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  • Writer's pictureAnna Conrad

10 Body Language Mistakes to Avoid During Meetings




In any professional setting, how we communicate goes far beyond the words we use. Our body language can significantly impact how our messages are received, especially in meetings where first impressions and ongoing perceptions matter. Here are some common body language mistakes to avoid to ensure your communication is clear, confident, and effective.


Confidence, openness, and attentiveness are conveyed more through your body language than your voice.

Lack of Eye Contact

Maintaining eye contact demonstrates confidence and attentiveness. Avoiding eye contact can make you appear disinterested, untrustworthy, or unconfident. Aim for a balanced approach by making eye contact with different group members without staring.


Poor Posture

Slouching or leaning back in your chair can signal a lack of interest or energy. On the other hand, sitting up straight with your shoulders back conveys confidence and engagement. Ensure your posture reflects that you are fully present and invested in the discussion.


Crossing Arms

Crossed arms can come across as defensive or closed off, even if that’s not your intention. Keeping your arms open and relaxed helps convey openness and receptivity. If you’re unsure what to do with your hands, try resting them on the table or gently clasping them in your lap.


Fidgeting

Constantly moving, tapping your foot, or playing with objects can distract and signal nervousness or impatience. Practice stillness and controlled movements to maintain a calm and focused presence.


Inconsistent Facial Expressions

Your facial expressions should align with your verbal messages. Inconsistent or inappropriate expressions can confuse your audience. Practice maintaining a neutral, attentive expression, and use smiles or nods to show agreement and encouragement.


Lack of Nodding

Nodding occasionally while someone else is speaking shows that you are listening and understanding. Failing to do so can make you seem disengaged. However, be mindful not to overdo it, as excessive nodding can appear insincere.


Excessive Phone Checking

Regularly checking your phone or smartwatch during a meeting is a clear sign of distraction and can be perceived as disrespectful. To avoid this, keep your devices out of sight and focus fully on the meeting.


Invading Personal Space

Respect personal space to ensure comfort and professionalism. Leaning in too close can be intimidating while staying too far away can seem detached. Find a comfortable middle ground where you can engage without encroaching.


Hand Gestures

While hand gestures can enhance communication, overusing them or making overly dramatic gestures can be distracting. Use hand movements to emphasize points naturally but keep them controlled and purposeful.


Lack of Responsiveness

Failing to react appropriately to others' body language can create disconnects in communication. Pay attention to others' nonverbal cues and respond with your own body language to show understanding and empathy.


By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your nonverbal signals support your words and help you to communicate more effectively.

As we continue navigating in-person and virtual meetings, being mindful of our body language remains crucial. Practice these tips and observe the positive impact on your professional interactions. 


 

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