Our ability to communicate and express emotions is just one of the many things that separate humans from the other animals on the planet, but sometimes we are not very good at it.

Just because we can communicate with each other doesn’t mean we know how to do it, or can do it for that matter.

When it comes to sending the right messages to other humans, we are terrible for saying one thing and doing another.

We are very bad at making eye contact, and our bodies don’t always represent how we feel.

We are all guilty of doing these things on a regular basis, but if we can kick even some of these habits, we’ll be better communicators.

Want to learn how to improve your communication skills? Stop making these 11 horrible body language habits.

Sure, they are hard to quit, but you’ll be glad when they stop running your life.

1) Stop Fidgeting

If you want to be heard, don’t let your passive movements take over the conversation.

Many people fidget when they are nervous and need to expel energy. Some say if they don’t move they will explode, but that’s not true. You won’t explode.

Try releasing your built up energy into a journal or exercise.

2) Stop Playing With Your Hair

Another nervous twitch that many of us have, especially women, is that we play with our hair.

Men tend to stroke their beards or rub at their necks when they are trying to expel extra energy or nervous energy.

Playing with your hair makes you look childish, and if someone realizes you are doing it, it will make you look unprofessional, and when you realize someone is watching you play with your hair, you’ll become even more uncomfortable. So stop doing it.

3) Stop Crossing Your Arms

Business experts have been saying this for years: stop closing yourself off to others with your body language.

If you cross your arms or take on a defensive body position, you’ll turn others away from you, your ideas, and any hope of making a connection with someone.

When someone talks to you, be sure to hold your arms and body in an open position. Crossing your arms just tells people you are not interested in what they have to say.

4) Stop Playing With Your Hands

Many people pick at their fingernails when they are anxious or nervous.

To avoid looking like you are going to lose it, work on keeping your hands resting on your lap, or writing notes about your thoughts to keep your hands busy without distracting other people.

5) Stop Shuffling Your Feet

Not only does shuffling your feet create an annoying noise, but you also look like a giant slacker who doesn’t give a crap about life.

Pick your feet up and plant them down firmly when you walk. Don’t look like you are dragging your ass behind you and you’ll feel better.

6) Stop Being the Poster Child for Resting Bitch Face

Resting Bitch Face is a relatively new term for people who don’t smile. They might not be angry or even upset, but their face says otherwise.

So don’t forget to smile when you come into contact with people. Otherwise, they’ll just assume you are cranky and miserable, and nobody wants to be thought of as miserable.

7) Stop Looking Distracted

Put your phone down, close your laptop, and don’t worry about social media or anything on your electronic devices when someone is talking to you.

Humans have gotten terrible at looking at people when they talk, and it can be especially detrimental in the working environment.

When someone speaks to you, look at them, not your phone.

8) Stop Slouching

If you don’t want people to take you seriously, slouch in your chair. If you want people to take you seriously, sit up straight. This will also help you feel better about yourself as well.

9) Stop Forgetting About Eye Contact

In addition to looking distracted all the time, we have gotten away from acknowledging people in everyday life with eye contact.

When a waiter takes your order, look him in the eye. When a lady holds the door for you, thank her and look her in the eye. Be a decent human being by acknowledging people’s existence.

10) Stop Sitting Still

While too much movement can be distracting and stop you from getting work done, sitting still all the time can also stop you from achieving your goals.

Get up and move around to get the blood flowing. This helps to improve focus and creativity.

11) Stop Saying One Thing and Doing Another

If you want to improve your communication skills, start saying what you mean and doing what you say you will do.

If you are saying no but shaking your head up and down, you’ll send conflicting messages to people, and they won’t know what to think. Work on connecting your words and actions for the biggest impact on your communication skills.

A quick message from Lachlan Brown, the founder of Hack Spirit

In 2018, the third year of Hack Spirit, I poured thousands of hours and considerable resources into creating these articles. It's a labor of love and remains free thanks to your patronage. If you found any value in these articles, please consider supporting what I do with a donation. Your support is what helps me to continue creating more Hack Spirits articles. To make a donation, click the "donate" button below and choose between a single donation or monthly.

Check out Hack Spirit's eBook: How to be Your Own Life Coach: 10 Essential Steps to Creating a Life You Love. Perfect for setting new year goals and actually achieving them!

  • Learn the 10 crucial steps to creating a life you love
  • Practical techniques and exercises throughout to work out who you are, where you are and what you want to achieve in life
  • Affirmations, quotes and motivational techniques to keep you going...even through tough times
  • Practical case studies showing what works and what doesn’t

Check it out here.