In the workplace, certain things about your body language come as second-nature. If you’re tired during a meeting, you might slouch in your chair. Maybe you get distracted while someone is talking to you, so you glance around the room. Without even realizing, you touch your neck for comfort in a stressful situation.
Body language is surprisingly important in the workplace. The way you move and act may have unintended impacts on how others perceive you, and how you perceive yourself. Body language can make the difference between getting that extra raise or getting stuck on the bottom. Body language can affect the job experience in ways that you might not expect.
Many situations arise in which you have to prove yourself and show your worth – these are the situations where the importance of body language comes into play.
Here are some “do”s and “don’t”s for body language in the workplace:
Get into positions of insecurity. Certain mannerisms can give off an air of nervousness or uncertainty. People respond to confidence and determination in the workplace.
Touching one’s neck is often subconscious reaction to stress.
Keeping ankles crossed is also a sign of restraint or discomfort.
Having your arms crossed can show you are holding something back.
Slouching too deep into your seat is also a bad idea.
In general, any manner of curling or folding into yourself shows insecurity.
Take a position of dominance. This can take many forms – in general, you want to lengthen your posture and widen your stance.
Sit with your arm propped up on the chair next to you.
Keep your ankles side by side instead of crossed.
Keep your arms open when engaging with someone to show you are open
Lean forward to express interest.
Make eye contact, especially during a handshake.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out your “dominance” stand, just think of Wonder Woman. How would she pose? How would she handle the situation?
Even before a stressful situation, body language may even be more important – including when nobody’s watching. Amy Cuddy’s research, profiled in a TedTalk, shows that getting into a position of power and dominance, even for two minutes, can change your hormone balance, and have a positive impact on how you handle stress. Likewise, being in a position of confinement can negatively impact your hormones, and possibly worsen the outcome of a negotiation.
Flickr Creative Commons
If you have an office with a closed door, Cuddy even suggests standing up on your chair or desk (if it’s safe, of course!) for an extra power-stance boost. This is not a suggestion to stand on your desk during a job interview! But beforehand, and in the privacy of your own office, it doesn’t hurt to feel like you’re on top of the world.
It’s time for Ecowomen to become Wonder Women – or EcoWonder Women!
Do you want to learn more about how to become a EcoWonder Woman, and advance your career? Join us at the First Annual EcoWomen Conference: I’m Here, What’s Next? Building a Sustainble Career!