Understanding the power of body language is important when communicating with others, especially if we want healthy relationships at home and work. We’ve all heard the saying ‘actions speak louder than words,’ this phrase shows us that even silence can convey a powerful message.
In one to one conversation, signals are sent on two levels at the same time: spoken word and body language. If our words and actions are not in alignment then the flow of conversation will be hindered. Right or wrong nine times out of ten, the receiver of the communication tends to base the intentions of the sender on the non-verbal message they interpret. Our behaviour is a strong means of communication, subject to interpretation by others, so we have to make it as clear as possible.
Working in a team whether at work or home, you will notice that people project their attitudes through their feelings and behaviour. For the team to be successful, personal needs like approval, growth, achievement and recognition need to be met. This is done when team members communicate effectively through an understanding of the power of body language, and they will have a better chance of success.
Prof Albert Mehrabian through his research discovered that 55% of our communication is non-verbal. More than what we say, or how we say it is how we show it!
Non verbal communication is the exchange of messages through facial expression, eye contact, tactile/touch, space, environment, vocal sounds and the use of silence.
Here are some examples to be aware of:
Distance: Personal space, intensity of exchange.
Orientation: Face to face (facing up to situation), side to side (working alongside), back to back (ignoring).
Posture: Slouched or erect, arms folded or open, leaning forward or back.
Physical: Shaking hands, embracing, pushing or patting on back (depends on element of intimacy).
Facial: Frown, smile, yawn, sneer (expressing emotions with no words).
Gestures: Hands open, hands behind back or tucked under arms, clenched fists, hands face down.
Looking: Aversion, boredom, embarrassment.
Eyes: Trust, happiness, sadness, surprise,
Forehead: Anger, frustration, surprise.
Sound: Tone, pitch (frustration, anger, happiness, sadness).
Silence: Comfortable link between messages, sign of tension, peaceful, disagreement.
Environment: What does your desk say about you? Where do you sit when you enter a room?
Time: How long will you make people wait to see you? Do others always have to fit in with your timetable. Is there mutual respect?
What messages are you unconsciously conveying in the workplace or at home? It is important for all of us to develop an understanding of body language. Co-operation improves as we recognise and respond appropriately to behavioural cues. Now that you are aware, you can watch out for the signs given quietly by others, but don’t forget that they are watching you too!
I am not suggesting that you use rehearsed gestures to impress others, this will definitely break flow. Just be yourself.
If you are struggling with poor communication at home or work, I can help you increase your understanding of body language and how to use it to your advantage.
Click this link reserve a time to chat with me and we can take it from there.