Whether you are on a date, a job interview, at a conference or a party, or just interacting with someone you’ve met for the first time in your life, the rules of communication state that 58% of your success depends on your body language.
We collected the most common body language issues that can ruin your image without you even realizing it.
1. Poor posture
Standing with your shoulders drooped makes you look insignificant, weak, and unconfident. If you slouch in your seat or lean too far back, it signals to others that you are too comfortable and disinterested in what you are doing. If you are still not convinced, there is scientific proof that slouching can lower your mood and self-esteem.
2. Poor legs and feet position
The position of your legs and feet are more subconscious and, therefore, more difficult to control. Yet it can convey your insecurity and give away your state of mind or hidden intentions. The way you place your legs when sitting can also reveal something about your personality.
- People choosing position A (knees together, feet apart) project an image of somebody childish, insecure, and dreamy.
- Crossed legs like in picture B may reveal a defensive, distant, or closed-minded attitude.
- Position C signals dominance and significance. However, it also reveals arrogance and is often inappropriate and impolite in formal situations.
- Parallel legs like in picture D is a neutral position, making you look open and calm.
- Placing the legs as in picture E is more common for women and makes them look more feminine and attractive.
3. Exaggerated gestures
Monitor your hand and arm movements. When a person is moving their hands wildly, it signals a lack of confidence and professionalism. It’s no surprise that nervous movements such as cracking your knuckles, playing with your hair, or biting your nails and lips make you look anxious and insecure. Yet the absolute lack of gestures can be harmful as well and signal a loss of interest.
4. Crossed arms
Standing or sitting with crossed arms is a defensive position, which can give the impression that you are neither impressed nor interested. Holding your arms parallel to the body, on the other hand, shows that you are open for conversation. Even better, holding your hands back shows your superiority, power, and confidence. However, according to some research, crossed arms indicates greater persistence when dealing with difficult tasks.
5. Weak handshakes
A firm handshake is important. Someone with a weak handshake can be viewed as lacking authority and confidence. Although, if your handshake is too strong, you may be perceived as aggressive. One of the worst handshakes is called a “wet fish handshake” — a weak handshake with cold and sweaty hands that gives the impression of a person who is weak in character and cold in nature.
6. Inappropriate eye contact
Avoiding eye contact makes you look unprepared or unprofessional in a business meeting and insecure or insincere during a date or at a party. On the other hand, according to the body language expert Carol Kinsey Goman, too much eye contact could seem rude, intimidating, and hostile.
Fidgeting with your hair, hands, phone, or any other object can be distracting for your communication partner and prevent them from focusing. You, on the other hand, will appear weak and distracted, although a recent study shows that fidgeting helps one to retain information better. Don’t look at your phone or watch while talking to somebody because it is rude and shows that you are not interested in the conversation.
8. Incorrect position of fingers and hands
Rubbing of palms or placing the fingers of one hand over the fingers of the other hand to form a “steeple” should be used with caution. They may give the impression that you are trying to deceive another person or impose your thoughts rather than convince.
9. Not mirroring others
Mirroring allows you to build rapport with others. It also develops trust and allows you to engage in deeper conversations. Research shows that although men find mirroring harder than women, women are more influenced by mirroring and find men who repeat their gestures or posture more attractive.
10. Failing to nod or smile
Smiles or nods can be used as powerful nonverbal cues to let someone know that you are actively listening. Smiles put those around you at ease. While some people won’t pay attention to the position of your legs and arms, everybody will react to the signal conveyed on your face. Besides, smiling makes you feel good yourself! Try it!