Even when we’re not talking, our bodies say a lot more than we think they do. That was communications expert Janine Driver’s key message at Monday’s Know Your Value event in New York City.
It’s an important lesson, especially for millennials who may just be starting out in their careers. I had the pleasure of catching up with Janine backstage to talk about the nonverbal cues our generation needs to know. You may be making body language mistakes and sabotaging your success without even realizing it. From making a lasting impression, to dealing with difficult colleagues, here are her top tips:
Whether you are interviewing for a new role, or networking with someone for the first time, feeling connected to the person you are meeting is crucial, said Janine.
By now, you probably know eye contact is key to making a connection memorable. But according to Janine, many millennials miss the initial and closing handshake.
We are twice as likely to be remembered if we follow an initial handshake with a handshake at the end of a conversation or a meetingJanine Driver
And if you’re meeting someone new, Janine suggested that when you walk into the room that you go in with the intention of remembering the person’s eye color. That way you keep eye contact.
The power move to try on office jerks
If you’re dealing with a difficult colleague, Janine suggested trying the “upper hand rule.” When you go in for a handshake, simply extend your hand on top of theirs.
Another move to try? Look at the person’s forehead when you are talking to them. Both work as subconscious cues that “sends a subtle message that gives you power back,” Janine said.
What not to do
Avoid looking at someone’s lips. It sends off the wrong message and is considered to have a sexual undertone, Janine told me. That may mean avoiding loud meeting places. When you are struggling to hear someone in a noisy environment, your instinct may be to look at their lips to make out their words, which triggers that subconscious sexual messaging to your listener. “The last thing you want is perceived sexual harassment,” she said.
How to get noticed in the office
Body language cues in the office are just as important as any other first-time interactions. To stand out, Janine said you should “frame yourself to fame yourself.”
For example, before going into someone’s office, stop and frame yourself at the door. “If you have a frame, what’s in the middle is seen as valuable,” she said.
But following these cues is more than just getting noticed. If you understand your own body language, it will help you to convey, connect and persuade others in in the workplace.
For more about Daniela, Know Your Value’s millennial contributor, click here.