watch for body signals, you may spot many more that we are sending out.
Just make sure yours are all good.