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5 Huge Body Language Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Chances At Work

5 Huge Body Language Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Chances At Work

The importance of effective body language in our professional lives cannot be stressed enough. Whether you are at a job interview or are giving a speech or an important presentation at your workplace, if your body language is positive and effective, more than half your job is done. Remember that body language came before speech and 80% of the message that you “get” or “give” in a conversation is read through non-verbal communication and not the actual words. We have written about the tips for effectively employing this powerful tool at work, and now we give you the biggest body language mistakes that you need to watch out for and avoid at work:

Body Language Mistakes #1 – Avoiding Eye Contact:

When you avoid eye contact, it reflects your lack of confidence. Maintaining a steady eye contact with your audience helps build a rapport, and makes you appear less shifty. Remember to take breaks in between maintaining eye contact, lest you appear to be staring. Looking at someone constantly, for an extended period of time could be interpreted as aggressive, but mostly it would be interpreted as creepy!

Body Language Mistakes #2 – A Weak Handshake:

Handshakes are tricky things and need to be ‘just right’, not too weak, and not too firm. A weak handshake indicates lack of authority and confidence, while an overly firm handshake would come across as aggressive. The best handshakes are described as brief, yet ‘firm’. Also, maintaining eye contact while shaking hands is a must.

Body Language Mistakes #3 – Exaggerated Gestures:

Exaggerated gestures are a sign of you having failed at effective verbal articulation. Be in control of your gestures, avoid being too forceful and gesticulating too often. It takes away from the real weight of the matter and is extremely distracting for the onlooker(s).

Body Language Mistakes #4 – Bad Posture:

While it is important to feel comfortable, it is more important to not get so comfortable that you appear lazy, nonchalant and uninterested. When seated, avoid slouching which makes you look lazy or leaning forward which makes you look aggressive. Sit as upright as possible, with your hands on your lap. When standing, maintain a comfortable posture while drawing the complete possible length of your height, but at the same time taking care to not appear stiff.

Body Language Mistakes #5 – Fidgeting:

Constantly fidgeting or fixing your hair/clothes, et al., makes you appear as though you are anxious, nervous, overly self-conscious or distracted. The nervous energy would definitely be visible to the onlooker(s) and succeed in doing the very opposite of what you intended to, distract them instead of holding their attention.

Being aware and conscious of your body language, and working on it is an effort worth making. Be it your professional, or personal life, your body language is something that will always create a lasting impression. It reflects your maturity, professionalism and confidence and speaks a great deal about how you carry yourself. After all, it is the language you speak with, without even speaking a word. Like Peter Guber says,

“Language is a more recent technology. Your body language, your eyes, your energy will come through to your audience before you even start speaking.”

What do you think ? What are the other big body language blunders that we consciously or unconsciously make ? We would love to hear back from you.

And here is a bonus : We came across this powerful Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy, a renowned social psychologist.who shows how “power posing” – standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. Check out the high power and low power poses that she demonstrates in the video as well. She shows us that we can actually fake it to become it (yes, no kidding!). Bravo, Amy!


The Top Five Ted Talks on Leadership

The Top Five Ted Talks on Leadership

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy

The Ted-Talks series which turned 30 in 2014, began as a one-time event and has evolved into a platform of sharing and receiving for professional and personal development, indeed a “star making factory”, by those who have been there, done that. Motivation and inspiration cannot get more real-time than this. With technology at our fingertips, we are now able to view these tremendously powerful talks, sitting miles away from the real venue and without any cost. We have written about must-read books on leadership, must-watch inspirational movies and now it is time for TED – a fantastic source for life-long learning, something that we at Oorja Biz Ops deeply believe in. To be a great leader, you have to be ready to evolve continuously, to learn and grow every day. We have picked our favourites here for the top five Ted talks on leadership. Read on and make sure you watch them, because they are all ‘real’ leaders, in the ‘real’ ‘world of work’, therefore trust what is coming straight from the horse’s mouth!

  1. Rosalinde Torres: What it takes to be a great leader – http://www.ted.com/talks/roselinde_torres_what_it_takes_to_be_a_great_leader

Leadership expert, Rosalinde Torres summarizes 25 years of her work experience of leading people, and seeing great leaders at work in 3 succinct questions for aspiring company chiefs, which are potentially questions they might as well lives their professional lives by. Indeed, “The world is full of leadership programs, but the best way to learn how to lead might be right under your nose”! [1]

  1. Simon Sinek: Why good leaders make you feel safe – https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_why_good_leaders_make_you_feel_safe

“I try to find, celebrate and teach leaders how to build platforms that will inspire others.” — Simon Sinek. Which is exactly what he does in this brilliant talk. Sinek speaks about the qualities that make a good leader, the most essential quality being the ability to create trust in employees, or as he says, “being able to draw staffers into a circle of trust, especially in an uneven economy”. He talks about the importance of making your employees feel secure, and how it is directly proportional to their personal and professional productivity.

  1. Stefan Sagmeister: The power of time off – http://www.ted.com/talks/stefan_sagmeister_the_power_of_time_off

The great poet William Henry Davies couldn’t have summed it up better – “What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.” Designer Stefan Sagmeister speaks exactly of this, only connecting it to our professional productivity and how “time off” affects our leadership skills. He speaks about how it is important to step back every now and then, take stalk, re-assess and re-plan. He talks about how every seven years he closes his New York studio for a year-long sabbatical and how this break re-ignites his creativity and helps motivate those working with him. 

  1. Derek Sivers: How to start a movement – http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement

And entrepreneur Derek Sivers shows you how to do that in just 3 minutes and 9 seconds with the help of the video of a funny man dancing in a park. He speaks about how important it is for a leader to be uninhibited, which is possible only if he believes wholeheartedly in his own idea and is ready to face ridicule and sarcasm. More than that, it also teaches us about the importance of the “first follower” and the importance of treating the follower more as an equal, and the idea then becoming about “them” rather than “his”, or “hers”. A brilliant talk to start your day with!

  1. Kare Anderson – Be an opportunity maker – http://www.ted.com/talks/kare_anderson_be_an_opportunity_maker

For someone who was diagnosed as “phobically shy” in her childhood, Kare Anderson has sure come a long, long way. In this incredibly powerful talk, Anderson talks about how she helped herself develop by helping other people. How she discovered her talents and passions by helping other people discover theirs. A truly noble and symbiotic insight into how more people should understand the concept of “leadership”.

Have your own favorite talks to share which we’ve missed? Do let us know what they are so that we can listen to them too! Happy Leading!