Seven common body language sins to avoid

The admonition to mind your language' is just as applicable to non-verbal communication as it is to the spoken word. All too often, regardless of the impression we believe we're presenting to others our body language may be telling a different story. In a business or sales environment inadvertent but negative body language can be damaging to relationships; consider how it might potentially affect a job interview or the closing of an important sale. The fascinating subject of body language, its power and its interpretation is explored in detail in Maguire Training's informative course Non-Verbal Communication. Here, delegates will learn valuable techniques to help them understand the messages and emotions conveyed by different body language, discover why it is so powerful and evaluate the effect it has upon different relationships.

It's quite possible that your subconscious body language sends out messages to others without you realising it. Here, business skills training specialists Maguire Training suggest seven deadly sins of body language that are best avoided in the sales or business work environment.


    • Unkempt appearance

      Dress plays a significant part in non-verbal communication. You may wear a Savile Row tailored suit but if your collar is undone and your tie hanging loose, your shirt is stained or is missing a button or your shoes are scuffed or filthy this can create an impression of laziness, lack of care, apathy, disorganization and undermine your professional credibility.


    • Fiddling with your mobile phone

      In any situation in which it is not required, such as in a meeting or interview, a mobile phone should be silenced and out of sight. Tinkering with a mobile phone - however innocent your intention - whilst someone else is speaking gives the impression that you are both rude and disinterested.


    • Failing to make eye contact

      Appropriate eye contact is essential to establishing trust and rapport. Making eye contact with a person demonstrates to them that you are taking an interest. Averting your eye and looking anywhere but at them gives the impression that you have something to hide.


    • Wringing or rubbing your hands

      Depending upon the situation clasping our hands, wringing them or rubbing them together may suggest to an onlooker that we are nervous (again, in an interview for example) or, conversely, super-confident ( when we feel we have won an argument or have closed a sale). If standing hands should be kept by your side, if sitting the should be resting comfortably on the surface in front of you.


    • Glancing at the clock

      No matter how subtly you do it, repeatedly glancing at the clock on the wall sends out an unmistakeable message to others 'I can't wait for this to be over; I'd rather be anywhere else but here'.


    • Crossing your arms

      We instinctively cross our arms as an act of defence. Effectively we are creating a barrier between ourselves and the other party. Arm crossing may be interpreted as a signal that you are annoyed, have withdrawn interest or feel threatened, so to avoid potentially damaging a relationship, arms should be kept open and relaxed.

    • Rolling your eyes

      A cardinal sin of body language. Even the briefest roll of the eyes says that you have no faith in, or respect for, what the other person is saying. No matter how polished a veneer of sincerity you have maintained, the moment you roll your eyes in anything other than a jocular tongue-in-cheek context, a relationship has been harmed.


Now that you're aware of seven of the deadly sins of body language you can take steps to avoid them and will know what other people are likely to be thinking when they make them. There is much more to be learned about the importance of body language in business or sales situations, and for leaders and managers who wish to add this knowledge to their repertoire Maguire Training offers Non-Verbal Communication both as an online training course or classroom-based session.

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