Body language is the automatic gestures, eye contact, stance, and facial expressions we give as we speak.
Even when we are silent, our bodies are communicating for us. Professionals agree that between 50 – 58% of our communication is nonverbal.
By learning to control your body language, you can convey confidence and trustworthiness.
The ability to control nonverbal communication and read body language, gives you an advantage in your professional and personal life.
If you master nonverbal communication and can read body language you are more likely to succeed in whatever your life goals are.
We provide you a guide on how you can start to understand better this form of communication and eventually use it to your advantage. Let’s take it one step at a time and see what you can learn:
Mastering Nonverbal Communication & Reading Body Language
- 4 Easy Steps -
Step 1: Read the Thoughts Behind the Eye Movements
The eyes truly are the windows to the soul. By paying attention to eye contact you will learn how to spot a liar by their eye movements.
Eye contact is the first step in gaining trust from listeners.
Eyes that are squinted into slits or darting around convey mistrust. Combine these traits with micro-gestures, such as contracting pupils or an eyebrow lift and the person speaking most likely is lying to you.
As you learn the subtleties of eye contact, pay attention to those around you.
If someone looks to the right, they are often creating, while looking to the left shows they are recalling information.
A person who fabricates lies will subconsciously look right when thinking and speaking. This motion could also indicate an exaggeration of the facts being presented.
On the other hand, direct eye contact shows honesty and interest.
When you are speaking, you can judge the attention of your audience by their eye contact. Other things to look for include widening of the eyes showing appeal, pupil dilation showing attraction, and blinking showing excitement or pressure.
Step 2: Learn what Facial Expressions Translate into
Our faces are the most highly developed organs for sending signals. We are born with the knowledge of how to express our emotions using our facial muscles, and how to read the facial expressions of others.
Unlike other nonverbal communication, most facial expressions are universal across gender and cultures.
A smile is one of the most powerful facial expressions you possess.
A genuine smile will encompass the whole face, including eyes and eyebrows, not just the mouth.
Men and women tend to make different facial expressions, especially when you look at head movement.
In general, women move their heads more when they speak. However, psychologists have proven that the movement of the person you are with, more than their gender, dictates how much you move.
Although there are hundreds of subtle expressions made possible by your facial muscles, the six main ones are:
Happiness, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Surprise, and Anger.
Watch for these clues when speaking with others.
Step 3: Small Hand Gestures Guide
As you study body language, you will automatically be drawn to people's' hands and the things they do with them.
We use our hands to communicate almost as much as our facial expressions.
However, many hand gestures vary across cultures. Keep this in mind, particularly when traveling.
In general, holding your hands close to your body shows nervousness or shyness.
Crossing closed hands over your body conveys a feeling that you are overexposed and not confident. Closing your hands into fists tells others you are defensive, and not trustworthy.
On the opposite end, easily moving your arms to point or gesture demonstrates confidence, trustworthiness, and ease.
You can learn how to effectively utilize your arms and hands by practicing in front of a mirror or with a group of trusted friends.
Step 4: Notice the Posture
Last, study the posture of individuals as they speak. When standing, your head, neck, hips and feet should all fall in a straight line.
If you struggle with good posture, practice whenever you remember.
Try to avoid having any body part out of line, each one tells your audience something different about you.
If you head protrudes forward, you convey a feeling of humility and subservience. While this may work in some settings, a corporate meeting when you're looking for a promotion is probably not one of them!
Slouching when sitting or standing shows a lack of confidence or the fact that you are not ready for the task at hand. Standing with your pelvis forward creates a highly-sexualized feel and should be avoided.
The best stance for communicating accurately to your audience is to stand with good posture, but relaxed shoulders. This stance tells your audience you are confident, they can trust you, and you have authority. It also looks more natural and not forced.
A thorough study of body language allows you to understand your feelings when
It shows you if you can trust the person and helps you pinpoint when something feels off. It also allows you to display the qualities you want others to see.
Practice portraying yourself as confident using nonverbal communication.
Also, look for inconsistencies in others. When deciding if you can trust a speaker, look at the whole conversation, not just one or two eye movements, and trust your instincts.
Now you know what crucial aspects you have to look for to understand
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reading body language.
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