It’s incredible how much of our communication happens before we say a word. As humans, we are programmed to interpret another’s body language and, while we may not always understand it, we do tend to respond to it.
Have you ever felt a connection with someone before you speak with them? Do you feel more comfortable with some than with others? Do certain people create feelings of unease or anxiety?
These unspoken messages are certainly worth understanding and will stand you in good stead in all future relationships – both at work and at home. No matter your role, building solid working relationships with people can depend on your non-verbal communication.
Body Language Clues
On article sums up the importance of body language succinctly.
“Whether you’re aware of it or not, when you interact with others, you’re continuously giving and receiving wordless signals. All of your nonverbal behaviors—the gestures you make, your posture, your tone of voice, how much eye contact you make—send strong messages. They can put people at ease, build trust, and draw others towards you, or they can offend, confuse, and undermine what you’re trying to convey. These messages don’t stop when you stop speaking either. Even when you’re silent, you’re still communicating nonverbally.” (Source)
Our faces display a range of emotions which are universally understood and are instinctive and mostly unconscious. However, When your facial expressions conflict with what you are saying, then you will find that people will automatically feel distrust or confusion. These responses happen within seconds and can make it difficult to overcome a bias that has formed on this basis.
Likewise, your posture can ‘leak’ your feelings toward a person or a situation without you being aware of it. Try speaking to someone when their body is turned toward the door; you just know that they’re pretty much done with this conversation and are ready to leave. While you are speaking to a person, they are covering their mouth with their hand. Very often this can mean that they disagree with what you are saying, even if they’re nodding. What about a meeting with someone who leans back in their chair and places their hands behind their head? You can be pretty certain that they are either supremely confident to the point of arrogance, or they feel superior to you…and want you to know that.
As you can see, this is a huge topic which is both fascinating and fun to learn. Take a look at some online sources (of which there are plenty) and add this to your repertoire of ‘things you are great at.’