IS YOUR BODY LANGUAGE KILLING YOUR CAREER CHANCES?

Written on the 5 August 2015

IS YOUR BODY LANGUAGE KILLING YOUR CAREER CHANCES?

STRUGGLING to get the dream job? Failing to impress your boss or colleagues?

It might not be what you're saying that's holding you up, but the subconscious signals you're sending out.

According to experts, the way we communicate with our body the killer looks we give, the way we stand, and even the way we breathe speaks volumes. 

PD Training, one of Australia's largest trainers of professional skills, says unspoken communication accounts for more than half of what we tell others and they tell us.

"A flash of true emotion will typically flicker across the face, even when the feelings are kept in check," says PD Training's global operations director Karen Winfield.

"The body doesn't lie. It conveys the truth and portrays feelings and motives, like attraction, boredom, aggression or deception. It can flag when your presentation is boring or even if someone is lying to you."

Then there are cultural contrasts, differences between women and men, and even "false readings" when we think we understand a signal but it's in fact masked by another condition such as tiredness. 

"At PD Training we're seeing increasing interest in cross-cultural body language as more Australians do business overseas and local teams become more diverse," says Winfield.

"Understanding body language is a core skill across many jobs, but a large proportion of our attendees are in frontline sales or are managers who want to build instant, sub-conscious rapport with people by managing their own body language.

"You don't have to be fluent in body language, but you should learn to adjust to different situations. It makes you a better listener and is particularly useful when negotiating to get the outcome you want." 

Here's five ways you may be getting it wrong.

HEAD NODDIES

By nodding you agree, right? But nodding fast signals impatience. If you hold your head up, you're listening without bias, but down may scream disinterest. 

CROSSED WIRES WITH LEGS CROSSED

Crossing a leg over the other at the knee can indicate stubbornness. An arm or object in front of your body can be a form of self-protection. To show people you're open to their ideas, uncross your legs, relax and keep your arms open.

THE EYES ARE A GIVEAWAY

If you look in the left direction (and up), you're recalling a memory or facts. Looking to the right (and up) however indicates imagination and can mean you're guessing or lying. Direct eye contact and wide eyes means people will think you're sincere and interested.  

HANDY TO KNOW

We all gesticulate when communicating but hands can give away your secrets. Hiding hands or holding palms down indicates a lie, as can no hand movement at all. If you touch your nose and mouth while talking, it can be seen as hiding the spoken lie. 

A SMILE CAN BETRAY

What's your smile like? Does it not quite reach the eyes? Then you're not genuine. People who lie are also more likely to lick their lips after speaking. Women typically smile more often than men, but don't be fooled they're just being polite.

One final tip, be careful about interpreting every action as a lie as factors such as stress and insecurity can raise false suspicions.


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