Being Aware of Body Language to Improve Communication
Did you know that 80% of human communication is through body language? That means the words we utter only constitute a mere 20% of our communication.
The average person is able to generate about 250,000 different facial expressions and over 1000 different postures. It takes us only 7 seconds to pass judgment on someone on sight. Unbelievable, right?
That being said, body language is thus one of the most important aspects in relating to, and communicating with other people. Particularly at work, the mastering of body language is essential for facilitating clear and effective communications between colleagues.
There are many aspects of body language that influence our success or failure to communicate properly at work. The following are some body language tips that should improve your communication in not only the corporate world, but also in your daily life:
- Be positive and keep eye contact (respectfully) with the person you are communicating with, nod and smile occasionally.
- Stand up and take up some space, this posture shows confidence and security and is a way to show power if you are in a position of leadership.
- Learn to coordinate your body language with your spoken message to avoid contradictions.
- Keep a proper physical distance with the person or group with whom you are speaking. Not too close, which can be perceived as aggressive, and not so far that it might suggest contempt or indifference to the person or topic.
- Learn to listen, do not interrupt and pay attention. Avoid distracting gestures (for example, looking at you nails or clothing)
- If you are forced to show disagreement, use your body language to support your position.
- Do not turn your back on others; take a friendly posture that implies security and sincerity.
- Gesture while you speak. Gestures aid better understanding because the words take visual shape in our minds.
Becoming aware of the importance of body language is part of the greater challenge of developing good communication skills. We work hard to improve important spoken and written communications skills, but we must also focus on the communication that precedes and sometimes contradicts the spoken message.
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