Interpreting Body Language With Ease

How to read body language?
Communication is not just verbal messages we give. It involves a lot of other parameters like the tone we use and the body language we portray.

Eye Contact – is the most powerful non verbal means of giving out messages. It has many flavors – it can be direct, indirect, lduration can be long or short or it can be a contact at regular intervals of time when communicating with a person. If you have an eye contact for a longer duration with people, it will be taken as a stare which could be uncomfortable for some people. People if comfortable while conversing maintain a steady eye contact. People if uncomfortable or if afraid or feel guilty avoid eye contact.

Face – this is next interface while communicating. Face is the first thing that anyone notices in a person first and foremost. Face is the mirror of our emotions. Small gestures of the face can tell a lot about a person. Gestures like eyebrow flash while greeting someone can tell that we are pleased to see the person. A smile is great means of breaking the ice with someone. A smile can put other people at ease with you, help them calm down. A genuine smile spreads to the eyes and lights up the whole face, whereas a nervous smile doesn’t spread past the lips. You can also tell if the person is a auditory or visual or kinetic by examining the face where one is looking while someone is speaking to them.

Hand Gestures – politicians are the best examples in using hand gestures. Using hand gestures while speaking is a great way of telling the world about your attitude and confidence. Sincerity is shown if the palm is open. The person is authoritative if the fingers are steepled. If you tap or drum fingers it indicated anxiety. Touch also has a lot of interpretations – touching the face shows thought, hair shows insecurity and ears shows your indecisiveness.

Posture – the posture you take tells a lot about your attitude. Also when conversing the body language of the people also tells a lot about the chemistry about them. Are they leaning towards each other? A great way to establish rapport is to have the same body language as the other person’s and this can happen quite naturally sometimes. Try this trick, but do it in a subtle way. Is there any specific posture with which one can feel confident? Observe how one sits or stands when one is under threat or fear. If you feel nervous while giving a presentations, take a posture that makes you feel confident, think positive and you are sure to gain a lot of confidence.

Personal space – each person has a personal space which he/she would like to stay intact. Moving into this personal space may be invading privacy and the other person will retract to a place/posture wherein he/she feel safe. This invasion particularly happens in crowded situations and it is under this circumstance that other gestures like avoiding eye contact and adopting a defensive posture comes in picture.

Body contact – Shaking hands is the most widely used gesture and is a form of body contact. It is used generally to welcome or bid farewell. A handshake should be firm whenever put into use. A handshake that is weak shows that you are lacking in confidence, or lack sincerity or are hesitant. On the other hand, if the handshake is too hard – to the extent of crushing the other person’s hand, it shows your aggressive attitude. People who have been brought in a culture where body contact is normal will be more open and accepting to come in body contact with others. Hence be sure to know if the other person and his culture is fine with you making a body contact with him/her.

All parts of our body work in synch. If you observe a change in the normal body language of a person, it indicates a change in the attitude or mood of the person. It is not always the case that someone with hands crossed is defensive, it could be just that they are indifferent. Observe all the indications before you conclude anything. It is essential to know the natural behavior of a person before you interpret his/her body language.

Practicals: Next time make it a point to observe the body language of a person if you can. Can you tell if they like each other or not? How close are they relating to each other? How much time are their eyes in contact? How much do they know each other. Try to guess what they are talking about by observing their body language.

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