"I don't let my mouth say nothin' my head can't stand." Louis Armstrong
Since the 1970’s, learning how to communicate better has had a lot to do with understanding body language.
Julius Fast wrote a book entitled, Body Language in 1970. He talked about a new science called Kinesics. It opened the way to more studies and books on the subjects.
Today, the term Body Language is very common and understood as an important element of communication.
In fact, experts in the field of communication suggest that there is a rule that says that 7% of the meaning of what a person is saying comes from their words.
Interestingly, 38% is based on the tone of their voice. 55% of the meaning comes from the body language of the person that is speaking. This rule comes from research that was published in the late 1960’s.
Some now think that the percentages from this research might be slightly different. Nevertheless, the bottom line is still the same. If you don’t know the basics of body language, you are missing a valuable tool for learning how to communicate better. We speak body language on a subliminal level, without actually realizing that we are communicating through body talk.
The most expressive part of your body is your face. When you enter a room if you feel nervous, your expression might make you look aloof or unfriendly.Smiling at the room is a sure-fire way to remove anyone’s doubts about your approachability. Smiling makes us look warm, open and confident.
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. They certainly give people clues about what we are feeling.A direct gaze towards someone can show interest- direct staring on the other hand can mean an intense dislike. Very little eye contact can show that you are shy.
Have you ever watched someone’s hand gestures when they are talking? Open hand gestures tend to make a person appear open and honest. Bringing hands together to a point can accent the point you are making.Wringing your hands or excessively moving your fingers and hands will give away nervousness. It can even make someone look dishonest- are they trying to hide something?
If you lean towards someone you are showing an interest in that person. If we are feeling low in confidence, we tend to slouch our shoulders and look down.Men and women use different body language. For instance, women will stand close to each other, hold eye contact with the person they are talking to and use gestures.Men make little effort to maintain eye contact and don’t rely on the use of gestures to communicate. Men and women can learn how to communicate better by observing the differences in their use of body language.
By Peter Murphy