“Watch” how I feel and think.
Understanding body language does more than improve relationships – you can gain insight into others’ thoughts and feelings.
Because it’s not a conscious form of communication, people betray themselves through their body language. The smallest movements from our heads to the way we stand can help us interpret what is being said.
Over the past four weeks, we have learned how powerful the actions of our bodies can influence how we communicate.
It is honest: Body language conveys truth, even when words do not.
It creates self-awareness: Understanding body language helps you identify your actions that hinder success.
It understands feelings: Body language shows feelings and motives such as aggression, submission, deception, etc. Use these as cues to your communication.
It enhances listening and communication skills: Paying attention to body language makes someone a better listener. Picking up on gestures and cues helps you understand what is being said.
Communicate with Power
Powerful communication breeds confidence and respect. People must sense power without aggression.
Communicating with power requires practice, but it’s an effective business tool.
Stance: A wide stance with the feet apart indicates power. Hands-on the hips with the elbows out takes up more space and also indicates power.
Positioning: Avoid open space at your back. It is known to elevate stress. Open spaces can be used to make others more vulnerable.
Walk: Walk quickly and take long strides. Be careful not to run, and keep the back and neck erect.
Handshake: While handshakes are considered part of our culture, there may be hesitation since the coronavirus pandemic. This practice may no longer apply to some people, while others may want to resume this tradition. If the latter, offer a firm handshake and keep the hand vertical. Placing the palm up is a submissive gesture. The palm down is a dominating gesture.
Sitting: Sit with the legs slightly apart. Another powerful pose is sitting with one leg crossed over the other and hands behind the head. Be careful, however, because this position can make women uncomfortable.
People pay more attention to actions than words.
We typically make decisions about someone within four seconds of a meeting. This is largely based on body language and behaviour.
If your body language is hostile, it does not matter how kind your words or tone are. Be aware of what your actions and gestures are communicating to those around you.
Practice your body language skills and decode the body language of others.
Actions do speak louder than words – Communications 101.
Words from the Wise
Ludwig Wittgenstein: “The human body is the best picture of the human soul.”
Find out more in the first 4 installments of this series: Head Position, Hands Speak, The Eyes Have It, and Facial Expressions.