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17 Keys to Understanding Body Language

Say What You Mean

Don’t Let Your Body Betray You When Communicating!

Though people communicate in different ways, the one form of communication is that is most recognized is in our actions. Visual senses account for up to 80% of what people perceive when communicating. This means that what others see is where they gain the most insight into what you are communicating. Body language is found to constitute over 50% of what people ‘hear’ in a conversation. It is important to pay attention to how you behave when talking.

Crossing Arms

For example, your upper body posture is the first part of you to be seen during conversation. There is a significant difference in how you position your arms. If you keep your arms crossed over your chest, you can be perceived as being wary and negative. Instead, you might want to keep yours open and relaxed. This position sends signals of openness and honesty.

What the Hands Say

Additionally, your hands send signals of their own. If you keep your hands clenched, you appear frustrated or closed off. Instead, use your hands openly during conversation to show your personality. Also, while using your hands, be sure to express them with your palms up to display openness, not secretiveness.

Eye Contact

One of the most noticed areas during communication is the eyes. When conversing with others, be sure to look at them during the conversation. If you avoid eye contact, the first thought can be dishonesty or disinterest. However, do not stare them down either. This is just threatening or weird. Instead, aim for what is known as ‘2/3 eye contact’. This means that 2/3 of the time look that person in the eye, especially when they are talking. The other 1/3 you can focus elsewhere in their facial area.

Sitting Down Posture

What do you do when you are sitting down during the conversation? Easy, all you have to do is be aware of your posture. If you lean back and appear slouchy, you are showing lack of interest or boredom. By contrast, if you sit on the edge and lean forward, it comes across as aggressive. Again, aim for something more middle-of-the-road. Show confidence and interest by sitting straight yet relaxed. Not only do you show attentiveness, but also you appear taller.

Feet Movements

Finally, be mindful of your feet when sitting during conversation. Try not to wiggle, jiggle, or tap your feet. This behavior implies uneasiness or irritation. Instead, keep your feet flat on the floor or cross your ankles beneath the chair. This will help keep your posture good and show you are relaxed and comfortable.

It is important to remember that your body language can make or break an effective conversation. The wrong signals send the wrong message and misunderstanding can lead to conflict. So, don’t try too hard to appear a stiff and rigid person, but be mindful of how your body sends messages during your communications.

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