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Is Your Body Language Harming Your Promotion Chances?

Is Your Body Language Harming Your Promotion Chances?

I’m sure you’ve heard from someone before that 80 or even 90 percent of our communication with one another comes from our body language or seen as non-verbal. This statistic has been batted around so much that we just believe it as soon as we hear it. But it is actually true? To put it bluntly; it depends. While the majority of our communication with people is from our body language, it doesn’t always tell the whole tale. The environment a person is in or how well you know a person can drastically change the impact of body language on communication. However, in an office environment, taking a mental note of your body language and changing accordingly can go a long way to securing yourself a promotion. Meeting new people has become a regular occurrence in modern offices, and presenting yourself in a way that fits the situation is vital if you want to give a good first impression. Not only can you change your body language to impress new clients, but it can also have a big impact on how your co-workers and your boss perceive you within the office.

    No matter how smart you are or how awesome your performance reviews have been, your body language may still be holding you back from a truly deserved promotion because you come across timid, quiet and lacking confidence. Put these few tips into practice to take that next step to a well deserved promotion:

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    Calming Body Language

    A business environment can easily become stressful when things aren’t going your way. Having a calming body language can have a significant impact on other people’s moods. A stressful or threatening presence can escalate a situation which is never helpful.

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    • Open gestures – By keeping your movements and gestures relaxed and open will keep the conversation calm. Showing the palms of your hands says “I have nothing to hide” which will keep people around you relaxed. This is especially useful in a meeting. Closing in on yourself (such as crossed arms) tells people you are nervous and unwilling.
    • Remember to smile – It may sound like an obvious one but you’d be surprised how many people forget to smile. Smiling shows confidence and positivity. Chances are, if you smile at someone, they will smile back.

    Rapport-Building Body Language

    Building a rapport with a colleague, your boss or a client is always a good thing and it works especially well in an interview.

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    • Mirroring – Mirroring body posture and movements is a great way to tell the person you are communicating with that you are a ‘friend’ and not a ‘foe’. While this tactic can work in an array of environments, be careful with it. The trick is to do it subtly. If the person cons onto the fact you are mirroring them they may become agitated.
    • Use contact – A simple touch of the arm or a pat on the back can go a long way to securing a rapport with someone you may have lost all hope with. Plucking up the courage to do so may be hard for some people, but it shows a sign of appreciation and respect to one another.

    Assertive Body Language

    • Stand tall and take up space – Again, what may seem like an obvious thing to do, many people don’t. Take note at the way you stand next time you are conversing with a fellow co-worker or your boss. By keeping your posture erect and your shoulders back, you will exude confidence and grab people’s attention. Not only can you do that, but take up more space as you do it. By walking around you will add to that impression and gather respect.
    • Strong handshake – Meeting anyone important for the first time can be nervous occasion for some people. More so if you offer a limp hand shake. Take command of the situation and grip the other person’s hand firmly. Remember, this is not a contest! Don’t crush the other persons hand to the point of awkwardness.

    With that all said, it’s now time to put it into practice. But try these tips one at a time, so not to come across as ‘trying too hard’. Not only do these tips offer a great way to build relationships with existing co-workers, they are also useful for putting into practice on a nervous first day of work at a new place. Surviving your first day at a brand new job can be stressful and it’s always worth being prepared. I thought it would also be worth mentioning a few things not to do at work which may hinder people’s positive impression of you:

    1. Avoid your pockets
    2. Don’t fidget
    3. Never bite your nails
    4. Standing too close is a big no-no
    5. Touching your face is an indication of deception
    6. Avoid crossing your arms
    7. Do not frantically tap your fingers or feet

    Related Article: 15 Tricks To Read Body Languages

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    Last Updated on July 16, 2019

    7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

    7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

    Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

    In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

    There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

    1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

    The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

    Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

    Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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    2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

    When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

    The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

    It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

    By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

    3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

    At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

    Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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    Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

    You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

    Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

    4. Don’t Take Sides

    In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

    In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

    By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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    5. Don’t Get Personal

    In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

    People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

    To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

    Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

    6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

    The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

    Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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    Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

    7. Think Win-Win

    As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

    In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

    Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

    Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

    People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

    Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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