There are a lot of things that are important to remember in the workplace: your appearance, how to address superiors and clients, and as Ursula reminded Ariel in the Little Mermaid — “Don’t underestimate the importance of body language!” Body language is something that can be hard to control, and sometimes you have to make an effort to be consciously aware of the way you carry yourself. We here at North have some tips on the types of body language you should employ when you find yourself in a professional setting.
You have probably heard it countless times from your parents and other adults growing up, but you should sit up straight! Poor posture isn’t a good look, and that goes for standing as well. When you’re standing you should make sure to stand tall, with your neck elongated and your weight evenly distributed. This gives off an air of confidence, which is an important quality to have in the work place.
We all know that one person who cannot talk without moving their hands a mile a minute, making it hard to follow what they are saying because you live in fear your coffee may get slapped out of your hands! Don’t be that person! Instead, use hand gestures at the right moment to get the point you are trying to make across. If you use hand gestures often, try and tone them down, making them subtle and less noticeable to others. Another important thing to remember is to try to not fidget. Fidgeting gives off an air of nervousness, or even worse, incompetence.
This one is important. Make eye contact people! In American culture, eye contact is important as a way to show that you are paying attention to the person you are speaking with, and it also shows that you are confident. Looking down at your shoes or always glancing nervously to the side makes you seem insecure, and people are less likely to take you seriously. And constantly looking down at your phone is a BIG no-no!
Facial expressions are important, and can be tricky to control, but it’s important to learn how to do so. By not showing any facial expressions while talking to a coworker or client, you come across as cold and uninterested. By raising your eyebrows, smiling, or furrowing your brow at the right moment, you can use facial expressions to show your attentiveness to the situation and conversation, giving feedback to whomever you are speaking to without having to actually say a word.
When you are sitting at a meeting or standing talking to someone in the hall, it’s important to remember to try and remain open. Put simply — don’t cross your arms! Crossing your arms gives you a closed off, defensive stance, something people are going to respond to negatively whether they’re aware of it or not. By standing with your arms at your side, or sitting with your body open towards whomever is speaking, you give off a vibe of openness, as well as attentiveness.
Roll your eyes. It might be hard at times, but don’t do it. It comes across as childish and rude. If you are in a professional setting, it doesn’t matter how badly you may want to roll your eyes at something a client or coworker has said, do not do it — ever.
Finally, make sure to smile! You don’t necessarily have to walk around with a grin on your face, but sometimes it can brighten another’s day, as well as your own, to flash a smile in their direction. It gives off good vibes, and can improve the mood of those around you. Plus, everyone looks good when they smile, so we should all make sure to do it more often!
Do you have any tips on body language? Tell us at [email protected] or tweet us at @NorthPRFL!
And that’s the straight up from North!