The way we hold ourselves, control our mannerism, conduct while interacting with others and even the way we breathe are all tellers of who we are regarding our character, psychological constitution, and intent. Body language varies depending on a person’s temperament, bringing up, imposed behavioral norms, etc.
With a little conscious effort to improve your body language, you are looking at better chances to make friends, score a job, make an impression on a date or just present yourself in the true light of your personality.
What is body language?
Body language is our overall physical body mannerism i.e. facial expressions, body position, proximity to others, eye gestures, habits, the way we touch ourselves and others, the way we interact with others and even breathing.
Most of the body language mannerisms are subconscious, and we also read other people’s mannerisms subconsciously. The reason you rarely ever remember a person’s name instantly after you’ve met them is that your subconscious mind is busy evaluating that person’s body language to get to know their personality that way.
Still, virtually everyone can consciously improve their body language — and hence their communication skills.
Are there body language universalities?
The truth is, while there are some significant body language fixations, no one gesture is universal. For instance, someone’s toes pointed at you may mean they like you; it may also mean they are facing you in conversation because they are polite.
What also poses as crucial in successful body language communication is body self-confidence; experts in plastic surgery from Sydney find that people who feel good about their physical body have higher success rate in overall gestural communication. For this reason, the interest in plastic surgery has largely increased throughout the past decade or so as people find it essential to feel good to achieve the best possible results in their interactions.
Culture additionally plays a part in body language. While some cultures view eye contact as a lack of respect; many Western cultures find it a sign of confidence and honesty. Other cultures respect personal space more than others; so proximity guidelines would be different depending on who you are dealing with.
For this reason, reading into body language (yours or others’) too much or too literally may be futile. Understand and improve your body language with these following steps:
Become observant of yourself and others
Awareness of the way you behave and in what situations is half the battle. Once you catch some of your body tellers and link them to particular conversational topics or situations; you’ll be able to control them. For instance, playing with your jewelry when you are nervous (and you don’t want it to show) will cause just the opposite – you will express that nervousness on even greater amplitude by linking a gesture to the feeling. Knowing, however, that you are doing it will help you prevent it.
Further, look at other people and observe the way they behave. If you want to figure out someone you admire, try to find their gestural tellers. Same, if you’d like to evaluate behavioral habits of someone you suspect may do you harm, remember their tellers in various circumstances so you can recognize potentially problematic situations.
Mirror the other person
Mirroring other people’s gestures often reads as a sign of admiration or approval. To create a synergy and connection, mirror the person’s tone, body positions and carry the same pace of conversation. Don’t do it in an obvious or unnatural fashion; rather, be subtle about it. After a while, you’ll both be doing it naturally without knowing who is following who.
Mind your arms and legs
Body posture and the overall state of one’s physique means much in body language interactions; both regular yoga and fitness engagements have proven very useful for improving not only physical health but a person’s ability to express themselves through body movements. Once you become aware of your physical body power you automatically better your body language communication, i.e. learn to control it. And this is what puts you in the front seat, always.
Make eye contact
This goes without saying. Although don’t stare – it will cause the other person to feel uncomfortable.
Body language is an amazing way to foresee some of the intentions, actions, and steps your conversational partners are about to take, as well as an excellent way to present yourself in the best light possible. For this reason, pay close attention to body language tellers and enjoy the feeling of being (almost) psychic for a second!