Many people underestimate the power of body language. When speaking to a friend or colleague, the words that come out of your mouth tell only half of the story. If your friend can barely listen to the story as he tries to decipher other messages you may be sending with your rolled eyes, crossed arms and wild gestures, you may have a body language barrier.
Using Body Language
Communication experts believe that 90% of our communication is nonverbal. If you don’t believe nonverbal cues can be that important consider your next job interview. Would you be daring enough to walk into an interview slouched over, offer a wimpy handshake and then refuse to make eye contact as you shuffle your feet though your standard interview responses? Only a fool would act this way and expect to land a powerful position, but it happens in all other aspects of your life as well.
There are endless conversations your body can be having without you, but even the simplest tasks throughout the day are telling. For example, your handshake can immediately identify you as a wimp or a jerk.
• A palm to palm handshake signifies honesty and good intentions.
• A limp handshake makes people uncomfortable because the palms don’t touch.
• A bone crushing handshake means you’re insecure and trying to overcompensate.
• A palm down handshake is an indication that you are trying to dominate the person you are greeting.
Common Body Language Signs
Body language is an almost truly universal language, although certain aspects differ by cultures. For example, in some cultures maintaining eye contact is a sign of disrespect. In others eye contact shows you are interested and polite. Some signs are almost universal, however.
Good posture is a sign that you are confident. It may be a sign that you are actually overconfident depending on how stiffly you hold yourself as you enter a room. If you slouch or shuffle, you are telling the world that you are guilty, insecure, or shameful.
Playing with your hair, if you’re a woman, is a sign of flirting and openness. The sign to look for is the woman cupping her hand with her palm facing her partner. She then moves a strand of hair behind her ear. This combined with a smile or leaning forward can be taken as an indication she’s interested in continuing the conversation. If she tucks her hair behind her ear, sighs irritably and looks mad, it’s more likely her hair is annoying her – but you may still have a chance.
On a date, a man shows his interest and confidence by talking a great deal and maintaining eye contact. He’ll show how secure he is by touching the small of a woman’s back and guiding her through an open door. Women, on the other hand, use the length of a touch to gauge a relationship. If a touch lingers too long, it can turn off a woman and convey an overly familiar individual. Men would do best to keep touches light and very short to avoid giving their date the wrong message.
On the other hand, if a woman touches a man for a long second or leaves her hand on his arm or hand for a minute, this is an almost clear sign that she’s enjoying his company. If she doesn’t like a man, its unlikely she’ll touch him at all.