Have you ever heard anybody saying that - “His actions spoke so loudly that I couldn’t hear what he said?” Well, it is no understated fact that a body articulates better than words, when it comes to making effective interpersonal communication. However, most often we downplay its importance in our day to day dealings. Body language is one of the key players of any successful communication and cracking its true meaning can often put us in a flattering position. While understanding the body language maybe nerve-racking for most of us, acquainting oneself with its plausible cues may be a payoff for many. Numerous books, expert ledgers and voluminous dictionaries have tried their hands to decode almost every posture, blink of the eye and muscle twitch of a person. However, raking these copious literatures can be of little help when trying to interpret body language. Non-verbal signs are as spontaneous as our reflexes and no book can help you gauge its real meaning wholly. Nevertheless, it pays to have a basic understanding of the various nonverbal signs and interpreting them in clusters may often help us get the big picture. To know more on body language and non-verbal communication, read on.
Understanding Body Language & Nonverbal Communication
- Body language says louder and better than stated words. To know how close someone is to you or to simply gauge his/her feelings for you, picking cues from the body language may fill the bill. Closeness is indeed an unmistakable sign of interest and willingness. Sitting far away often exhibits one’s lack of involvement.
- Another meaningful cue to watch out for in a person is the posture of their head. The way a person holds his head can often be potential giveaways of his/her feelings. While tilted head may be a sign of sympathy or sometimes playful flirting, lowered head can be subtle suggestion of timidity, disinterest, deceit and even silent contemplation. Cocked head, on the other hand, may give away ambiguous signals of either confusion or confrontation. Thus, it is best to read body language in clusters to get the perfect interpretation.
- Your eyes often blurt out what your mouth often finds difficult to say. Eyes are probably one of the best giveaways of your genuine feelings. A shy gaze followed by a smile is a sure sign of interest, while a more direct stare often have a more aggressive or hostile reference. If a person looks down often, it may either hint that the person is shy or is lying.
- While imitating someone can be highly annoying, often this unconscious gesture of mimicking can have a more important bearing. If someone mirrors, or mimics your appearance, this is a very genuine sign that he/she is interested in you and trying to establish rapport with you.
- Sometimes the simple acts of folding or stretching your arms and even crossing your legs may convey more than said. While for some folding their arms may be just another habit or a comfortable position, it may indicate that the person is reserved; or just trying to hide something or is not interested in the ongoing conversation. Arms crossed with the feet shoulder length or wider apart indicate a position of toughness or authority. Hands are on the hips is a sign of a person waiting for his/her turn or getting impatient.
- Paying heed to simple facial gestures may often spill the beans and do the trick for you. Raised eyebrows may indicate sheer interest and even pure disagreement at times. If the person wears glasses, and constantly pushes them up onto his nose with a slight frown, it might indicate that he/she disagrees with what you are saying. Lowered eyebrows and squinted eyes illustrate an attempt at understanding what is being said or going on.
- Watch out for the pads for maximum cues! Gestures like fast tapping, shifting of weight, or movement of the foot may indicate that the other person is impatient, scared, anxious or plain excited. If the person is sitting, feet crossed at the ankles means he/she is generally at ease. If he/she purposely touches his/her feet to yours, it means that the person is flirting!
- Know your body language. It pays to know how your body and face gesticulates when angry, nervous or happy. This will help you manipulate others’ body language.
- Always keeps your body language in sync with your words and thoughts, so as not to confuse the other person or worse keep them guessing! If your non-verbal signals match your words, you'll not only communicate more clearly, but will be perceived as being a charismatic individual.
- Body language should be natural and not fake. Don’t get obsessed over getting your body language right all the time, as it may make you come across as someone who is fake and ostentatious. Just go with the flow.