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What does your body language convey to others?
Before you ask yourself why, despite your above-average commitment and your competence, nobody in the office has noticed you, it is time to start a self-check and think about your body language.
- How do you usually stand and sit?
- What do you do with your arms and hands when you are talking to someone?
- What happens in your body when you find yourself in a situation that you find uncomfortable, intimidating or even threatening?
Our body language talks and mostly we are not even aware of what we are conveying with it.
At best, our body shows a positive, friendly, confident, natural appearance. In some situations, however, we may appear disinterested, dismissive or insecure.
Our body language impacts in a positive or negative way the course of our interactions, for example during a job interview or an important presentation.
Creating awareness of our own body language and possibly working on small improvements increases the chances of success in crucial moments.
Do you want to get that well-deserved promotion? Have you realized that the presentations you prepared with so much care, on made the audience yawn? Once again you are upset because your colleague does take your suggestion seriously.
If you have had enough, start to steer against it and change what is standing in your way.
Take a couple of minutes each day to watch and improve your posture for example.
An improved posture will boost your confidence.
Our bodies have an impact on our self-awareness, our self-awareness impacts our behavior, and our behavior ultimately impacts the outcome of our interactions within our surroundings.
Small adjustments in our mindset (Improving self-confidence at work) and our own body awareness can lead to positive changes, without us pretending to be what we are not but respecting our true nature. By simply working on becoming more comfortable with ourselves and building confidence in our own abilities.
It is possible! Start with these simple exercises:
Practice an upright posture
Good posture is upright and loose. An upright posture shows confidence and interest.
Regardless of whether you are standing or sitting, both feet should be grounded on the floor. Your shoulders should be pulled back slightly, and your head should be straight, as if some invisible thread is pulling head.
A shoulder-width and secure stance shows that you have both feet on the ground and gives you a feeling of security as well as increased readiness and attention.
If you find yourself sagging and walking with your back bent or your head bowed, straighten up again.
Keep your arms open
Crossed arms signal disinterest or rejection. Watch yourself at the next meeting: the boss has just announced a restructuring. The colleague wants to introduce a new process. You are going to be assigned a new project. ….. You name it, any situation that is likely to push you out of the comfort-zone ….
Are your arms crossed in front of your body during this time? Loosen them and let them fall loosely: this will help you look more open. Crossed arms are not only a signal of rejection to the outside world. They also indicate that you are internally closing yourself off to ideas, change or certain people.
Make eye contact
We communicate feelings and state of mind with our eyes.
With eye contact, we show interest and that we feel comfortable and safe during a meeting or a conversation.
Look calmly into the eyes of the other person without staring. In a meeting, make eye contact with all participants, to involve everyone and build connection.
When the eye is constantly looking down or avoiding others, on the other hand, is a sign of uncertainty.
Children smile hundreds of times a day. Adults only 15 times on average. Smiling has a positive effect on our wellbeing. It also helps building trust and shows that you are relaxed and confident. But don’t force yourself to do it. A fake, artificial smile is counterproductive. If you are in a bad mood, rather try smiling at yourself in the mirror, especially if you are getting ready for an important appointment.
With this smile on your face, you will immediately feel better, in a good mood, and often even more motivated. Because positive facial expressions lead to positive emotions.
Avoid hectic and uncontrolled movements
Those who constantly fidget or play around with their own hair or objects signal great insecurity and restlessness.
Prepare yourself thoroughly and plan your time properly.
You can reduce stress by simply avoiding to run around under time-pressure, and add small breaks in-between meetings.
Always plan enough time, especially for important appointments like interviews, so that you arrive relaxed and calm.
Take a deep breath
The way we breathe affects the pitch of our voice, the tone and the way we move.
So that you don’t end up stuttering or even forgetting what you were saying, gain control of your breath.
Practice conscious breathing exercises which will help you to stay clear in stressful moments. Breathing exercises relax the body and therefore will also impact your body language and what you convey.
Get feedback from your environment
What does your best friend / colleague think of your facial expressions, gestures and posture?
Ask these familiar people to pay attention to your body language in certain situations and let them give you honest feedback. Perhaps the constant playing with your hair or rocking your legs has become an unconscious automatism that you can easily get rid of.
Let yourself be inspired
There are people whose body language you might find particularly appealing.
What can you learn from them? What do they do differently from you and what could you easily adopt to portray more self-confidence, professionalism and competence?
Try it out and see if it feels good.
Each of us judges and draw conclusions within seconds based on body language. Every day we form opinions about people we don’t even know. And every day other people label us in the same way.
Without having exchanged a single word, in a matter of seconds, we decide whether we like or dislike each other; whether we can trust each other or not.
Within this quick scan, body language offers key-criteria: the body is never silent, reveals our feelings and how we are.
Self-awareness is the first step towards self-confidence. Gaining self-confidence will have a positive impact both in your private and in your professional life.