How to Read Body Language: Part OneThere are two ways you can use body language to enhance your face-to-face interactions: by observing the body language of the person you’re speaking to and by controlling your own body language. Understanding what others are telling you through their nonverbal communication and taking control of the signals you are sending has the potential to improve your ability to communicate. Your body’s actions and responses actually do speak louder than words.
It’s all a matter of knowing what to look for. Positive nonverbal communication is usually quite reliable as an indicator of the way a person feels unless gestures become exaggerated. Exaggerated communication suggests a negative response. Negative nonverbal actions are less reliable. Actions that are most often construed as negative may simply reflect comfort level, energy level or personal distraction. Do not jump to conclusions if you observe what you think is negative body language. Here are some things to look for when you are communicating with someone:
Relaxed Posture. There are probably no major barriers to communication if the person you are talking with appears comfortable and is breathing naturally. If their body is tense, their motions choppy, their hands clasped in front of them, or they have turned their palms face down on the table in front of them, there may be cause for concern.
Body Language. A person who is relaxed and open generally keeps their arms, legs, and feet uncrossed. Keeping one’s jacket open is also a sign of openness -- and honesty. Crossing one’s arms is often a sign of defensiveness, and if it is done in conjunction with leaning back, it may convey superiority or smugness. If it’s done in the context of an established relationship, it may simply be a relaxed gesture. Leaning forward demonstrates interest and involvement.
Eye Contact: Direct eye contact is generally expected in western cultures. It demonstrates the person you are talking with is interested in you and what you have to say. It builds trust and strengthens the bond with the person you are communicating with. When we are talking with someone we generally maintain eye contact for about one-third of the time, looking away from time to time. To look at someone less suggests you are bored or have something to hide. It may convey a lack of interest which makes the speaker feel uncomfortable. Looking at someone for longer periods of time may intimidate them or, conversely, demonstrate enthusiasm and caring. It depends on what other nonverbal communication accompanies the prolonged eye contact. #nonverbal #nonverbalcommunication #bodylanguage
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