4 Body Language Mistakes in the Office

4 Body Language Mistakes in the Office

When you’ve worked so hard to climb the corporate ladder and have put so much effort into building your education and technical skills, that last thing you want is to damage your professional reputation with the wrong body language gestures in the office.

To help maintain your pristine professional reputation, here’s some body language gestures you should avoid at work:

Twisting or Playing With Your Hair

This is something that women are more prone to do than men. It’s carried over from childhood. Young girls use this motion to display their innocence and charm. But innocence and charm has no place in the office. When you’re in a meeting or are talking with a colleague and you have a tendency to twist your hair, make a conscious effort to stop. If necessary, hold a pen to distract you.

Image courtesy of Stock Images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stock Images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Invading Other’s Cubicle Space

A cubicle is a person’s work space and personal space. Even though there’s no door, you still need to treat a cubicle the same way you would somebody’s office. If you need to speak with somebody inside their cubicle, always knock/tap the side of the cubicle and ask if that person has time to talk. Never simply enter their cubicle area abruptly – they could get quite annoyed.

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Slouching During Meetings

I know meetings can get boring, and you may occasionally think to yourself “Why am I even here?” But your body language should never show that. In meetings, it’s imperative that you look interested, confident and present at all times especially if you want to uphold your professional reputation. You never know if you’re being considered for a promotion or an advancement. Keep those doors open all the time.

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shaking Hands While Sitting Down

Handshakes should always be given and received while standing up. It’s a simple way to extend courtesy and respect to another person. If you’re sitting down when somebody enters the room, stand up, move away from the table and shake that person’s hand without any barriers between you and that person. You’ll be surprised at how much respect can be conveyed by such a simple move.

What is your pet-peeve when it comes to body language gestures in the office? Share your comment with me in the section below.

Header image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Graphics added by Kara Ronin.

About Kara

Kara Ronin is an international business etiquette expert and founder of Executive Impressions. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider India, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Daily Muse, Women 2.0, and more. Kara offers corporate seminars and online training programs on business etiquette, leadership skills, and executive communication around the world. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox