1. Sorry, but..
If you’re saying sorry for things you aren’t doing wrong or you are just saying sorry as often as a teenager says ‘like’ then you unconsciously appear subordinate and weak. Think about it: do you say sorry automatically when someone bumps you or if you need to call someone’s attention? “Sorry to bother you, but…” is a phrase we all need to eradicate from our daily usage. Not only does it make you appear timid, it often times makes people you say it to feel uncomfortable (or feel as though they are your boss even if they are not). Practice saying, “Excuse me, *blah blah blah*.”
2. Not maintaining eye contact
If you aren’t looking people in eye when speaking to them or being spoken to, you appear as though you are not paying attention, are lying, or are otherwise untrustworthy. You also give off an air of submissiveness here too. Maintaining eye contact shows the person you are listening to or speaking to that you are on their level (we are all humans, after all) and that you are worth their time.
3. Not giving a firm handshake even if you are a female
This one is tough because I have attempted to give a firm, full-palmed handshake many times and have been cut off at the pass by both males and females into giving them one of those half handshakes. You know the ones I mean – where you just shake their finger tips.
Even if you are very feminine, these half handshakes are sending the wrong message. You want to show the person you are shaking hands with that you are trustworthy, capable, and strong. If you cohabitate with males, then most likely you are doing similar work to them, and you ARE just as physically (and definitely mentally) capable. You bring a lot to the table, but this half-handshake shows underlying tones of weakness.
I personally love when a very down-to-earth, but feminine woman, gives me a full handshake. It shows me she is comfortable in her skin and confident in her capabilities.
4. Not dressing for your body type
I hate to say it, but one size does not fit all. I am a larger woman, and I dress accordingly. It’s not that I am ashamed of myself, or wish to hide myself in larger clothes; I just wear the clothes that fit my body because… *newsflash* …they look better!!
I am not saying you should wear drapey, sack-like clothing, but I am saying you should know and understand your body and it’s proportions. How you present yourself DOES matter because it shows how you feel about yourself inside. If you dress like you don’t care, then you are showing (whether you mean to or not) that you don’t find yourself important enough to take the time and care. Again, as I said in my last post, you don’t need to dress to the nines all day, every day. What you should be doing is showing you made an effort in one way or another. People do notice and it will shape how they think about you. If you truly don’t care, then okay – no problem. BUT… if you work in an industry where you want to get promotions then you need to learn to play the game, even if you don’t agree with it.
5. Speaking too fast
A lot of women speak very fast (men too), but by doing you you are sending the message that you don’t feel worthy of the person’s time to whom you are speaking. It’s as if you are trying to condense the amount of time you are ‘taking’ of theirs. Not only will they probably ask you to repeat yourself, but they will probably retain less of what you said, and spend more time thinking about how hard it is to understand you. It can be hard to retrain yourself, but it comes with practice. I wish there was a magical solution to completely overhauling your speech patterns, but really – you just need to practice speaking slower. (If you have a magical solution or some cool trick, please share!)
6. Always having contact with your phone
This one is really hard because our phones are a kind of safety blanket that redirects awkward conversation. By pulling your phone out every couple minutes, you are showing an inability to connect with others in a truly honest way. People will notice that you avoid their conversation, and it will send them the signal you don’t find them important enough for your undivided attention. Even leaving your phone on the dinner table shows that you are ready to respond to any notification or buzz immediately, and that makes it harder for people to get into deep conversations because they have it in the back of their mind that you will stop paying attention as soon as it happens. You’re better off putting your phone in your pocket or purse and silencing it for important conversations. By doing so, you will strike a chord with a lot of people and they will remember you for it.