9 Body Language Mistakes That Can Give Others the Wrong Impression of You

It’s been said that people form an impression of you within the first 30 seconds of meeting you. And our body language is more important for making a good impression than what we say, verbally. So, it’s important that we focus on the person we are meeting from the very first moment rather than try to reverse a bad impression at a later date. Not that correcting a bad impression is undoable, but why resort to that when you can enchant someone from the get-go?

Bright Side would like to give you some advice about all the negative body behaviors that we don’t realize affect the opinions others have of us.

1. Staring at your watch

This action will give your colleagues the idea that you’re terribly bored of them and are looking forward to getting out of there. If you are indeed in a hurry and need to leave at a specific time, let everyone know. Put a silent alarm on your phone and when the time comes, excuse yourself. People tend to be more understanding when they are aware of a certain situation or problem.

2. Having a weak and unsure handshake

A weak handshake sends the message that you don’t care about the other person. This is specifically bad when it’s someone from your workplace and you give them a negative impression without realizing it. That’s why a firm (but not too strong) handshake can make the other person feel engaged and important. Also, try to maintain soft, warm eye contact, but not too intense since this might make others feel uncomfortable.

3. Blocking the space between you and other people

This means that when you talk to others, you tend to keep things between you, therefore, creating an unnecessary distance. For example, if you’re holding your phone or book, leave them to the side or on the table while having a conversation. You don’t want the other person to think that they are interrupting you from something that you need to get back to immediately. By removing any items that stand between you, both of you will feel more connected.

4. Getting too close to people

A person’s personal space extends from 1.5 to 4 feet (45 cm to 122 cm), a distance that strangers won’t cross without permission. Violating that space tends to make people uncomfortable and gives them a bad vibe about you. They might also think that you are generally someone who has a hard time understanding boundaries and has aggressive tendencies. So if someone isn’t a close friend or family member, you’d better keep your distance.

5. Nervously picking lint off of your clothes

Lint can get annoying sometimes, but leave it alone when you’re in a meeting with someone. This action tells them that you’re completely uninterested in what they are saying. Not only that, but they might think that you disapprove of their ideas and don’t want to give them your honest feedback. You don’t want to show others disrespect, and you definitely don’t want others to lose their respect for you.

6. Rubbing your hands together when at a business meeting

Rubbing your hands while someone is doing a presentation or expressing their ideas might tell them that you’re not impressed. They might feel totally intimidated at that time and lose their flow of speech. This behavior also creates distance between the 2 of you since you are giving away negative vibes. So, instead of rubbing your hands, you can simply leave them resting on your chair or at the sides of your body.

7. Turning your feet away from the person in front of you

Your feet are directed according to the rest of your body, and their angle shows where you want to go. If they point away from the person you are talking to, it sends them the message that talking to them isn’t your priority. You might need to go to the bathroom or take your lunch break, but it’s important to stay engaged in your conversation. And you will achieve that by keeping your feet positioned toward the other person.

8. Sitting at the edge of your seat

The way you sit during a business meeting or dinner can send various messages to everyone involved. Sitting at the edge of your seat shows that you are uncomfortable and not confident in yourself and your opinions. That’s why you need to sit comfortably on your chair and keep your posture straight and relaxed. This way, you’ll show everyone that you are confident and sure of yourself and your ideas.

9. Not mirroring other people’s behavior

We are not talking about copying people’s behavior like a robot — simply follow their lead. For example, if someone smiles or nods, you can do the same and show them that you are following what they are saying. They will feel that they have your support and trust and continue what they were saying with even more confidence. Mirroring is also a nice way to try and understand the other person and see things from their perspective.

Are there any other body language mistakes that you’ve caught yourself or others doing?

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