Advice » In the Workplace» Workplace Issues » 6 Ways Your Body Language is Hu ...
6 Ways Your Body Language is Hurting Your Career

6 Ways Your Body Language is Hurting Your Career

By Catherine Conlan
Monster Contributing Writer
Body language is a powerful means of communication, but many people get it all wrong without realizing it. At work, these body language bungles could be sending people the wrong message and hurting your chances of advancement.
Here are six ways your body language could be hurting your career.
1. You’re always wearing your poker face.
“Watch out for an absence of facial expression,” says Tina Gilbertson. “If you try too hard to hide your feelings all the time, you create a body-language vacuum.” When others don’t have any idea what you are thinking or feeling, it can make people feel uncomfortable.
“At work, the rewards go to those who not only perform, but who can connect with others on a human level,” Gilbertson says. “We connect through emotions, so go ahead and show a little -- especially enthusiasm, gratitude and appreciation.”
2. You’re making awkward or inappropriate motions.
Body language errors can be unconscious, and you might need someone else to tell you about them.
“As a career coach, I was working with a client who had a distracting habit of adjusting his crotch during conversations with colleagues and friends,” says Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide. “He was completely unaware of the gesture and to add insult to injury, no one was comfortable enough to address his hand action. He was smart, attractive, well-dressed, and well groomed, but his restless hands were blocking any serious consideration for more senior-level management responsibility.”
Cohen says a mirror and a session of career coaching showed his client this awkward habit. If you feel like something is holding you back in your career, consider asking a trusted friend to watch how you speak or interact with others.
3.  You look bored.
People can make snap decisions about what you’re thinking and feeling based on your body language, and that can mean you’re not getting plum assignments.
“Managers give new, interesting projects to people who they feel will be passionate about completing projects,” says Jacqueline Twillie. “Slumping in your chair at work expresses that you are not energetic and not excited about the work you are doing.”
Instead, look alert. Be aware of your posture and the underlying meaning it conveys to others, Twillie says.
4.  You’re playing with your hair.
“I work with a lot of women in their 20’s and 30’s, and find that a lot of them can't stop playing with their hair,” says Lauren Milligan, career coach with ResuMAYDAY. “This is definitely a coaching issue because it makes the person doing it come off as distracted, immature or even flirty in front of the wrong people.”
5.  You’re “stingy with the pen.”
If you’re taking notes on a whiteboard or flipchart in a meeting, you may feel like you’re showing you’re in charge and driving the discussion. Not so fast, says career coach Kimberlee Williams.
“People who work the pen often run a ‘stingy pen’ and translate others’ comments into their own,” she says. “This subliminally communicates to others that the notetaker’s ideas are superior. Often this is accompanied by turning their back toward the audience or ‘shielding’ the area while writing. The result? Lack of buy-in, suspicion, difficulty gaining team agreement, and power struggles.”
Instead, Williams recommends using an open posture and quickly capturing the essence of comments that accurately reflect what was said.
6. You’re jittery.
Chances are, you know someone who’s a leg-shaker or foot-tapper. Image consultant Jennifer Goh says these actions show “restlessness, fidgety, anxiety and impatience of a person. And from an etiquette perspective, it’s rude.”
Make sure you’re not bothering others by shaking your legs or tapping a foot rhythmically during a meeting or when others are around.

Latest Jobs

Posted: 05/25/2015
Elkton, MD, 21921
Posted: 05/25/2015
Chicago, IL, 60601
Posted: 05/25/2015
Fort Worth, TX, 76101
Posted: 05/25/2015
Posted: 05/25/2015
Riverside, CA, 92501

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-212