Looking down as you talk makes it seem like you lack confidence or are self-conscious, causing your words to lose their effect. It’s especially important to keep your eyes level if you’re making complicated or important points.
Sustained eye contact, on the other hand, communicates confidence, leadership, strength, and intelligence. While it is possible to be engaged without direct, constant eye contact, complete negligence will clearly have negative effects on your professional relationships.
10. Eye contact that’s too intense may be perceived as aggressive, or an attempt to dominate.
On average, Americans hold eye contact for seven to ten seconds, longer when we’re listening than when we’re talking. The way we break contact sends a message, too. Glancing down communicates submission while looking to the side-projects confidence.
11. Rolling your eyes is a fail-proof way to communicate a lack of respect.
Fortunately, while it may be a habit, it’s voluntary. You can control it, and it’s worth the effort.
12. Scowling or having a generally unhappy expression sends the message that you’re upset by those around you, even if they have nothing to do with your mood.
Scowls turn people away, as they feel judged.
Smiling, however, suggests that you’re open, trustworthy, confident, and friendly. MRI studies have shown that the human brain responds favorably to a person who’s smiling, and this leaves a lasting positive impression.
13. Weak handshakes signal that you lack authority and confidence
While a handshake that is too strong could be perceived as an aggressive attempt at domination, which is just as bad. Adapt your handshake to each person and situation, but make sure it’s always firm.
14. Clenched fists, much like crossed arms and legs, can signal that you’re not open to other people’s points.
It can also make you look argumentative and defensive, which will make people nervous about interacting with you.
15. Getting too close.
If you stand too close to someone (nearer than one and a half feet), it signals that you have no respect for or understanding of personal space. This will make people very uncomfortable when they’re around you.
Bringing It All Together
Avoiding these body language blunders will help you form stronger relationships, both professionally and personally.
Are there any other blunders I should add to this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.
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