Monday, July 17, 2017


In America, one’s general demeanor should be relaxed, outgoing and confident. So in whatever body position you assume, avoid looking like you are too tightly self-controlled or “imprisoned” in your own space.

Sitting should not be rigid, but at the same time not so relaxed as to seem careless.

Legs and Feet should seem comfortable, legs not placed too precisely parallel to one another, and feet not totally flat on the floor. Legs or ankles may be crossed in casual fashion.

Posture should be good but not soldier-like. When sitting, your back may be either straight or leaning forward from the waist.

Arms should be somewhat expansive, not too close to your body. One arm may be resting on the table or chair arm. Elbows may be on the table, perhaps with hands touching, fingers loosely knit together. Avoid tightly crossing your arms, which can create a subconscious barrier between yourself and others.

Hands should be free to move comfortably (but not excessively) to emphasize your comments or signal that you want to say something. Do not over-control your hands by folding them on the table or in your lap.

Standing: When someone greets you with the offer of a handshake, you should meet him/her at an equal level by standing up.

Personal space: The Japanese maintain perhaps the greatest “personal bubble” around themselves of any culture, while Mediterranean people naturally crowd close to one another. Americans are somewhere in between these extremes. Observe the distance those around you keep, and model what you see.

Touching is dictated by culture and situation. A general rule in professional settings is to avoid touching others, except when shaking hands. Casual physical contact between men and women, or between a superior and a lower-level worker is discouraged, as corporate policies make clear. One exception to this might be between women colleagues who are also good friends in and outside of work.