Your body language speaks loudly when you are in conversation, whether with co-workers, friends, or family.
When you make a conscious decision to use your body language to communicate with others, you will have improved communications, more opportunity to connect with people, and ultimately be more likely to influence people.
We’ve found 10 ways that can hurt you when you are trying to communicate with your spouse, a family member, or friend.
Try to avoid these common behaviors so that you can build up your relationships and influence more people in your life.
10 Ways Body Language Can Have a Negative Effect on Your Influence
#1 – Rolling Your Eyes
Rolling your eyes is one of the most common ways people use body language to show their disagreement. Often, people roll their eyes so much that it’s just a natural instinct.
The problem with rolling your eyes is that it’s a passive-agressive way to disagree with the person you’re talking to, so instead try making eye contact with the person to whom you are speaking. Making eye contact will build your connection and increase your influence in the future.
#2 – Crossing Your Arms, Legs, or Feet
Crossing your arms and legs is a comfortable way to sit or stand, but it can come across as negative. Remember your goal is to use body language to build rapport with the person you are talking to. Crossing your arms and legs can come across as defensive, stubborn, or distant breaking your rapport.
#3 – Not Mirroring the Person You’re Speaking With
When you mirror a person that you are talking to it shows increased engagement in the conversation, leads to a deeper connection, and allows you to build more trust.
#4 – Not Making Eye Contact
Making eye contact with a person can sometimes feel awkward. But not making eye contact with the person you are having a conversation with can hurt your chances of creating an authentic relationship. You may feel awkward or embarrassed to make eye contact during a conversation, but it can produce a deeper connection.
#5 Looking Bored
This is rude behavior when you are trying to build a deeper relationship with someone. You need to stay actively engaged in the conversation, so staring off in space while someone is talking to you will convey a lack of interest. Your friend or spouse will see you as only taking in the relationship and you will lose your opportunity to influence.
#6 Not Smiling
Smiling is a powerful way to convey trust, confidence, and show your engagement. When you give a smile to the person you are talking to you become more trustworthy and approachable. Make sure you are smiling in a genuine way and at appropriate times. If the person you are talking to is upset, then it is better to lead with sympathy and work your way to smiling.
#7 – Using Exaggerated Gestures
When you are in an important discussion with your spouse or a friend using exaggerated gestures conveys that you are not taking the conversation seriously. Overly exaggerated gestures can make you seem childish and you will lose respect along with your influence in the conversation.
#8 – Facing Away from the Conversation
When your body is turned away from the conversation it shows a lack of respect for the person you are talking to. You can appear preoccupied with another task, leading the other person to believe they are not valuable enough for the conversation.
#9 – Using Your Phone
Using your phone during a conversation is just another distraction. You are devaluing the person in front of you by giving your attention away to another task. The person in front of you will feel frustrated and disengaged from the conversation.
#10 – Leaning Away from the Person
Leaning in towards a person shows that you are interested in them and what they have to say. When a person feels that you are interested in them it causes them to feel important and valued.
If you are leaning away from the person, arms crossed, etc. you are creating a barrier between you.
Remember, building influence takes time. It’s about building a respectful relationship. Your focus should be to become genuinely interested in the people you want to influence. With this as your focus you can consciously think about your body language and how you can use it to show your interest in people.