You’ve probably heard how important body language is. It can literally make or break a sale. In the business world, dollars are attached to the outcome, so it is important to make sure you take body language—as in everything you are saying non-verbally—into account.
Body language includes all the things that are being said by everything from your posture to the way you play with your hair in the midst of a conversation. Believe it or not, all these things express what you may not be saying verbally, and the person on the other side of the table is picking up on every non-verbal word!
Here are some of the most common mistakes that people make:
1. Looking at your Computer/ Portable Phone
If you are looking at your computer or phone when someone is talking to you, it’s a clear signal that you are not interested in what they are saying. It’s also a sign of pure arrogance. Turn the device off and put it out of site.
One tip here—if you need to take notes, avoid taking them on your cellular phone because it will look like you are texting. Instead, opt for using the old pen and paper. Ironically, even if you are doodling out of site on paper, you will be looked at more favorably than if you are typing notes into your PDA.
2. Clasping and rubbing hands together
If you are doing this it says you are nervous or uncomfortable. Rubbing your hands together may also be an indicator that you believe you have sealed the deal and money is headed your way. This could be seen as arrogant. Let your hands naturally rest at your sides or on your lap, depending on if you are sitting or standing. Also, avoid doing things like cracking your knuckles, which is believed to be a macho attention seeking behavior.
3. Dressing messy
There is cool, stylish and there is, well, just plain sloppy. If you look sloppy, it will come across that you are unprofessional and just don’t care. It may also be an indicator of the way you do business. But if you are stylish and well put together, on the other hand, it shows that you are current and caring.
4. Clock watching
Whether it is looking at your watch or checking the time on the wall, it says to the other person that you have something more important than what they are saying. It will make the other person feel rushed as well. Forget the time and focus on the meeting at hand.
5. Arm crossing
Keep tabs on what you do with your arms. If you have them crossed, it makes you look defensive and closed off, or that you are disregarding what they are saying. Open your arms so that you appear to be inviting.
6. Eye rolling
You have to know that every word coming out of your mouth, no matter how sincere it may sound, will be instantly defeated with even a half a second rolling of the eyes. Save the eye rolling for when you are back in your car or office and out of sight.
7. No eye contact
When you are looking everywhere but at the person in the eye, it makes them think you can’t be trusted and that you are holding something back. Make good eye contact to build trust and show you are engaged and interested.
In the business world you have just a minute or two to pull someone in. But one of these business body language blunders can take just seconds. Don’t lose a deal or customer simply because you weren’t on your body language game. Keep these tips in mind so that your body works for you, rather than against you!