Leaning Back Too Much (Can come off as lazy or arrogant.)
While doing things that help you feel relaxed can be a good way to adjust to a situation that makes you nervous is good, relaxing too much will send the wrong signals. When appropriately relaxed, others will perceive you as confident. If you’re too relaxed, that confidence can seem like arrogance. Be conscious of your body and adjust your posture to be professional but also relaxed.
Leaning Forward Too Much (Can seem aggressive.)
Imagine someone who’s leaning forward with their hands clasped together on the desk. That’s a very aggressive position to be in. Try to keep all of your movements within the range of your body when seated. The exception to this is when shaking hands or receiving a document or anything else being given to you.
Staring (Can be interpreted as aggression.)
Whenever you’re talking to someone or being spoken to, you should maintain eye contact. If you’re in a room with more than one person, you should be making eye contact with each person. This way everyone in the room feels as though they are being addressed by you. This will help avoid staring at one person and help to make everyone feel a part of the conversation.
Breaking Eye Contact Too Soon (Can make you seem untrustworthy or overly nervous.)
Just remember: when someone is communicating, you should maintain regular eye contact. Listen for natural points when the speaker is directing your attention elsewhere and follow that direction to break eye contact. This might be during a presentation with slides when the speaker mentions something on the slide. At this point, you should avert your gaze to the screen and return your gaze when the speaker is done addressing the slide.
Looking Up or Looking Around (A natural cue that someone is lying or not being themselves.)
Your eyes are very useful in communication. You can use them to direct the gaze of others around you and you can use them to let others know that you’re paying attention. Keep your eyes on matters at hand and don’t let them roam.
Chopping or Pointing with Your Hands (Feels Aggressive.)
There may be times in which you need to direct the attention of others in the room to something very specific. A laser pointer is a great way to add a touch of sophistication.. If you’re not presenting and playing the role of a listener, use your words to draw attention to something. If there’s something to sign, highlight where to sign. Use different color highlighters if signatures and initials are required.
Fidgeting (Says that you’re nervous and not comfortable.)
As soon as you’re seated or standing, get in a position that’s comfortable for you. You’ll still need to move or adjust how you’re sitting, but try to minimize a lot of movement. If you need to keep some part of your body moving, try to make it out of sight. It should also be something that doesn’t make your whole body move. It may be as simple as moving your feet very subtly.
Checking Your Phone or Watch (Says you want to be somewhere else.)
Unless you have notes or something to show on your phone, it should be out of sight and silent. That goes for any piece of technology. Checking your watch repeatedly will show that you’re impatient and not really listening; you’re sending the message that the presentation or meeting is going too long. Be patient and just pay attention to what’s being said or done. Try to get your mind away from the time.