Module Two: Communicating with Body Language

We are constantly communicating, even when we are not speaking. Unspoken communication makes up over half of what we tell others and they tell us. It affects our work and personal relationships. Improves negotiating, management, and interpersonal skills by correctly interpreting body language and important signals.

Learning a New Language

In many ways understanding body language is like learning a foreign language. There are a few tips that make learning any language, even a nonverbal one, easier.

Tips:

  • Set Goals: Make sure that your goals are realistic and have specific timelines.
  • Devote time to learning: Schedule time to practice. Do not rely on spare time.
  • Practice daily: Hone skills by continued practice.
  • Enjoy the process: You are not in school. Relax and have fun with your new skill.

The Power of Body Language

Understanding body language does more than improve relationships. You will get insight into the thoughts and feelings of those around you. Because it is not a conscious form of communication, people betray themselves in their body language. Body language is powerful in several ways.

Power of Body Language:

  • It is honest: Body language conveys truth, even when words do not.
  • Creates self-awareness: Understanding body language helps you identify your own actions that hinder success.
  • Understand feelings: Body language shows feelings and motive such as aggression, submission, deception, etc. Use these as cues to your communication.
  • Enhance listening and communication skills: Paying attention to body language makes someone a better listener. Hear between the words spoken to what is being said.

More than Words

Much of the way people communicate is nonverbal. Body language specifically focuses on physical, not tone, or pitch. It includes the following characteristics.

Body Language:

  • Proximity: The distance between people
  • Positioning: Position of a body
  • Facial expression: The eyes are particularly noticed.
  • Touching: This includes objects, people, and themselves.
  • Breathing: The rate of respiration is telling.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Our impressions of each other are based on more than words. People can have cordial conversations and not like each other. The actions that we take are stronger than our words. For example, a person may dismiss someone using body language and not saying anything negative. Like it or not, or body language makes a lasting impression on the people around us.

What Actions Can Say:

  • Deception
  • Confidence
  • Nerves
  • Boredom
  • Emotions
  • Attraction
  • Being open
  • Being closed off

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of what body language can communicate.

Case Study

Jim had to hire a new personal assistant. He needed someone organized and personable. Jen answered all of the interview questions perfectly. She had the necessary training and education, so Jim hired her. After a few weeks, some of Jim’s coworkers complained about her behavior. They accused her of being aggressive and insubordinate, but she never said anything specifically rude or hostile. Her tone and body language, however, were extremely aggressive. For example, she rolled her eyes when people asked her questions. Jim had to coach Jen on her nonverbal communication, and he added a body language evaluation to his interview process.