9 body language habits that make you look really unprofessional

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Whether or not you realize it, using the wrong nonverbal cues can create a huge obstacle to your success. Research shows that 60 to 90 percent of our communication with others is nonverbal, which means the body language we use is extremely important.

Therefore, the way you present yourself-especially the way you communicate nonverbally in those first few crucial minutes after meeting someone new-could make or break what could potentially be a very important business relationship.

Are you sending the right messages with your nonverbal language? Are you sure?

Here are 9 ways that bad body language undermines your credibility and intentions–and make you look unprofessional–every time.

1. When your back is too rigid and upright, and your shoulders raised and stiff, you’ll look uptight–and vulnerable. Be conscious of your posture and do your best to relax and be comfortable.

2. When you point your body away from the person you’re talking to, this says that you’re not engaged in the conversation–signifying a lack of respect. Keep your body facing the other person.

3. Leaning away from the other person makes the other person think you’re not really listening. Lean in to show that you are interested in what they have to say.

4. When you cross your arms and legs, you’re saying that you are not open to what the other person is communicating. Keep your arms and legs uncrossed to show that you are engaged.

5. When you refrain from using your hands to gesture when you speak, you decrease your credibility with the listener.

RELATED: 13 words you should never use to describe yourself

6. A weak handshake communicates to the other person that you may be weak in other ways, which is not the message most people in business want to project. Project confidence with a firm handshake.

7. Avoiding eye contact with the other person can make you look like you’re not interested in what they have to say (though too much eye contact can be disconcerting).

8. Blinking too much says that you are feeling uncomfortable with the conversation. Keep an eye on your eyes!

9. Speaking too fast makes you seem nervous. Take a deep breath and speak slowly and clearly.

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