What your body conveys can tell far more about your feelings than you suspect. How you stand, your eye contact (or lack thereof), and the position of your hands, among other things send a message. Your body language can cost you the job if you establish the wrong tone. Don’t let that cost you the job!
Most of the time, you have no idea you are giving off these signals. They are quite automatic. Oftentimes you have no idea that you are conveying what you are thinking in your body language. You can exhibit some control over negative body language with improved self-awareness and practice.
Here are some negative gestures to think about and avoid:
1. Crossing Your Arms In Front Of You
This signals that you are resistant to ideas and not open to others’ opinions. When speaking with people – especially during an interview keep your hands in your lap. When standing, keep hands at your sides.
2. Looking Down When Speaking
Looking down is a sign that you are disinterested or feel inferior. Make sure you maintain eye contact without staring. This will let the other person subliminally know that you are interested in what they have to say. If the eyes are the window of the soul, looking at someone when you are talking to them is a strong indicator that you are engaged. Eye contact is good; staring is creepy!
3. Checking Your Watch
There is nothing that screams boredom more than the continuous checking of the time. Do not look at your watch when speaking with someone. You want to convey continued interest in what they are saying. The exchange of information should be an engaging one – not a situation where you appear to be focused on something else.
4. False Smiling
A smile is one of the very best ways to communicate sincerity and a friendly, approachable demeanor. Don’t force a smile or smile the entire time. That will look odd and raise questions in the mind of the person you are interacting with. A natural smile will resonate during the interview. A genuine smile involves the entire face – a fake forced smile uses only the mouth – and studies indicate that people are very good at seeing the differences.
5. Poor Posture
Standing up straight with your shoulders back displays confidence and self-assuredness. Slouching immediately makes you look smaller and is indicative of lack of self-confidence. Your posture serves to deliver a clear and positive message about how you should be treated. Leave a lasting positive impression with good posture.
Avoid inappropriate body language and learn how to identify it in others. Make sure you prepare and feel good about yourself to feel good about your interactions with those you know as well as people you are meeting for the first time.
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