From interviews to client meetings, from coworker collaborations to annual reviews, your body language says a lot about you. If you don’t take the time to notice what your body is doing when you’re interviewing for or on the job, you may be sending off signals that are hurting your career. The good news is it’s incredibly easy to improve your body language once you know what to do! Just start with these 5 easy steps.
1. Better Posture: Whether you’re standing as straight as an arrow or slouching to an extreme, you may be hurting your career success. Being too stiff and rigid can make you look awkward and uncomfortable while slouching might make you look disinterested and unprofessional. Finding the delicate balance between natural posture and standing tall is the best way to make a good impression with your posture. Additionally, if you’re in a meeting with a client or in an interview, leaning in slightly will help indicate your interest in what the other person is saying.
2. Eye Contact: You could be the best listener in the world, remembering every little detail that everyone communicates to you, but, without eye contact, no one will think you care. And while you don’t need to stare, unblinking, at everyone you have a conversation with, it is important to establish strong eye contact when someone is speaking or when you are trying to convey a message to others. Avoiding eye contact can make you look dishonest and disinterested so it’s important to make sure you’re establishing eye contact in any professional conversation.
3. Nod Your Head: While you don’t need to nod your head the entire time someone is talking to you in order to convey you’re listening, periodic head nods are a great way of establishing interest in what the other person is saying without ever having to say anything yourself. This is especially important in interviews or client meetings, but can also be used to your advantage during collaboration so that your coworkers know you care about their ideas and you’re listening to their suggestions.
4. Fidget No More: Fidgeting never indicates anything good. Although people can read this body language in a variety of ways (boredom, dishonesty, impatience, nervousness, etc.) none of them are positive. It’s best to avoid fidgeting at all costs in professional situations but you should take special care to avoid it during an interview, a client meeting, or an annual review. These important events can make or break your career and fidgeting through them won’t help.
5. Less Face Touching: There are a lot of negative connotations associated with different forms of face touching. Holding your chin may make someone think you’re being judgmental. Touching your face is a commonly noted sign of lying. Even rubbing the back of your neck can communicate boredom. To avoid giving someone the wrong impression, avoid touching your face in professional situations.
It’s not difficult to improve your body language once you know what to do, and these 5 easy steps make it even easier! Being conscious of your body language and taking action to improve it could be the best thing you ever do for the future of your career!