Body language is a form of silent communication. Did you realize that you are communicating all the time? When you are sleeping, when you are sipping your coffee reading the newspaper, when you are crossing your legs or folding your arms, you are communicating. You smile, frown, raised eyebrows are all communicating.
Sometimes, our body language gives away our true feelings. We may be speaking to someone and are asked of an opinion. If you are answering in a positive manner but are frowning, your body language will clearly be picked by the other person. It doesn’t matter that you spoke positively. You body language hold more weight in that conversation.
Hence, always be wary of your body language. Body language, like any other form of communication can be practiced and improved upon. How?
Identify your body language
In order for you to improve your body language, you need to first understand it. The best way to understand your body language is by speaking to a close friend or family. They will be able to help you identify how your body is reacting when you are in conversation with them. They will be able to tell you if you keep your hands folded all the time in conversation or if you are fidgeting in your seat or if you are making eye contact.
Learn about body languages and what they mean
Once you more or less know about how your body is reacting to everyday instance, you need to understand what the signals are that are picked up by others you are in conversation with, and how you can improve upon them. Some of the basic body language flukes are mentioned below and how you can improve them.
Frowning creates an instant barrier to a conversation. It clearly shows the other person that you are not in acceptance with what is saying. It could also mean that you are getting angry. You need to ensure that your facial expressions are in check when in conversation if you want the other person to open up and confide in you. Also, always keeping a frown on your face makes you look unfriendly and people may decide to avoid you totally.
A smile is the answer. You need to practice smiling. You can be in disagreement with something being said or done. However, if your aim is effective communication, you need to show the disagreement in your sentences rather than on your face. Moreover, a smile invites people to converse with you and shows you are friendly person.
When you constantly fold your hands, you are showing that you are not open to new ideas or that you are unapproachable. Folded hands gives the impression of barrier. Practice unfolding your hands consciously when you notice that your hands are folded. Practice and practice until you are comfortable with keeping your hands by your side or just unfolded.
Nothing offends another person like the lack of eye contact when in conversation. Keeping your gaze down or avoided makes you come across as an insincere or uninterested person. Eye contact shows that you are interested in the conversation as well as the person you are talking to. However, do avoid staring as this is considered rude. You can make the other person very conscious and uncomfortable by doing so. Staring also denotes anger and this could land you in trouble.
Nodding is a good gesture. However, nodding excessively shows that you are in hurry or are not interested in the conversation at hand. Nod only where required. You will be able to pick the body language of the other person and take the cue from them on when to nod. Usually direct eye contact is made and the speaker would be nodding as well. This could be a cue for you to nod in agreement. When in disagreement, do not shake your head excessively. This is perceived to be rude. Instead, converse your disagreement.
Doodling or playing with your hair
Engaging in activities that are not required at the moment will signal to the person you are in conversation with that you are not interested in the conversation. It is considered to be rude and disrespectful when someone is speaking with you and you are keeping yourself busy with something else which is less important. Doodling is an effective way to ill boredom when you are in a serious and boring meeting, for example. However, it is still rude and you need to refrain from doing so. Playing with hair has similar connotations as well. Make conscious effort not to touch your pen or pencil when someone is speaking with you unless you need to take down notes. You can tie up your hair or keep them short to overcome the problem of playing with hair.
As we have explored, body language plays an important role in conveying our intentional or unintentional feelings and thoughts to another person. It is not always a conscious gesture, but the impact is much greater than you can anticipate. You may be saying something and if your body language not in sync with what you are saying, it will clearly show through to whoever you are communicating with. Therefore, it is better to start being in tune with your body language from now on. At first, it may seem a bit uncomfortable and you will feel very restricted in your moves. However, once you become conscious, your body language will automatically adjust itself. In conclusion, you can make a difference to your communication with learning the basics of body language, identifying your own body language and its shortcomings.
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