Reading body language in meetings

Meetings are among the most important activities in the workplace, don’t let your body language say the wrong thing.

Team members meet to mull over strategies, employers meet employees to share information, managers meet each other to discuss operational matters, and business representatives meet clients to pave the way for new working relationships… so making a good impression is crucial.

two office workers looking at a document

Whether hosting or attending a meeting, it’s not just what you say that will influence your audience – you should also consider the way in which you are presenting yourself. This can say as much about you as the words that come out of your mouth and it can leave a lasting impression, good or bad, long after the meeting has ended.

Own your meeting
When you are seated, plant your feet on the ground and always sit up straight – never slouch. If standing, put your shoulders back, arms down and chin up. These simple but effective measures will help you to appear confident.

Closed body language
Although crossing your arms while sitting at a desk can be comfortable, it’s a big no-no when it comes to meetings. It can make you appear “closed” either to ideas or to colleagues in general. Never fidget – this is extremely distracting and can imply that you are bored. It can also detract from what you or others are saying.

Eye contact
Maintaining the correct amount of eye contact can be difficult to master but it’s important you get it right. Don’t stare at colleagues so hard that you appear aggressive or overly-dominant. Eye contact should be achieved in a friendly manner, showing you’re engaged and interested in what others have to say. If your eyes are wandering, this could give the impression that your attention is elsewhere.

meeting attendee taking notes

Participate
If you’re attending a meeting, it is an absolute must to take paper and pen into the conference room to make notes. If you don’t, it may appear the discussion is unimportant to you. Don’t huddle on your seat in the corner, as your views may be perceived as less valuable if you appear to be fading into the woodwork.

Interact with the speaker
Show you’re engaged by leaning forward and nodding slightly, sending a signal to the speaker that you’re actively taking in the information. However, don’t start “bobble-heading” and being over-enthusiastic, as this can be distracting for others.

You can tell a lot about a person by their body language! The vital thing to remember when you are in a meeting, is to show others that you’re interested in what they have to say – and they will then reciprocate by showing an interest in you.

&Meetings can help make your meetings run smoothly by ensuring you have the best venue. For great value meeting rooms in London, please call 0800 073 0499 and we’ll help get your next meeting off to a flying start.

 

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