Believe it or not, your body does a lot of the talking. Nonverbal communication is more important than you could imagine. Every little thing that your body does speaks volumes as to what you may or may not be saying. Body language is very important, and it's even more important to understand how it could easily affect your relationships.
Dr. Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, said that human communication is split into 7 percent spoken words, 38 percent tone of voice, and 55 percent body language. This is a clear indication of how important our body language is and should make you more aware of what you are actually communicating to the outside world. In a Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy, an Associate Professor at Harvard Business School and author of Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self To Your Biggest Challenges, Cuddy explained that your body language shapes who you are as an individual. So whether you like it or not, your body is sending a clear signal of how you are feeling all the time. Unless you are Meryl Streep, then you are just a magician. To get an overall better grasp on how you are secretly communicating, you will not only open up plenty of more doors for your career, but you will get a better understanding of who you are, internally. Take some time to see what body signals you might be sending off and how they could be affecting your everyday life.
1. Crossing Any Body Part
Crossing your arms is pretty comfortable; I get it. It happens a lot when it's cold outside, or you may even do it when you are bored. But for your friends, it may be a poor way to express yourself and others might interpret it as intimidating. It creates a barrier between you and another, and might prohibit deeper forms of communication. If you ever find yourself crossing your arms in the workforce during a meeting, it might actually indicate something else. According to the Janine Driver, president of The Body Language Institute in an interview with the Today Show, crossing your arms during a meeting might actually mean you are thinking. “Research shows you’re 30 percent more likely to stay on a difficult task with crossed arms, so during brainstorming, it’s actually a good idea to cross arms,” Driver said. It really depends on where you cross your arms that determines what others might feel. You know, just something more to think about. NBD.
Slouching, in more ways than one, is actually very bad for you. Whether it's pertaining to your health or communication, there really is no reason why you should do it in the first place. According to a Forbes article, slouching signals to others that you have poor self-esteem, lack confidence and don't have a lot of energy. Why? According to a U.S Health News report, slouchers are more prone to negative self-talk. Instead, if you try to make an effort to always sit up straight, you are actually building a resistance to stress, which is always a good thing.
3. Not Mimicking Gestures
Have you ever heard that the key way to find out if someone likes you is if they mimic what you are doing? For instance, if you cross your legs, and then soon after, that person does the same thing. It's quite funny to watch from the outside looking in. It's also good to do while you are communicating with another. It may sound silly, but it's a great way to bond with another person and sometimes, we don't even realize that we are doing it. Smiling is usually a great way to mimic what the other person is doing, unless you want to be the Grumpy Cat of humans. In a post on Psychologia, it states that people who experience the same emotions (like smiling) experience a more mutual trust and connection for one another. So do like the mimes do and make a conscious effort to mimic someone when you like them.
4. Avoiding Eye Contact
For a long time, people have viewed a loss of eye contact as an indication of untrustworthiness. But it also can be perceived as rude when you are in the middle of a conversation with someone and you looking elsewhere instead of them. It seems like a lot for a single body part, but the eyes are the windows to the soul, right? Just don't forget to always have an open mind. Some are very shy when it comes to eye contact, and it's intimidating for them to even look directly at one person. If you have good emotional intelligence, this might be an easy detect for you.
When it comes to making fidgeting movements, it usually expresses what you are feeling internally. Fidgeting is called a "displacement behavior." According to Jim Blythe, author of Consumer Behaviour, fidgeting is a displacement behavior for whatever you are feeling within for an external release, like biting your nails or tugging on your clothes. Why is it not good to do? Well, it might make you be perceived as being nervous or not fully confident. For a few, it's a form of comfort in an very awkward situation. When I am at an event by myself, I usually gravitate towards the food table, or constantly have a drink in my hand to comfort myself mentally. Oh, and don't even get me started if there is a puppy nearby.
6. Using Authoritative Gestures
While these more aggressive hand gestures are perfect for the work environment during important meetings, it's totally OK to take a chill pill and relax when you are outside of the boardroom. Don't know what authoritative gestures are? Watch a presidential debate and you will see them everywhere. The candidates always command the room and demand respect via nonverbal actions. According to Nicolas Fradet, expert body-language coach, if you love talking with your hands, try to keep them open and up. You will be perceived as honest and friendly. But if you do decide to use these strong gestures, make they are sparingly and for a purpose. According to an American Management Association article by Carol Kinsey Goman, PhD, an executive coach and leadership consultant, if you want to get of barriers, have your arms wide and stand in a "power pose." It will show that you are confident and deserve attention in a conversation.
Whether you like it or not, your body is an open book, and with these tips, you will be showing the world who is boss.
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