Actions speak louder than words.
Your body language often speaks volumes to other people, even if you don’t realize it. Understanding how our body language can impact how others perceive us is the key to improved our communication with people. Similarly, being able to identify certain non-verbal suggestions in someone else’s body language is a great tool for warding off bad vibes and disingenuous intentions.
It can be easy to think that our words are how we communicate, but what is happening in the non-verbal space is often an element overlooked. In fact, “up to 80% of what we communicate is nonverbal,” says Joe Navarro, a former FBI agent turned nonverbal communication expert and author of What Every Body Is Saying.
In order to understand what vibes we are giving off, we need to look at what people may be interpreting. Our facial expressions are the easiest to identify and the hardest to mask, thus, when your verbal communication is not aligned with our non-verbal parts, we come off as insincere.
Our facial expressions are usually a dead give-away as to how engaged we are in a conversation because it is something that we have very little control over, unless of course you are a poker player. During excitement our eyes tend to widen and the eyebrows go up, but the opposite happens when we dislike a situation or even a person. Likewise, our brows then to go down and the eyes become narrow.
Where you direct your gaze also matters. When you look away during conversation, you are giving the impression that we aren’t listening and hearing the other person. Being able to give the person undivided attention, you are acknowledging they are important to you allowing them to truly feel heard.
When we are face-to-face with another person, crossing our arms (or your legs) can signal that you are in defensive mode or unapproachable. A crossed stance is a sign that you are being protective and creating a non-verbal barrier, which can make it hard for another person want to have a conversation with you.
It’s also important that you are aware of the angle of your body. Joan Bird, who is one of the UK’s leading experts in behavior and language and success coach, notes in an article with ShoppingLifestyle.com, “leaning forwards can have positive impact that says, ‘I’m really interested in you and want to hear what you have to say’ or ‘I really want to interact with you and share what I know.'” On the other hand, while leaning backwards can make you appear more relaxed, if you over do it, you’ll come off as over-confident or uninterested.
Additionally, being too stiff and holding perfect posture may indicate you can’t be approached and that you are closed off to everything going on around you. The vibe of perfectionism may be assumed and, in general, people will steer away when they think you are not being authentic in who you are.
Have you ever tapped your fingers or shook your foot? Often times this is something that we may not notice until someone points it out to us. In some instances this can appears as stressed, nervous or maybe even bored in the given situation. Speaking of feet, did you know they’re the most honest part of your body? According to Woman’s Day, “whether you’re sitting or standing, if a person’s feet are pointed toward you, that’s a signal that she enjoys your company and wants to stick around. But if her feet are angled away from you, odds are she’d rather be somewhere else.”
Effective communication means paying attention not only to the words you speak, but also to the body language that you hold. When your body language is in aligned with your verbal communication, you will appear authentic, allows you to really connect with the people around you!