Whether you like it or not, you speak without speaking!
From the way someone stands while socializing to how they slouch in their barstool, we always notice body language before ever greeting and introducing ourselves to them. It triggers signals in our brain, and we immediately form ideas about said person. It of course happens in the workplace as well. It’s how our minds work, so why not use this to our advantage?
The tips below will help you keep your body upright and your career going in the right direction.
Don’t slouch: C’mon, your parents have been telling you this for years. Just don’t do it. It’s bad for your back and bad for first impressions. Slouching can give the impression of laziness and low self-esteem. And who wants to do business with that kind of person?
No stone-face: Being stoic might help if you’re being tortured in a medieval castle or if you’re being interrogated by an international spy, but it’s no good in the workplace. Smile. There’s no such thing as an ugly smile. Lean in when someone is telling you something interesting. Greet your friends and coworkers warmly and expressively, with a firm handshake.
Eye contact: This goes along with number two. Maintaining eye-contact denotes confidence and trustworthiness. If you do have to break eye-contact, look to the person’s left or right, never down, as this implies insecurity.
Keep exaggerated hand movements to a minimum: The same is true for fidgeting nervously. Like eye-contact, fidgeting with your phone and making overly exaggerated hand movements come off as insecurity. Next time you’re in a meeting, look to the alpha of the group. Are they playing with their phone or wildly slinging their hands around? Most likely not.
Steeple hands: Instead of big hand movements, opt for smaller gestures instead. One of these gestures is the “steeple hands.” Simply touch your finger tips together, but leave your palms apart. If it’s good enough for Steve Jobs, it’s good enough for you.
Make use of the “power pose”: The power pose is used to boost testosterone levels, making you feel more confident and dominant while lowering your stress levels (which are associated with a hormone in your body called cortisol). The goal is to make your body as big as possible to release the chemicals locked up in your brain. The easiest power pose to pull of? Widen your stance and pull your arms out and as far back as you can. Hold this for a minute or so—don’t do this around people, as you’ll probably get some strange looks. Do it before stressful situations—an important meeting or date, for example.
These are but six ways you can start improving your posture and your position in the workplace. The importance of a firm handshake will always have a place, as well as paying attention to others’ posture. If you’re in a group and see one member’s feet pointing away from the group, they’re ready to leave the conversation. Use small cues like these to crush your next meeting or meetup, as well as improve your standing in the workplace (pun very much intended).