Body Languages Cues in the Workplace

Now that we are going back to the office, we are getting used to socializing and understanding each other’s body language again. Here are some tips for portraying confidence in the workplace, both in person and on zoom.

Using Body Language

Being aware of your own body language is extremely important. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’ve started to slouch and look off to the side, which can be very unappealing and rude to whoever is speaking to you.

How you use your body language can influence the way others perceive you and respond to you in the workplace, whether it is over zoom or in person. Body language can help improve your productivity, by making your appear more confident, thereby leading to you becoming more confident in yourself. Attitude is everything.

When in a meeting, on zoom or in person, try your best to sit up straight, lean forward when something interesting is said, and aim to make eye contact at least three times.

While over zoom one thing you should make sure you never do is be caught looking around, spinning in your chair, or having your camera off.  It is easy to get distracted over zoom but it is very important to show focus and interest in the meeting, by having your camera on, while you are facing the screen and sitting still. Over zoom it may be a little more difficult to show interest in what is being said, but try to utilize the chat feature if it’s a group, or if it is a one-on-one meeting, leave your microphone on to make it as much of a normal in person conversation as possible. The same rules apply for an in-person meetings, minus keeping your camera or microphone on. But whether in person or not, sit up straight, lean in or nod when something of interest is said, and try your best with keeping direct eye contact.

Being aware of your own body language isn’t the only important part. Being able to interpret someone else’s body language can be a huge help in the workplace too. By getting a good understanding of what someone’s body language tells you, will make you more successful in group work projects and communicating with your coworkers, making you even more valuable to your employer.

Understanding Body Language

You want to understand body language to improve how you use body language, and for interpreting someone else’s body language.

Before understanding it, you need to observe body language. You are most likely already doing this to other people without realizing, such as noticing when someone yawns while you’re talking or if they are looking around or not really paying attention. What might be a little more difficult is noticing yourself being guilty of the yawn or daydreaming. There may be some trial and error when trying to improve your body language, but being more observant of others will make you think of how you are being perceived as well.

Another tip for understanding body language is being considerate of what the other person may be going through. By being in the workplace, you get to know your coworkers pretty well, and sometimes have a sense of what they may be working on. If you need to talk with a coworker and they are tapping their feet, or not looking at you, checking the time, and just nodding through the conversation without really listening, you may think they are bothered or annoyed by you when in reality they just have a deadline coming up, or are stressed. Being aware of the office work others have will make you better understand what you coworkers’ body language is really telling you. While them rushing you may still be rude, it can help you to go about the situation in a better way. Try saying ‘we can talk at a more convenient time,’ or ‘How about I just send this information in an email and we can talk tomorrow?’ This will make work better and more effective for you and your coworker.

A person’s body language can tell you a lot in such a short time, so being observant and understanding is key to knowing how others are feeling and how you can improve your own body language. In person and zoom meetings don’t have many differences besides distractions, which can sometimes be out of your control. Do your best to maintain that positive body language.

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