Reading body language is about listening to what people don’t say. It’s a non-verbal form of communication. Every day we come across so many situations like we meet new people, we try to renew our relations with old ones, or maintaining the ones working just fine.
For some of us, it is an easy job, we let our subconscious and instincts handle it, but for others it is a big deal, to understand. Is the other person paying attention to you or does he even want to hear you? When to start talking or more importantly when to stop? Or how show respect because just telling them you do won’t appear that real?
With appropriate body language, you can sway others to work according to your wishes, on the other hand, a poor body language can make others believe you are incapable, nervous or insensitive; all the signals you don’t want to give.
Body language that doesn’t coincide with the message we intend to send can lead to relationship raptures, misunderstanding, and unwanted outcomes.
Where judging others most of the time is considered bad, observing someone reasonably, can help identify red flags. Especially at a workplace.
Like, when it comes to knowing if the new intern you are about to hire is trustworthy or not, are your superiors interested in the suggestions you are about to make? Or how could you possibly build a proper understanding with your colleagues just by punctuating their silences?
Well, all this could be done! And most of us are doing it unknowingly as well. It often happens “what we do”, speaks so loudly that others cannot hear “what we say”. It is about how you create such gestures which make others feel comfortable and committed to you.
Here are some ways to improve non-verbal communication at your workplace:
While in an Interview
Interviews could be tough for both interviewee and recruiter, but appropriate gestures and body language can make it easier. Patience and perseverance are the keys.
Despite of any anxiousness, you must patiently try to listen and reciprocate what the interviewer is asking and explaining to you. Other than that, gestures mentioned below can also help with your interview preparation and to create a comfort zone for both.
Yes, a handshake could create a long-lasting impression on the interviewer. It must be firm, this shows that you’ve come prepared for what to come. While the loosened one automatically creates an impression of no one can make you “care less” about the interview.
Smile Often and Nodding
Smiling genuinely while giving the interview creates an impression of confidence, likewise smiling often while taking the interview creates a friendly environment. Smiling and nodding during the conversation can be used as non-verbal cues to let someone know that you are actively listening.
It is also important to make the interviewee feel comfortable, only then he’ll be able to give you honest replies about his skills and professional goals.
Maintaining proper eye contact is a must. It makes the other feel that you are interested in what they are trying to tell. One only reduces the gaze when he/she is not feeling confident or not listening attentively.
While eye contact is a must, staring is considered intimidating and inappropriate. It is demeaning and makes him question his ability to explain things. Required pauses can be taken in between the long discussions which also helps in scripting what to ask or answer next.
This nonverbal behavior could give off a lot of negative signals to others around you. For instance, others may not engage with you because they’ll think you’re being defensive, stubborn or distant.
Keep your arms open so that you appear to be inviting. Your interviewer would feel more connected which is important and helps in breaking the ice.
But crossing your arms does look good during a meeting or when you are sitting alone inside your cabin.
Cracking your knuckles, biting your nails, playing with your hair, continuously tapping your feet all fall under the example of nervous gestures. The less jittery you are, the calmer and patient you’ll appear. Avoid making nervous gestures especially during salary negotiation.
Maintaining an interpersonal relationship at a workplace is really important. Because those are the people you have to meet daily, the faces you’ll see regularly no matter the mood or the situations you are going through.
Personal and professional lives must be separate. Mixing them can ruin both. Try to maintain your calm even when going through a tough time in your personal life, you can watch funny videos or listen to some soothing music while commuting, to enlighten your mood.
The present world revolves with networking and socializing. So it becomes essential what you are communicating when you are not saying anything or what kind of vibes you are giving out in surroundings.
Rolling eyes and Blinking
Rolling the eyes is simply considered rude. Every suggestion coming out of your mouth no matter how sincere it may sound will be overlooked even with a second of rolling your eyes. It makes others feel your attitude is dominating and condescending.
Keeping these small things in mind, can save so many of your relationships not just at the workplace but also the ones which are personal.
Moreover, when you are talking to someone and they start blinking a lot, they may have stopped paying attention to you. Studies show that if a person is blinking rapidly their mind is wandering.
So if you’ll pay attention towards what your colleagues are saying the chances of them feeling annoyed with your eye rolling and blinking reduces.
Invading Personal Space
Whether you are super friendly or not it is better to keep a healthy distance from your colleagues when communicating about a professional topic. If not, you can make the other feel uncomfortable and even threatened by your presence.
Mirroring and walking along with the same pace enhances your chances of building a positive rapport with colleagues. When we want to bond with another person, we unconsciously mimic their behavior. How about everyone in the room is sitting down do you feel the need to sit down too?
Mirroring your colleague’s tone of voice, movements, sitting position and posture can lead to acceptance and understanding. With this, you’ll appear open and undefended to others.
If your body is not facing a group conversation, you run the risk of seeming rude. Take a moment, move your shoulders towards the team, use words others can relate with during a discussion. This helps building a proper network and improving interpersonal relationships.
Physically Separating Yourself
While it is normal to be shy when you begin a new job, you don’t want to create enough space between you and your colleagues because that could indicate you don’t want to be a part of the team.
They could perceive you as uninterested, uncomfortable and even distrustful. You have to leave your comfort zone to engage with your teammates.
Superior and Subordinate
Most delicate relationship at workplace is of employer and his employees. A single insensitive gesture, intentional or unintentional, can replace you from being an employee of the month to the one who gets ignored all the time.
So it is rather more important to pay undivided attention to your boss while discussing professionals topics or even when you are merely talking to him.
Moreover, an employer’s nature must also be polite not dominating. Intimidating is never expected from a good leader it lessens the probability of others opening to you.
Slouching in your seat, leaning on walls or furniture could make your employees feel small and unimportant. They might hesitate to come to you for any suggestions and advice.
Also, for an employee slouching can make your boss and other employees assume that you don’t care much about the job and consider the work delegated to you, too less for the skills you hold.
Haven’t you noticed the ones standing leaning on their one leg or on some furniture, would discuss important organizational topics with them be your first instinct? I guess, No.
Stand straight without leaning on anything not even on one leg, this shows you are alert and confident. Show them you have it in you!
Walk calmly, even when you’re in a rush. Calmness makes you a better observer and helps you think patiently about the things you’ll be proceeding with. And don’t forget to maintain a proper posture while walking, walk with your shoulders back and chin up. Stand tall. Be proud. Be super conscious of your stance.
Wild hand motions could indicate that you are unprofessional. Use purposeful hand movements to reinforce your points and communicate energy.
Especially when you are pitching your views during a meeting, make sure to use relevant gestures because merely using words won’t create that impact.
Eyeing on the clock, aimlessly doodling on the note pad, using your smart phone without purpose, all of these could show your boss that you are feeling stuck . Even when you don’t think they are noticing.
Watching the clock implies impatience. Imagine yourself suggesting some great ideas which in your mind appears to be an enlightening factor in the life of another person, and that person, well he is more interested in knowing what time it is, so he could just leave and keep up with his old life.
Same thing applies on using your phone, especially during meetings it shows lack of respect to the person who is talking. The person might be preparing for the meeting from days least you can do is keep your phone down maintain eye contact and nod.
Sometimes professionals get into trouble because of the way they spoke, rather than what they said.
Try to read the cues of a situation and match the tone and volume of your voice with the people around you. Both being too quiet and too loud could be problematic.
So in the end, you must learn to visualize yourself doing all these things so that the next time you step into your workplace, you come across with charisma. And all the adjectives like confidence, enthusiasm, and loyalty which you have in yourself, show them instead of telling.
Feeling ready for a new workplace? Apply for new jobs now!