Have you ever noticed how much you are saying to people even after you are not speaking? Unless you are a master at impersonating, you are constantly sending messages regarding your actual thoughts and feelings whether you are using words or not. Therefore, you should be careful about your body language in communication and follow other body languages also.
Reading people’s body language is not rocket science. According to Wikipedia, ‘Body language is a type of non-verbal communication in which physical behaviours, as opposed to words, are used to express or convey the information’. The signal people send while talking to other people could be intentional or unintentional, also might be positive or negative.
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Why is body language so important?
Figuring out body language is both an art and a science and there is no set formula to interpret this language. If you want to know how much your audience is following your speech – whether it can be your classroom, in church, meeting, or family gatherings, the only way to know is to look at them. By looking at people, you can feel them or sense them how responsive they are towards your speech.
In 1967, Dr Mehrabian and Ferris have done the most efficient research projects on non-verbal communication. According to their studies, your words account for only 7% of the message you convey and the remaining 93% is non-verbal. Among this 93%, 55% of communication is based on what people see and the other 38% is transmitted through tone of voice. So, in your spare time just think about your body language.
When you are conversing with people, they can observe and find out what you are not saying just simply following your body language, whether in a business setting or not. You are wasting your time if your non-verbal communication doesn’t tone with your words. This means that you should give more attention to ‘how to say’ than ‘what to say’. However, you shouldn’t neglect anything, since both are required to have a successful career in your respective fields.
Who should have a deep understanding of body language?
You can set “how others see you” depending on your body language, in both a negative and positive light. Body language knowledge can apply to anyone who wants to gain essential non-verbal skills to communicate effectively in the workplace or other aspect of life. It is ideal for those who work in the following professions:
How to Read Body Language
The first step for being the most effective communicator is creating a solid foundation on body language knowledge. How many times, you have given a presentation or interview and thought, “I have no idea how that went?” While giving a lecture, presentation or interview, there are signs everywhere that you can find out how the resonating is going, and make adjustments easily where needed if you know what to look for in the audience.
Here are some non-verbal signals that will help you “read” the room when communicating and conversing:
Let’s start with the head movements.
1. Head movements
When people are talking, you should follow a person’s head movements carefully. Because you can learn a lot about their emotional state and character if you follow their head movement. Here are some signals of body language for head movements while communicating:
Our hair indicates so many signals when it comes to non-verbal communication. Hair attracts, entices, conforms, repels, or shocks. It can even communicate something about our careers; as renowned anthropologist David Givens puts it, hair often serves as an “unofficial résumé,” revealing where one ranks in an organization. The common gesture with are :
3. The Eyes
The eyes square measure is typically said as “the windows to the soul”. It’s simple to fake a smile, our eyes tend to give away how we are feeling. Watch someone’s eyes when you are communicating with them. Are they making enough eye contact, or do they avert their gaze during the conversation? How are their pupils? Is he/she blinking a lot?
We can easily find out when someone is listening and actively paying attention by simply following their eye contact.
4. The Ears
Our ears not only help us collect information from sound waves but also have other uses which you may not think before, is to help us find significant body language during oral communication. Here are some more specific signals to watch for:
5. The Nose
The body language related to the nose are:
Smiles are quite contagious among the people near them. People use it as a signal for warmth, friendliness, and social harmony, all over the world. Watching someone smile, particularly babies, brings us joy. Smile related body language are:
The behaviour related to the face are given below:
Body language related to lips:
9. Arm Movements
Arm movement s often indicate a person’s emotional state either they are feeling positive or negative and defensive or offensive. Keep an eye out for behaviours like:
We often use our hand’s gesture while talking to indicate that the topic is important or have some value. For instance, if you make hand gestures while someone is asking questions, you will be able to answer the question faster. Besides, its common people give signals with their hands if they feel particularly close to them, often without realizing it.
Here are some more specific things to watch for:
Just like the arms, a person’s feet also give a signal about what is going on inside their head. Since this type of behaviour happens unconsciously knowing how to read the cues is important. You should look for these cues which means:
The distance individual people maintain between themselves and others is another indicator of what they feel towards the person. What happens during a conversation when someone stands or sits too close to you? I bet you feel uncomfortable, right?
The concept of proxemics, introduced by anthropologist Edward T. Hall, suggests that there are four zones of personal space. These zones are –
a. Intimate distance for embracing, touching or whispering
- Close phase – less than one inch (one to two cm)
- Far phase – 6 to 18 inches (15 to 46 cm)
b. Personal distance for interactions among good friends or family
- Close phase – 1.5 to 2.5 feet (46 to 76 cm)
- Far phase – 2.5 to 4 feet (76 to 122 cm)
c. Social distance for interactions among acquaintances
- Close phase – 4 to 7 feet (1.2 to 2.1 m)
- Far phase – 7 to 12 feet (2.1 to 3.7 m)
d. Public distance used for public speaking
- Close phase – 12 to 25 feet (3.7 to 7.6 m)
- Far phase – 25 feet (7.6 m) or more.
When someone we don’t trust gets inside their personal space, we feel uncomfortable. For instance, if you move close to someone and they move back, it signals that they are not comfortable around you, so you should give them their space to maintain a safe distance.
13. Body Posture
The way people hold themselves isn’t easy to control, which often makes it difficult to read. Although it can be possible to give some insight, especially when it differs from how a person usually carries themselves in a different situation. So, you are interacting with others, you should look for these cues which means:
The signals we tend to give with our hands are really obvious and very direct suggests that of non-verbal communication. If someone purposely points at something without saying a word, you’ll straight away understand that they need you to look in that direction.
If you ask someone what percentage of individuals are coming to a social gathering and I raise four fingers, you’ll mechanically understand that four individuals will be coming to the meeting. If I provide you with a thumbs-up, you’ll perceive that I approve of what you’re doing, whereas a thumbs-down implies that I don’t approve.
Mirroring someone’s visual communication or facial expressions may be an excellent way to build rapport and engagement. We frequently do it unknowingly anyway (which is why yawns and smiles can often appear contagious). However, when we use our ability to mirror, it helps us form mutual trust. Therefore, when you see someone mirroring your behaviour, it means that they are in sync with you and charmed by the conversation. Also, it makes them more comfortable around you while talking.
How To Project Positive Body Language
In the above section, we’ve checked out several elements of visual communication that you simply should be careful for when communicating with others. In this section, we’ll take a look at how you’ll project positive visual communication and use it to improve what you’re communicating and the way others understand you in different situations.
Confident Body Language for First Impression
There are some tips given below on ‘how to use body language to create a great first impression’:
Body Language During Public Speaking
when you are speaking or giving a speech in public positive body language helps you project confidence. As a result, you are a more trustworthy person than others.
Below are some tips on ‘how to project positive body language’ during public speech:
Body Language During Interviews and Negotiations
Body language is vital in interviews and negotiations. It can help you present yourself as confident, calm and composed. There are some tips given below on how to use body language in such situations:
Maintain good posture
Keep your back straight and your shoulders back, when you are sitting in a meeting or interview. Maintaining good posture in an interview or negotiation is critical. Because it makes you appear confident.
Relax your body
Try to keep your body relaxed during Interviews and negotiations. This type of situation is often anxiety-inducing. Keep your hands steady in front of you. Avoid the temptation to fidget, fidgeting with hands in meetings or other places suggest discomfort, not relaxed or disinterested.
In such situations, mirroring the body language of the other person will unconsciously make them feel that the two of you are in synch, which will increase your chances of getting a positive outcome.
Our body language speaks louder than what we say with our words, during conversations. So, it is very important to learn how to encode and decode body language and facial expressions.
Having a better knowledge about the body language will make you good at understanding the gestures others are trying to send and will also improve your ability to communicate effectively. So, the best way to interpret body language effectively is to follow the signals that their body might be giving, as well as the context of what they are saying verbally.
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