Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Body Language In The Workplace

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Do: Talk With Your Hands

Skillbuilder: Body Language in the Workplace

The physical act of gesturing can help you form clearer thoughts and speak in tighter sentences. Hand motions can also help punctuate your sentences, giving the words youre saying more declarative meaning.

For you Millennials out there, think of gestures as the emojis of real life.

To use this to your advantage, use open gestures that are signals of persuasiveness, credibility, and candor: keep your movements relaxed and fluid, hold your arms at waist level, and show the palms of your hands.

Master The Art Of Handshake:

As touch is one of the most accepted and primitive non-verbal mode of convincing, a good handshake can yield a lot for you. In professional world handshakes do tell about your character, a firm grip makes you more confident while those who are shy will tend to be soft in shaking hands. So mastering the art of a proper handshake can crack a deal for you and on the other hand, a wrong way of giving a handshake can break the deal as well.

Why Is Body Language Important In The Workplace

Body language is one of many nonverbal cues that impact how people perceive you in the workplace. Body language helps to reinforce and emphasize the messages you relay and create additional meaning. However, body language can negate certain assumptions if the nonverbal cues you’re conveying don’t align with your verbal message. Becoming aware of the body language you use when communicating with colleagues and managers can help you ensure your message is being delivered effectively and avoid the possibility of negative body language creating a mixed message or even delivering an underlying message you didn’t intend to send. By learning how to use body language to your advantage you can:

  • Create better communication within your team

  • Better understand how others truly feel when they’re speaking with you

  • Create a more positive impact on your customers and clients

  • Project a professional image within your own organization


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What Is Aggressive Body Language In The Workplace

An aggressive body language is a form of non-verbal communication where the person uses their body to intimidate, threaten, or pressure another person.

This behavior can be seen as a form of bullying in the workplace. It includes behaviors such as standing too close, shouting in someones face, invading personal space, and any other form of physical intimidation.

This type of communication is often associated with unprofessionalism and should not be tolerated in any work setting. However, it is also important to remember that everyone communicates differently and this behavior may not be intended to be aggressive.

If you feel anxious or uncomfortable at work, its always important to speak to your HR representative. If you feel like theyre a negative influence, or that you cant approach them without fear of retribution, its always a great idea to start keeping notes of times when that person has been aggressive towards you and witnesses in the room. Keep a detailed diary.

It may be hard to hear, but if you are feeling trapped at work and think youll never find an exit strategy, then you should start looking for another job. No one should have to feel intimidated in a professional setting.

Why Should You Greet People With A Good Handshake Not Too Firm Not Too Weak In Body Language

Styles of Business Communication

Greeting someone with a good handshake is important for several reasons. First, it is a way to show respect to the other person. Second, it is a way to make a good first impression. Third, it is a way to show confidence. Fourth, it is a way to show that you are interested in the other person. Finally, it is a way to show that you are friendly and approachable.

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Some Examples Of Body Language Types

Watch the below clip from The Graham Norton Show. Instead of listening to them talk about llamas, pay attention to their body language. How are they sitting? What gestures do they make when talking?

Notice how relaxed the guests are? Even though theyre in front of cameras and an audience, they might as well be chatting in a small room by themselves. Theyre laid back, at ease and very comfortable.

As Robert Downey Jr begins to speak, he opens up his body to include everyone. If he were to just face the host, hed have his back to some people who would feel excluded. Graham interacts with the screen behind him but turns when speaking to the guests so they can see his face.

Everyone is given their chance to speak and no one person ever dominates the conversation. Its a great example of relaxed and open body language, even in front of an audience.

Time for another clip now. Same rules, keep an eye on the body language.

So obviously, football manager Pep Guardiola isnt very happy with a journalists question here. Whats interesting is he never raises his voice or uses overly negative language. Its his gestures and movements that really outline how seething he is.

Did you notice how little he blinks as he talks? Go back and have another look. He keeps very strong eye contact with the person hes berating in a kind of showdown sort of way. But that eye contact breaks when he finishes speaking as if hes disgusted with what hes seeing.

One final example.

Use Body Language In Virtual Settings

It may feel more intuitive to use and perceive body language within in-person settings, but it’s also helpful in virtual meetings and interviews. For example, you can ensure that you use hand gestures to show your hands and arms within the frame of your video to show the professional to which you’re speaking that you’re a confident and trustworthy person. Using body language in virtual settings is often beneficial because it can strengthen the connection you make with that professional, which is sometimes a more difficult task when you’re not meeting in person.

Related:10 Virtual Interview Tips to Succeed in Your Job Search

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Maintain An Open Position

Maintaining an open body position is vital for several reasons. First, it helps you to appear approachable and more likely to engage in conversation. Secondly, it makes you appear confident and in control. And finally, it conveys a sense of openness and trustworthiness. All of these factors are important when dealing with people at work, whether youre interacting with colleagues or clients. By maintaining an open body position, youre more likely to create positive relationships and build trust. So next time youre at work, remember to keep your body open and inviting.

Dont: Invade Others Space

Body language at the workplace | Effective Professional 101

While its important to note that the idea of a space bubble is largely an American and European social construct, its a crucial one: the colleague who continually invades others space tends to quickly become the colleague everyone avoids.

So unless youve got a juicy secret to spill about Martha from Marketing, try to keep a distance of about 1.5 feet away from the person youre holding a conversation with. This is also for your protectionyou dont know who had fish for lunch! What if Bob suddenly decided to take up cycling to work? Your office doesnt have showers! Thus, think of that space bubble as your own safe space, to be gently guarded from the horrors of halitosis and that one guy in every office who just cant let go of the Drakkar Noir.

Other space invasions include looking over someones shoulder while theyre reading or typing, sitting so close that you touch , entering someones office or cubicle and taking their red stapler, or other precious office gear, without permission.

Big tip: the best way to know if youre the one invading someones space is if they take a step back from you or do that subtle flinching thing with their upper body that Lisa from next door did when you moved to kiss her that one time. Take these non-verbal cues as silent feedback to check yourself and kindly step off of their space game.

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Examples And Importance Of Body Language

Anush and Kedar were among the top sales performers at their firm but there was a huge difference in the

Anush and Kedar were among the top sales performers at their firm but there was a huge difference in the way they were perceived by their colleagues.

Anush was always cheerful, treated everyone warmly, was an attentive listener and was always ready to help others. People felt comfortable around him and valued his feedback.

Kedar, on the other hand, was seen as gloomy and unapproachable, although he was a good leader and a competent employee. He, too, would attend meetings and give valuable feedback, but something in the tone of his voice, or maybe the fact he failed to make eye contact with others, didnt make it that effective. Not surprisingly, he was not popular.

Kedar couldnt understand why this was happening, but it all boiled down to his body language. At times, we fail to understand the importance of body language at the workplace. Body language is an essential part of nonverbal communication and not an alternative, and supplements verbal communication.

Apart from having a healthy body language yourself, reading body language in the workplace is also extremely important, to understand the intensity and intentions behind the message being transmitted through verbal communication to you. Body language signals the spirit in which a message is being conveyed and can display hidden emotions.

Body Language Cue #1: Territorial Claiming

Messages that indicate you are taking over territory in the office include:

  • leaning on, touching, standing close to other peoples objects
  • leaning against an exit or entry point
  • hanging out at the water cooler
  • What it Means: Whoever takes control of the donuts and coffee is the commander of the office. They may have great status and the attention of your coworkers. Even great leaders serve coffee or pour drinks to welcome guests or subordinates. Controlling these prime areas emphasizes service to others1.

    Claiming space in other peoples office space is a pretty obvious one:

    And if someone stands near the entry and exit points, they control the flow of who enters, similar to how a bouncer would control who gains entry into a popular club.

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    What others say:

    Why Is Keeping Your Hands In Your Pockets Not Recommended Body Language

    Interview Preparation Tips : Body Language During Interview

    There are a few reasons why keeping your hands in your pockets is not recommended body language. First, it can make you appear closed off and unapproachable. Second, it can convey a lack of confidence. Finally, it can come across as disinterested or even rude. So if you want to make a good impression, keep your hands out of your pockets!

    Read Also: What Languages Does Norway Speak

    Body Language In The Workplace: 15 Cues You Must Know

    Managers, coworkers, new hireshow do you tell what theyre thinking? Here are 15 cues to determine body language in the workplace.

    Do you wish you could read the body language of your boss, colleagues, or clients? Although body language is not mind reading, it can give us an interesting glimpse into the hidden emotions of the people we work with.

    Research has found that the majority of our communication is nonverbalbetween 65 and 90% comes through our body language, facial expressions, and voice tone.

    There are many universal body language expressions, but in this post, I will talk about the most common body language moves seen in work environments and that come up at the office, including:

    • how to tell if your boss or coworkers are confrontational or fearful
    • how to deal with know-it-alls at work
    • the best way to shake hands
    • why standing near the water cooler makes you powerful
    • bonus: how to win over anyone at work

    Lets dive in!

    Body Movements & Gestures:

    Body language gestures and movements of several body parts like head, hands etc play a key role in conveying messages through body language. Such body languages convey messages which have linguistic translations without a need to speak or write anything. Though the use of different body gestures and movements has different cultural implications in separate countries, still they are widely used for its convenience.

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    Body Language Cue #1: Eye Gaze

    The definition of an eye gaze is when someone stares at you and keeps looking.

    What it Means: Giving someone an eye gaze can show active aggression and fear. Coupled with an intense look like furrowed brows from your overpowering boss, it can mean hes trying to show you whos boss. You might notice this one if a coworker messes up big time.

    Fun Fact: People also avoid eye gazing when they feel unconfident or submissive. In one study, people avoided the eyes of an interviewer and disliked him, after he commented unfavorably on their performance4.

    In another study, Japans Osaka University used a robot called Robovie to test eye gaze. It played the role of a travel agent booking a negotiation and looked at two different people. When the two people were looked at equally, they took turns speaking. But when Robovie only glanced at one person, the other spoke less. And when Robovie completely ignored one person, the ignored person spoke the least. It was consistent about 97% of the time, which goes to show how powerful eye gaze can be!3

    Importance Of Body Language In The Workplace

    The Dos and Donts of Body Language in the Work Place

    Like Kedar, there are many people who work hard, pay attention, and perform well under pressure, but are still considered sub-par employees. Why does that happen? Your body language at the workplace speaks volumes about you. As author Deborah Bull puts it, Body language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we were able to speak. Apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body language, not the words.

    The posture, gestures, facial expressions, tone, and pace of the speech can give important insights into the speakers mind. Understanding what they feel is as important as understanding what they mean.

    Paying attention to your body language and using the correct nonverbal cues can help you succeed in the workplace.

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    Body Language Cue #: Mimicry

    Mimicry is when you subtly mimic or copy the body language of the person you are speaking with. Mimicry goes back to the ancient worldbody language expert Mark Bowden studied and practiced the use of masks by ancient shamans and how they and other tribe members would dance to represent the movements of an animal. The purpose of using these masks was to contact and commune with the animals spirit1.

    The shamans would learn how to move like the animal, and more importantly, think like the animal. Because they would tap into the animals mind, the shamans would gain a distinct advantage when hunting the animal or learning to defend from it.

    What it Means: In the same way, shamanic mask rituals are still herebut just transferred to the business world. Anytime you want something to go more smoothly, you can use mimicry to build rapport. You can also notice if someone is mirroring yousubconsciously, we do this with people we like, and it is a good indicator of how someone feels about you.

    Tip: If you need to calm someone down, show respect, or get on the same page, subtly mirror their posture or speaking speed. If you want to know how someone feels about you, pay attention to if they copy your seating behavior or hand gestures.

    Pro Tip: How to Deal With Know-It-Alls At Work2

    Importance Of Body Language In Communication

    Our body language plays a key role in impression management, the art of influencing how we are perceived by others.

    A positive body language can show our enthusiasm to contribute, confidence in our abilities, being comfortable in taking on challenges, passionate to drive results and present to recognise future demands. It can open a world of new possibilities.

    A negative body language can send strong signals of our resistance to contribute, doubtful of our abilities, uneasiness to take on challenges, indifferent and uncaring attitude towards outcomes and disconnected from reality to be able to handle future potential. It can close doors to success and growth.

    Maya Angelou said, People may not remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.

    Since our emotions drive a large part of our decision making, guess who will get the attention when a new project or a position opens up a person who exhibited confidence in their body language or someone who looked like a nervous wreck?

    Intelligence and brilliance are not enough to be successful at work. Our self-presentation skills far supersede our verbal communication.

    What happens when what we say is not in alignment with what we believe? We can lie through our words, but our body will reveal the truth. The non-verbal cues that we send through our body speak stronger than words.

    The idea is not to be inauthentic through your body language but to be aware of its implications.

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