We all have little habits we’re unaware of. Some of us tap our legs uncontrollably, others of us bite our nails or frequently flip our hair. Though habitual to us, they’re noticeable to other people—so much so that it could cost you a business deal. Yes, tapping your leg is a big no-no.
Here’s a list of common habits we have while engaging in formal business (and why you should stop them):
1. Talking like you’ve had 18 cups of coffee. Slow it down people. By talking slowly and clearly, it shows that you have confidence in what you’re saying.
2. Standing with a leg crossed over or under. Watch your stance, any crossing or casual bending into your hips gives off the impression of shyness and insignificance—and you are neither.
3. Standing with your hands over your lap. Commonly referred to as the “fig leaf pose,” this position gives the impression that you are unimportant and intimidated. Instead, let your arms hang naturally by their side
4. Holding a cell phone in your hand. Now, this is getting nit-picky. But it’s a very common habit (considering our phones generally follow us wherever we go). Holding a phone while in a meeting suggests you don’t have time for it. (And you certainly don’t want your business deal going south because it feels rushed.)
5. Fidgeting. Oh, fidgeters. You’re not alone. Many business people face this challenge. Pens, paper, erasers, innocent paperclips, are all so tempting to reach for and grab out of comfort. But resist! Concentrate on your breathing—train yourself to breath slowly and it will make your nervous movements disappear.
Other than these top five, we’d encourage you to avoid these as well: weight shifting, foot or finger tapping, sitting on the edge of your chair or propping your head up with your hands. All of these subtle habits could be construed negatively in a business deal.
However, once the deal is done and you’ve nailed it (snaps and a pat on the back for you), go home and do all of these things to your heart’s content.