By Dana Burke, Allure
Think about this the next time you're in an important meeting: During an average 30-minute conversation, over 800 nonverbal signals are sent. That means while you're saying one thing, your body might be expressing another. In an effort to minimize future miscommunications, we asked body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards for the most common mistakes you don't realize you're making.
Rubbing your lips together. A fresh coat of balm usually calls for mashing your lips together. Just be aware that you may be sending a different message: secrecy. "A lip purse is what people typically do when they are trying to withhold or cover information," says Van Edwards. "We do this subconsciously as if our brain is telling our lips, 'Don't say anything! Keep them shut!' Try not to purse your lips when having an important conversation with a colleague, boss, or friend. It can make them think you are holding back."
Gazing over the rim of your glasses. "Whenever you peer over your glasses at someone--even if you don't mean it this way--it comes across as critical. In our research lab we nicknamed it the Judge Judy." Avoiding this unintentional nod is as simple as looking someone right in the eye. Or if you can do so without rendering the world a fuzzy blur, just take your glasses off or push them up onto your head for a snub-free convo.
Fiddling with your jewelry. You may not realize it, but playing with your earrings, necklaces, or bracelets sends a flirty vibe. The inside of the wrists, neck, and hair are pheromones zones, the parts of the body that trigger attraction. "This is OK on a date, but be very careful to not casually touch your jewelry in these areas around colleagues or friends."
Playing with your hair. Whether it's a nervous habit or a little casual zhuzhing, we're all guilty of touching our hair. Just be mindful about doing this midconversation: "Our eye naturally follows objects in motion. Every time you touch your hair, you distract the person you're speaking to," says Van Edwards. Worse still, that teasing, twirling, and flipping might come off as anxious behavior. "Hair touches--even if you aren't actually nervous--look like pacification gestures. When you touch your hair mindlessly or to get volume you are actually undermining your confidence." Hands off (and find a good volumizer so you're not as tempted to futz).
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