Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Body Language Surprises

A few weeks ago I sent out a request from Facebook asking people about body language they found annoying, distracting or rude. The answers I received were very interesting because many of their responses would not be classified as body language in a ‘Body Language’ article or book. Their responses tell us that so much of what we do is classified or interpreted as body language by others and we need to understand this as we move through our professional lives.
Understanding how we are physically perceived and the messages we send without speaking is critical to our success. The standard basics:
1. Stand up straight
2. Do not fold your arms across your chest
3. Open hand gestures palms up
4. Looking people in the eye
Were not among any of the responses I received. The following were some of the responses I received:

1. Wearing sunglasses any time you are talking with another person, while being interviewed on TV or in a picture.
2. Women that insist they need a giant bright colored purse to ‘express’ their true self and then manage to fling it over their shoulder, often hitting people as they move through their day. I received many negative comments about large purses.
3. Invading intimate and personal space.
4. Men wearing hats or baseball caps indoors for any reason.
5. Playing with or checking your phone in the presence of anyone.
6. How people behave in meetings: folding their arms, leaning back and disengaging, rolling their eyes, avoiding eye contact with the speaker or other members of the group.
7. Women who wear too high of heels and lurch as they walk, appearing as if their shoes have overtaken their body.
8. Women who play with their hair, anytime, anyplace. Twirling, stroking, caressing hair is unprofessional. This also applies to mustaches and beards.
9. Chewing gum in public reduces you to an adolescent without a any sense of professionalism.

What we perceive as our personal body language messages may not even come close to what others perceive and are receiving from us. Make sure you are sending the message(s) you intend to send.
------------------------------------------------------------------------- By Ellen Reddick, Managing Partner, “You Are The Message,” Phone: 801.581.0369, Ellen@impactfactoryutah.com

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