BODY LANGUAGE AT WORK
DISCLAIMER: GIRL, of course you can be however you want to be at work, act how you feel comfortable and how you are. See the following as a suggestion, don't force it but sometimes it's an eyeopener and it helped me so, maybe it will help you as well.
Ever been the only one with a vagina in a meeting? Great, me too. Then this is for you:
Whether you work in an (almost) all male environment or not, in a big company or a small business with only 3 colleagues, whether you are a career girl or not; this helps us all and takes us places. I won’t bore you with impressive facts or percentages how important it is, it comes always down to this: Body language is vital af, so learn how to control it and you will kick some ass at work!
Here are some tips I’ve tried and gathered along the year. I worked at different places, from a ridicoulously sexist environment , where when women made a call or put their foot down, they were talked about like “she clearly needs some D* in her life, so she is less of a bitch " to an all women environment, which was anything from cruel to fabulous, and to a super mixed environment now for the past almost five years where I had the joy of having bosses and mentors that were both female and male.
So, this comes down to everyday body language, not only for one or two important meetings or a salary negotiation. Try it sometimes, maybe in moments when you feel nervous or not confident enough.
Girl, don’t cross your legs
Make yourself present and visible and sit with both feet on the ground sporting an open and calm and confident position. Also, you appear “bigger” because you take up more space.
Girl, don’t sit to the side
This is a no brainer but sometimes we forget. Sit straight and open towards whoever is speaking, so you are sitting opposite in the best case.
Girl, don’t cross your arms
We so often do this without noticing when we are nervous or unsure. Instead just rest your arms on the armrests of the chair or rest them in your lap and if you speak put the elbows on the table and lean forward. Don’t hide, don’t make yourself smaller. This means business aka confidence and presence and that you are not intimidated.
Girl, sit in the front
Women so often sit in the back at meetings or workshops, we tend to go there, and we tend to be overlooked. Go to the front, it shows more interest. Pay attention and own it.
Girl, lock eyes
When you speak, make eye contact. Don’t be a creep about it, two seconds should be enough. Anything less makes you look hasty and nervous.
Girl, don’t let them manterrupt you
Manterruption and mansplaining is a real thing, and it drives me so mad when it happens. You can do several things: Call them fellas out and say you are leaving the meeting if they keep doing this because obviously they don’t need you if they keep doing this OR do it like Madeleine Albright said, “learn to interrupt”. Don’t wait until they are finished because they don’t wait. Or ask them “Didn’t your mama teach you not to interrupt?” or you can yes, ignore it and simply go for a “hey, I would appreciate if you don’t keep interrupting me” - usually this does it.
Girl, control your voice
Don’t pull a Kim K on them and vocal fry (yes, it’s a thing) whatever you are saying, or end the sentence with a high-pitched tone so it sounds like a question. This makes us seem insecure or unsure about our opinion. Speak calm, collected, thoroughly and don’t swallow your breaths. Don’t whisper or talk too fast.
Girl, don’t undermine yourself
Don’t add “Am I right?”, or “This is just my opinion” (well, of course it is) at the end of whatever you just said. No, no, no. You said it, you mean it.
Girl, get a grip
A firm handshake is what you need to learn to give. Don’t have a sloppy, soft one. And during it, always remember to make eye contact.
Girl, don’t tilt away (among other things)
A conversation is not an Instagram photo op, so don’t tilt your head too much when you are listening. Nod and smile whenever it fits, but don’t play with your hair or play with jewelry excessively.
Girl, stand your ground
Literally: When you present or give a speech, don’t put all your weight on one foot only. Divide it evenly on both legs. This gives you more grip and you look more confident. Yes, a simply tip but hey, we (including us) tend to forget when we are nervous.
You can get an A+ on your project, have glorious reviews but still, your body language is a key factor to becoming ultra-amazing, a great leader and role model for your other female co-workers. They will see you differently, so make yourself visible and present – whether it's work or not. We know you can do it!