What Your Body Tells Me Darling!
Want to know what someone is thinking or if it’s a good time to ask your boss for a raise?
Chances are — without even speaking a word — the people you interact with every day have some sort of vibe on your mood and basic thoughts.
How, you ask? Easily! By reading your body language...
Body language is the process of communicating nonverbally through conscious or unconscious gestures and movements. It’s often referred to as the “unspoken” language. Sometimes you may be giving off an unintentional negative vibe with your body language. Whether you’re in a business or social setting (unless you’re real jerk), it’s important to know how to appear warm and open to make others feel comfortable in your presence.
The art of reading body language is well documented and can take years to learn. However, knowing the basics can help almost anyone.
People like warm, genuine smiles. A smile is like a yawn — contagious — putting other parties at ease. Think of heartfelt warm-fuzzy thoughts, such as babies or your favorite pet, and smile.
If you don’t look someone in the eyes while speaking, this can be interpreted as dishonesty or a shady personality. Likewise, shifting eye movement or rapid changing of focus/direction can translate similarly. If more than one person is present in a group, look each person in the eye as you speak, slowly turning to face the next person and acknowledge him or her with eye contact as well. Continue on so that each person has felt your warm, trusting glance. Some suggest beginning with one person and moving clockwise around the group so that no one is missed, and so that you are not darting around, seemingly glaring at people.
Attention Span / Attitude
Other people can tell what type of attitude you have by your attention span. If you quickly lose focus of the other person and what is being said, and if your attention span wanders, this shows through and makes you seem disinterested, bored and possibly even uncaring.
Attention to Direction
If you sit or stand so that you are blocking another in the party, say someone is behind you, this can be interpreted as rude or thoughtless. So be sure to turn so that everyone is included in the conversation or angle of view, or turn gently, at ease and slowly, while talking, so that everyone is incorporated, recognized and involved in the conversation.
Arms Folded / Legs Crossed
This can be seen as defensive or an end to the conversation. So have arms hang freely or hold a glass of water, a business card or note taking instruments while communicating with others. Be open with open arms. Note: If you need to cross legs, cross at your ankles and not your knees. Sitting tightly folded up says that you are closed to communications.
This is fairly accurate. If people are shaking their heads while you speak, they are in
agreement. If they are shaking, “no,” disagreement reigns in their minds. Be mindful of your head movement and make sure it’s conveying appropriate agreement or disagreement.
Space / Distance
On the whole, people like their own personal body space. Give people room and keep out of their space. Entering too close can be intrusive and viewed as aggressive.
The Body Lean
Sitting or standing, leaning is viewed as interest. In other words, an interested listener leans toward the speaker, while still maintaining comfortable personal space.
Being savvy about body language is an essential tool to master when forming business or personal relationships. In addition to paying attention to your own unspoken language, you can use this knowledge to read others.
Give it a try. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn.
Until next time, my darlings,