Can you picture this body language? At a client meeting, Tom, the sales rep, is unconsciously clicking his pen. Sonia, his associate, is playing with her hair. Mark, the sale manager, is picking at his cuticles as he concentrates on what the client is saying.
We may not be aware of our mannerisms, but other people are. Distracting mannerisms can pull attention away from the speaker, and cause them to lose their train of thought. What’s worse, we seldom realize our own mannerisms and the effect they have on others.
Here are 14 distracting behaviors. Are you guilty of any of them?
1. Scratching ourselves
2. Bite or licking our lips
3. Play with or stroking hair, mustache or beard
4. Picking teeth, fingernails or cuticles
5. Adjusting glasses, hair or clothing
6. Clicking pens
7. Bending paper clips or playing with rubber bands
8. Drum our fingers or tapping our feet
9. Whole body movements such as rocking, swaying or pacing
10. Jiggling pocket change
11. Clearing our throats
12. Frowning in concentration
13. Yawning with the mouth wide open
14. Twisting a ring, or removing and replacing it
These unconscious mannerisms send the message that we are tired, bored or distracted. We can catch ourselves and eliminate distracting habits so we look poised and professional. Ask a trusted friend to help you identify your tics and twitches.
You can undercut your words with your body language. If you tap your pen when you speak, the person listening to you will remember your pen. Sit still so you won’t create distractions.
Whatever you do, from adjusting your eyeglasses to handing out a business card, avoid abrupt, jerky movements that make you look nervous or awkward. To exude self-confidence, keep all your movements controlled and purposeful.