Do you have a good sense of how you come across at work to your bosses and coworkers? Sure, you might feel like you’re on top of things: you now your tasks and accomplish them well. But never underestimate the ability of your body to give off clues that you’re not as professional as you feel.
You may talk a good game, but are your words being undermined by your posture? A weak-ish handshake? Nervous tics that you, umm, barely even notice? Taking control of your body language is a major part of your career, whether it’s in a job interview or your everyday work self.
Here we’ve put together the best resources for understanding body language so that you can communicate the best version of yourself.
What Can Strong Body Language Do for You?
It may not be a skill you can list on your resume, but strong body language is something that can boost your confidence, and help you know that you’re presenting your best self. It’s a sneaky skill set that can make you more attuned to your surroundings, and navigate those surroundings more easily. Read on to find out how little tweaks can really make you shine:
Of course you only get one chance to make a first impression, but are you aware the impression starts before you even start talking? Strong body language can shine you in a positive light from your first “hello”:
And it’s not just your body language that matters. In order to progress in the working world, you need to learn how to read cues your bosses and coworkers give off. Interpreting others’ body language can help you diagnose problems at work and adjust your behavior in a way that’s ideal for you and your job:
Being aware of what you and your coworkers are saying behind your words is a great skill to have as you navigate your career.
Job Interview Body Language
Your first chance to make a great in-person impression is in your interview. When you’re prepping your resume and your skill-supporting anecdotes, don’t forget to make sure you’re giving just as much prep time to your body language, as well. Bad body language can cost you dearly:
Keep control of your nerves, study yourself in the mirror, and practice, practice, practice. Anticipate those things that will make you nervous, and give yourself a pep talk about what you will do if they come up in your interview.
So how do you prepare? We can’t say it enough—like getting to Carnegie Hall, it really just involves a lot of practice. It can feel tempting to skip through it and figure you’ll just take a deep breath and relax. Really, though, body language is a skill you need to work on as much as answering, “So tell me about yourself.”
These articles can help you target your interview prep so you’re working on all the right moves:
Body Language for Getting Ahead at Work
Once you’ve got the job, that doesn’t mean you can let that handshake lapse, or stop paying attention to your body language while you interact with coworkers. Rather, it’s time to shift into a more aspirational body language, and figure out how to present your best self every day, not just on special/formal occasions.
If you want to be taken seriously, you need take the professionalism that might already exist in your emails, your work, and your phone manner, and extend it to your in-person skills. Take assessment of yourself, and then use the following information to grow and improve:
Finally, for those of you who work internationally, study up! Make sure you have the basics of pleasantries memorized so you a) don’t embarrass yourself and b) present yourself respectfully and professionally:
While your skills, experience, and resume are essential parts of your professional self, be sure not to neglect your physical body language. Good eye contact and a firm handshake can be a solid entry through the door, and confident behavior just may be the key to that promotion or raise you’re seeking.