Sitting around the table for the first time with a new client, Jane Snell found herself getting more and more frustrated. Although she owns her Coconut Creek, Fla., construction company, JS-1 Construction, the half-dozen men seated around the table were addressing their questions and comments to her male assistant. It wasn't until days later that she discovered where she had gone wrong: her smile.
"The way I was grinning said 'administrative assistant,' not 'owner,'" Snell said.
Our posture, our facial expressions, even the placement of our legs can speak volumes about what we're conveying in the workplace. We can put in hours networking or working late and then blow our image as confident experts by sending a different message with something as simple as a smile.
Sharon Sayler, body language expert and owner of Competitive Edge Communications, educates women and men about the hidden nonverbal statements in business that can ruin a deal, diminish credibility, even create doubt about capability.