Body language is a very important part of a woman’s day to day interactions. It tells a lot about her as a person. Female body language also changes as interactions change from formal to casual. As we all know we cannot exude the same body language at the workplace as we do at home or in interactions with friends.
What are those female body language mistakes? In this detailed interview, psychiatrist and cognitive therapist Dr Shefali Batra tells us what are some female body language mistakes and also what can be done to correct those.
What Is The Office Etiquette That Should Be Followed When You Are A Woman?
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There are two things that a woman leader needs to express through her body language, rather any leader needs to express through their body language. One side of female body language is warmth and the other is authority. When we say warmth, we mean that the person is approachable, empathetic, understanding and actually cares.
The body language of women is not just about subtly communicating. It also presents a vibration, an energy, and gives an aura to the personality of the women.
You also want to show that you are likable by the way you communicate with the people around you. People around us are real followers, but the leaders I am talking about here are not essentially transactional leaders, but transformational leaders.
Transformational leaders want to show warmth. However, showing warmth does not mean they are your friend. Similarly, they show authority without showing aggression. It means that a woman has a sense of control, a sense of power. She has status and credibility. If we are talking about a confident woman, her body language should be all about this aspect.
Transformational leadership is about being a leader yet being a soft-hearted person. So, I will give the next few points on how we can express these leadership qualities effectively and how women can actually mess up in these two because when they want to show warmth, they end up actually showing that they are too submissive. When they want to show authority and power, they end up being too aggressive.
On these two fundamental aspects, we will have further discussion on how women at the workplace can navigate such things.
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Female Body Language At The Workplace – Dos
We can focus on different body parts to explain the body language mistakes made by women at the workplace. Female body language at the workplace can either work in a woman’s favor or spell doom. Here are the top 3 body language traits that women must work at inculcating:
1. Be careful how you use your eyes
The human eyes are essential for self-expression. The mistake that women make with their eyes is they do not make eye contact while having a conversation or discussion at their workplace. That is a sign of low self-esteem and low self-confidence.
If women disapprove of something, it is very very characteristic of them to roll their eyes and they do not realize it. This is still okay with friends but if they do it at work, it gives a subtle wrong message that they are being dismissive.
When women want to appear authoritative they end up opening their eyes too wide. This ends up creating a very nasty stare and it becomes evident that they are trying too hard.
Then comes fluttering their eyes. Now the eye fluttering is cute if you are on a date but not desirable as a workplace behavior.
Then, there is a tendency to give out a flirtatious stare, which should be avoided because it gives subtle sexual messages at the workplace.
Therefore, harsh stares or fluttering of eyes can send wrong signals to your boss or colleagues at the workplace. Either you come across as being too submissive or too domineering.
2. Nod your head and not tilt
One of the female body language aspects is the head tilt. To understand it better, let’s talk about the head and the entire facial structure. A woman usually keeps her head titled- her neck is usually not straight- it is just a feminine tendency. Now, that tilt in the head does not look very professional among women at the workplace.
It is important to say “yes” or “no” with a clear nod of the head. Sometimes nodding too much when someone is talking can make that person confused and make you look overenthusiastic. Avoid it.
3. Avoid too much lip movement
Licking the lips with your tongue is a sign of under confidence. Smiling too much also sends a wrong message. I have seen it personally people who want others to give some attention to their presentations smile too much and it looks inappropriate.
Smiling in context is totally fine, but when you just smile to generate that sense of camaraderie, it just doesn’t work and looks out of place. Smiling too much could give people the wrong cue, so does biting your lips.
When you are putting your lips together and then covering one lip with the other that might indicate you are thinking but also it is a sign of lack of confidence.
Female Body Language At The Workplace – Don’ts
The body language of women can give away a lot of incorrect signs at the workplace. One important aspect is the tone of the voice. Women sometimes tend to talk softly which might sometimes give the impression that they are not quite sure whether their opinion will actually be heard.
1. Don’t use an inconsistent pitch
When you talk, the beginning and end of your piece should have the same volume and clarity of pitch. When women do not maintain that – if she is loud in the beginning and goes soft at the end – it kind of confuses the individual.
It gives the impression that you are trying to be authoritative, but in the middle of the conversation, you have lost authority and are not sure about yourself.
2. Steer clear of verbal ticks
Verbal ticks are essentially repetitive lines, for instance “like”. You may go on using the phrase ‘You know, like…’ multiple times in the same sentence. These verbal ticks are fillers. When you use fillers, you are giving the message that you don’t clearly know what you are saying.
You need to be very cognitive about this, be aware whether you are starting your sentences with “Umm…” multiple times. Avoiding verbal ticks will ensure focused body language.
Related Reading: The 10 Do’s And Don’ts Of Dating A Co-Worker
3. Try not to be too animated while talking
Then comes the aspect of overexpression and the over-animated use of words or phrases like “Ohh!”, “Yeah!” etc. I think we need to watch the expression when we talk. It’s best to keep it subtle and elegant. Sounding fun when talking is one thing but you really do not want to overdo it.
4. Uncertain handshake
Another very, very important thing which I have been doing since I was about 14 years old is related to shaking hands. An interviewer came to my school. I think he was about six feet tall. After the interview, we shook hands, and he exclaimed, “Are you trying to break my hand or something?!” to which I replied, “No, I was just giving you a manly handshake.”
One very common body language mistake that women make when shaking hands with somebody is that they give a flimsy, loose handshake which is just about touch and go. Unconsciously, they are showing their submissive character.
5. Too much or too less interaction
Another common female body language mistake is interacting too much or too little by the way of gestures and expressions. If a woman interrupts way too much, before a person has completed their sentence, that is inappropriate.
But when you do not interrupt at all, absolutely not at all, it means two things, either you need to be listening better or are afraid to speak up. When there is a pause at the end of someone’s sentence, an interruption is really, really welcome. It gives the impression that you are listening, you have a point of view and you are expressing yourself.
6. Interrupting in the middle of a sentence
One mistake is to interrupt in the middle of a sentence and another mistake is to not interrupt throughout a paragraph, which means that you really do not have any opinion at all.
7. Avoid a flirtatious attitude
Finally, there is something about flirtatiousness when a woman talks. They need to really forget that they are women. Flirtatiousness, even if it is healthy flirting, is a no-no. It does not get anyone anywhere. Smiling incessantly, leaning your body forward while talking, tossing your hair continuously on the side of the head are all provocative moves.
When overdone, it can send across the wrong message. Women who are more confident do this a lot less. Those who are more submissive tend to do it more. Sometimes they think their point of view will be accepted simply because they are women. But it is always better to have focused and formal body language at the workplace.
What are the body language mistakes a woman makes when she is standing?
The female body language is very dynamic. There is a lot that women in the workplace do wrong even when they are just standing. Standing with a slight slouch is a sign of low self-confidence and looks terrible too. Sometimes the shoulder is square but sticking the chest out too much can be a sign of sexual flirtatiousness.
Of course, not showing the cleavage is a very, very important and positive thing at work. Wearing a skirt is alright, but it does not have to have that long slit that goes all the way up. We know that human beings are sexual creatures but the workplace is no place for sexual fantasies. I think not exposing that sexuality is really important. Instead, she would do better to focus on confident and elegant body language.
Walk slowly with grace and poise. Also, one must be mindful of the eyes, face, mouth, speech, and all that we discussed earlier. One’s body, the way we walk, stand, move, the swing of our hands, everything must be natural. Don’t try too hard else it will appear unnatural.