If you read my post, “5 Ways We Make A good Or Bad First Impression According To Research” you understand how quickly opinions of us are formed and how these favorable or unfavorable opinions can determine the number of doors opened or closed to us.
New research further indicates ways we may be blowing it by unintentionally appearing less intelligent or confident than we are. In addition to the five I previously named in my post, below are a few more.
Using sophisticated words in an effort to sound smarter fails you. Research shows that replacing complex words with shorter synonyms makes you look more intelligent.
Using words and phrases like, “adverse”, “appraise” and “begs the question” improperly knocks down your intelligence rating a bit. According to cognitive scientist and linguist Steven Pinker, these are the most incorrectly used words.
When you are walking with a group of people do try to keep up but don’t walk too fast either. Research shows that if you lag behind or walk too far ahead, you are seen as either less intelligent or less competent. Ouch
Cursing at work. According to a Careerbuilder survey, 50% of employers think a swearing employee was less intelligent. No BS!
Smiling faces appear more intelligent and trustworthy than angry faces according to research. Wipe off that scowl Mr. T.!
Speaking in a non-expressive fashion demeans your intelligence so avoid speaking like Ben Stein during your next presentation. “Bueller, Bueller?”
Asking for advice, contrary to what many of us may think, doesn’t make you look less intelligent but more competent according to research. In the same study the participants who were asked for advice not too surprisingly also felt more confident because they were perceived by others to be worthy enough to offer suggestions.
In addition to the tips above research also points to the following body language errors we may commit which could undermine our perceived value to others.
A weak handshake. Getting one of these makes you want to wipe your hand off on something.
Avoiding eye contact makes you looks less confident and shows a lack of leadership.
Slouching not only portrays low confidence but also a low energy level. During your face-to-face or even video interviews, be sure to sit upright to exude control.
Crossed arms convey defensiveness and suggest you aren’t open to what others are saying which is probably why no one goes to Mr. Clean for advice.
Exaggerating your gestures indicates you may be stretching the truth or at the very least, have a tendency to act out of control. Rein in your movements a bit.
A survey conducted by CareerBuilder of over 2,000 hiring managers showed that 29% of them are turned off by fidgeting job seekers. Playing with your hair, twisting back and forth in your chair or rocking incessantly and tapping your fingers are all examples of this behavior which make you look nervous.
Many of these tips no doubt sound obvious, but in a job interview or at work with superiors, job seekers and employees tend to tighten up and in an effort to impress, harm themselves. My advice is this, stand up straight and smile. Smiling relaxes you and warms the person with whom you are interacting. Aside from that, listen more than you speak. You have two ears but one mouth so listen twice as much. As the old saying goes, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”