Don’t Let Body Language Sabotage You!

Conflict ResolutionDr. Travis Bradberry contributed an article to the Huffington Post entitled, 15 Body Language Secrets of Successful People, and asserts that our bodies have a language of their own, and their words aren’t always kind.

The perspective of this article is slightly different because the Dr. Bradberry focuses on successful people rather than the general population. The successful people to which he refers, have made their body language an integral part of who they are, and perhaps most of us should take a cue from them.

He lists fifteen body language behaviors that should be avoided so as not to sabotage yourself. As I read through them, I found five of them resonated with me. However you can read the original article here.

Here are the five (5) behaviors that resonated with me.

  1. Turning away from others – Turning yourself away from others, or not leaning into your conversation, suggests that you are not engaged, not interested, not comfortable or possibly distrustful. A more helpful behavior would be to lean towards the speaker and tilt your head slightly as you listen to them.
  2. Crossed arms — Crosses arms and/or legs suggest physical barriers. Even if you’re smiling or engaged in a pleasant conversation, the other person may get a nagging sense that you’re shutting him or her out. I believe that there is a gender component to behavior of crossed legs. So, depending on the cultural norms that are expected of you, body positions should be selected accordingly.
  3. Intense eye contact – Intensive eye contact could be perceived as aggressive, or an attempt to dominate. Eye contact for seven to ten seconds is considered normal. How eye contact is broken matters because glancing down communicates submission, while looking to the side projects confidence.
  4. Scowling – An unhappy expression could send the message that you are upset by those around you, even if they have nothing to do with your mood. Frowns and scowls turn people away, because they feel judged. Smiles tend to suggest openness, trustworthiness, confidence and friendliness. This behavior tends to leave a positive impression.
  5. Violating personal space – Getting closer than 18 inches could signal that you lack respect and understanding of personal space. This will make some people quite uncomfortable when you are around them.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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