Body language is a powerful non-verbal tool that can communicate a wide range of emotions and messages.
In the workplace, it is particularly important to be aware of the signals we are sending and receiving through our body language. This is because the way we communicate using our bodies can greatly impact how we are perceived by our colleagues and managers. And can also affect our own performance and productivity.
Just imagine how you feel when someone isn’t looking at your face while you’re talking to them. Or when you are discussing an important matter with your colleague and they seem to be glancing at their phone. Rude right?
While we all understand that body language is an important part of communication, it is equally important to understand the reasons behind this importance. Here are seven of them:
1. First impressions count
The way we use our bodies when we first meet someone can create a lasting impression. A confident and open posture can convey trustworthiness and competence, while a closed or defensive posture can indicate the opposite. Being aware of your body language when meeting new colleagues or clients can help to ensure that you make a positive first impression.
2. Building trust and rapport
Nonverbal communication, such as maintaining eye contact, nodding, and mirroring the other person’s body language can help to build trust and rapport with colleagues and clients. People are more likely to be open and honest with you if they feel that we are listening actively and understanding them.
3. Improving communication
Being aware of others’ body language can also help to improve communication. For example, if someone is crossing their arms or avoiding eye contact, they may be feeling defensive or disengaged. By picking up on these cues, we can adjust our own communication style to better connect with that person.
4. Increasing confidence and assertiveness
Paying attention to our own body can also help to increase our confidence and assertiveness in the workplace. For example, standing up straight and maintaining eye contact can convey confidence and authority, while fidgeting or looking down can convey the opposite.
5. Showing respect and attentiveness
Body language is also important for showing respect and attentiveness to our colleagues and managers. Simple gestures such as nodding and maintaining eye contact can indicate that we are actively listening and engaged in the conversation.
6. Demonstrating authority and power
It can also be used to demonstrate authority and power in the workplace. For example, maintaining open and expansive body postures can give off a more powerful and confident attitude. On the other hand, slouching or crossing arms could be interpreted as less assertive or weaker.
7. Avoiding conflicts
Being aware of our own and others’ body language can also help to avoid conflicts. For example, by picking up on cues of defensiveness or aggression, we can take steps to defuse the situation before it escalates. By being conscious of our own body language and its impact on others, we can help to create a more positive and productive work environment.
We have heard time and again that 90% of all communication is non-verbal. And in a time when “communication skills’ are listed on literally every other job offer, being conscious of how your body responds is definitely a skill. Or maybe even art.
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Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash Photo by Lopez Robin on Unsplash Photo by Milad Fakurian on Unsplash