Do you read body language?
Body language is a great indicator of what people really feel even if their words are not indicative of that. More than half of what we are trying to convey will come from body language gestures, even if we are consciously aware of it or not. Try to look out for these body language cues: Real smiles will crinkle the eyes Genuine smiles will reach the eyes and crinkle the skin around it to create crow’s feet. People often smile to hide what they are really feeling and thinking, for example if you ask someone if they like your idea and they smile at you, check if it’s a genuine smile to know if they really like it or if they are patronizing you. If it isn’t a real smile, there’s generally more to what the person is thinking and feeling about you/your ideas. Crossed arms and legs signal resistance Psychologically, crossed legs or arms signal that a person is physically, mentally and emotionally blocked off from whatever is in front of them, including you. It means that they are not open to your ideas or aren’t keen in what you are saying even if they are smiling and talking to you pleasantly. This is not intentional, and is exactly why it’s so revealing. Copying body language is a good thing Have you mirrored other people’s behaviors? Mirroring someone’s body language is something that we do unconsciously. This knowledge is useful when you’re negotiating or discussing something because you can see if the other party is receptive to your message/pitch, and also shows you what the other person is really thinking about what you are proposing. Posture is important Standing straight with your shoulders back is a power position because it appears to maximize the amount of space you fill. Maintaining good posture like standing straight, being open and having expansive gestures like palms facing down on a table with your arms straight can command respect and promotes engagement, whether you are a leader or not. Raised eyebrows = discomfort The three main emotions that make your eyebrows go up are: fear, surprise and worry. If someone raises their eyebrows when they are talking to you and the conversation isn’t one that contains fear, surprise or worry, then there is something going on that is making them uncomfortable with the content or the conversation in general. Clenched jaw = stress A clenched jaw, tightened neck, or furrowed brows are all signs of stress. Regardless of what the person is saying, if they display these gestures, it means the conversation may be making them uncomfortable and they might be focusing on the thing that is stressing them out. Exaggerated nodding shows anxiety about approval When you are talking to someone and they keep nodding excessively, it means that they are worried about what you think about them or that you doubt their ability to follow your instructions, thus the constant nodding to try and seek your approval. In conclusion Body language is not a 100% accurate-all-the-time way of telling what a person is feeling and thinking, but you can learn a lot about what they are feeling and gauge their thoughts and comfort levels based on what they are showing with their gestures.
How important is body language to you? Are they any other gestures that we have missed out? Let us know in the comments below.