Body Language Skills
The nonverbal signals we use to communicate with others is called body language. Experts believe that nonverbal signals are a large part of daily communication.
Our facial expressions and body movements can convey a lot of information. According to some estimates, body language could account for 60-65% of all communication. While it is essential to understand body language, it is equally important to pay attention to context and other cues. You should consider signals in a series of actions rather than one.
Body Language should be read in 3 different ways:
- Context– This is the environment and situation you are reading the body language within
- Congruence– Ask yourself is this body language matching what is being said
- Clusters– Read body language as a whole with several signals together. Never judge someone based on one body language signal.
What Is Body Language?
Your ability to communicate effectively is key to your success in personal and professional relationships. However, it’s your nonverbal cues (or “body language”) that speaks louder than your words. The use of nonverbal communication, such as body language, is the use and expressions of your body to communicate, usually done instinctively, rather than consciously.
Sometimes, the words you speak and your body language can be completely different. Your body language can be misleading. If you speak one thing but your body language is another, your listener may feel you are being dishonest. For example, if you say “yes” and then shake your head no. Listeners must decide whether to believe the mixed signals. Because body language is an unconscious, natural language that communicates your true feelings, intentions and thoughts, the listener will likely choose the nonverbal message.
You can communicate what you mean and connect with others better by understanding and using nonverbal communication. This will help you build stronger and more rewarding relationships.
The Beginner’s Guide To Reading Body Language
Communication doesn’t just happen verbally. You also communicate emotions and reactions through your body language. This includes facial expressions and gestures.
Many people are able to decode intentional body language with little difficulty. You can usually tell how someone feels by their actions, such as if they roll their eyes or stamp their feet.
Crossed arms could indicate unease or defensiveness, but it also means that the heat isn’t on yet and your colleague is cold. If your boss is known for his tendency to fidget and shift weight, this could indicate discomfort. However, it may also mean that he wants to move the conversation forward.
It is important to remember that body language can be interpreted in many different ways. There are many factors that can influence how someone uses and interprets their body language.
The Science of Body Language
When it comes to communicating emotions, you have probably heard that seven percent of messages are communicated via words. The other 93% comes from nonverbal communication.
This is Mehrabian’s Communication Model. It also says that body language is more important then tone of voice or choice of words in communicating true feelings. Mehrabian clarifies that his study only dealt with communication involving emotions and attitudes. It is therefore not applicable to all cases.
3 Giveaways Body Gestures
- Open palms are an ancient symbol of honesty. If someone swears the truth in court of law they will place one hand on a religious text, and then raise the other hand up to the sky, palm facing the person they are speaking to. An open palm has been associated throughout Western history with truth, honesty, allegiance and submission.
- Raised eyebrows can often be a sign that you are feeling uncomfortable. People can raise their eyebrows out of discomfort because they are worried, surprised, or afraid. It is possible that someone compliments your new haircut or outfit by raising their eyebrows.
- Conversations are likely to go well if they mimic your body language. If two people get along, their movements and postures mirror each other. Your best friend will cross her legs if you do the same. You’ll be doing the same silly hand gestures if you’re having a good time on a date.
You can spot unspoken emotions or issues in the body language of others by being aware. Being aware of body language can help clients and colleagues better understand you. Understanding body language includes understanding the context and identifying the individual quirks of each sign.