The office is a wonderful place to make lasting friendships with colleagues, learn from great bosses and make yourself the go-to guy when anyone is in trouble. But there are body language mistakes men make at the workplace that send out the wrong signals and mess up their chances.
Our expert Dr Aman Bhonsle says that for men getting the right body language at the workplace is vital. How can you get it right? He tells you.
5 Body Language Mistakes Men Should Never Make At Work
You could be well-groomed and a glib talker and fulfilling the targets or keeping to the deadlines regularly but then you could be making some body language mistakes that you are yourself unaware of. As a result your colleagues resent you and your boss feels you are trying to be the self proclaimed smart guy around. Be careful. There are a few body language mistakes men make at the workplace and they should be careful never to commit these five mistakes.
1. Maintain a distance with the opposite sex
I think, basically when you are working in an office with a good mix of genders, it is very important to keep a safe and respectful physical distance from the opposite sex. Otherwise, you know, if you start acting like you are in a party and start giving like, friendly punches to a woman on her shoulder and say, “Hey, how are you?” or “What’s up?” or keep trying to find excuses to put your arms around a woman then it is a huge body language mistake you are making.
The work environment varies from office to office because it is not the same everywhere. Say, if you work in any advertising agency or any office that does media related work or a film production company, it is a lot less formal than you could say in a law firm or you know, people in the medical profession.
So, you know, excessive touching, excessive proximity or even making comments about another person’s body, like “Oh, why are you wearing this?!” or “You’re looking like this..” is not acceptable. It does not come under body language but I feel it is very important to be aware. As a man you need to have those boundaries because we live in a country where women don’t feel very safe in general. Many incidents have taken place which have violated or outraged a woman’s modesty.
2. Don’t be over-friendly
What happens very often is that people come to an office and they expect to make friends. So their demeanour can be sometimes over-friendly. In my opinion, that is also a problem sometimes because you are not in your college canteen anymore. An office is an organization, an organization has a very specific goal and certain rules and regulations which you are bound to follow. If you have been hired, it means that you are being paid money for your time and your expertise, not for your ability to become the most likeable and liveliest person in the office.
When you spend such a long period of time with the people you work with, of course, you make friends, you make connections but that is not the only reason you are there.
One of the common mistakes that people make is that they are being over friendly and start disclosing details about their personal life too soon. They need to realize that a colleague might be friendly, but the colleague is not a friend.
Very often, the things that you say in your office environment can follow you in other places and your professional reputation gets affected as a result of all that you say. Sometimes people also need to be aware of how much they say, to whom they are saying and why they are talking about what they are.
3. Fidgeting and scratching are strict no-nos
I think generally being very fidgety, scratching yourself in public, cracking your knuckles loudly, or yawning extremely loudly in the office are extremely annoying and vital body language mistakes men make in the workplace. Fidgeting with certain gadgets for long periods of time at their desks and making a noise like playing the tabla at the desk are extremely annoying habits that colleagues could hate.
Or just general stuff, like not dressing properly, stinking, not grooming yourself properly, just letting your beard grow without shaping or trimming it can push you down the dark hole of office etiquette.
Sometimes people can spit while talking, because they are talking extremely fast and that can be a big turn off.
4. Avoid over familiarity with men too
Sometimes what happens is that men may try to get very physical with other male colleagues and they might hit them on their shoulder, “Hey buddy, what are you doing?”
They might even give them a punch or squeeze their arm or try to grab them by their shoulder. That is extremely offensive behaviour. If you do this abroad, you will be sitting in front of HR. In India we often let it slide, saying “Oh, we are men, we are just boys.”
Trying to use your body to be over familiar with someone who might not be interested in knowing you the way you are interested in knowing them is also a big mistake.
5. Never ever do these abominable things
Things like picking your teeth in public, picking your nose in public, putting your finger in your ear and scratching it. Just generally, making loud or clacking sounds with your feet or standing very close to someone while talking to them.
Sometimes people talk very loudly and they are also standing very close to you. They don’t realize that they need to keep a safe distance while interacting. These are the mistakes that people make. Maybe they picked these habits while growing up or in school, maybe their fathers did it and they have observed it and picked it up.
Sometimes, it might be just a reflection of how nervous they are feeling at that moment. Sometimes, nervous people might just not make eye contact and keep looking at their phones. Imagine looking at your phone while you are working and your colleague might just think that you are distracted or disinterested. This is a major problem at an organization and you just need to be comfortable in your own skin to be most productive. You don’t want to appear nervous, fidgety or distracted.
Most men end up making a few of these body language mistakes that we pointed out here. They fail to understand a work environment is totally different from a school, college or club environment. So it’s important to ensure that men are not making these body language mistakes in the workplace that we just now discussed. Sobriety and etiquette do help men to climb up the ladder of success.