Your body language – a huge range of unconscious physical movements – can either strengthen communication or damage it. Even if you are sitting completely still, you may be unknowingly communicating a powerful message about your real feelings.
Reading Body Language
Because of its subtlety and range, body language is difficult to read – and to control. However, a broad understanding of body language is one route to understanding the real opinions of others. For instance, if people are inwardly feeling uncomfortable because they are lying, their awkward body language will betray the lie.
The nervousness people feel before making a presentation or attending an interview is very natural. Their mind prepares them for action via their nervous system, so nervousness is due in parts to gland pumping the hormone adrenaline into their blood. Use body language to appear more confident than you feel by making a conscious effort to smile and to relax your arms. Look people in the eye while you are talking or listening to them, keep your posture completely straight, and do not fiddle with your hands.
Keeping Your Distance
Leaving an acceptable distance between people is part of body language, and this distance changes depending on the situation. For instance, guests at a social gathering stand close to each other than strangers in a non-social gathering. Always take care not to intrude into another’s personal territory in case you arouse defensive or hostile reactions.
Creating An Impression
First impressions are very important. It is thought that the initial five seconds of any first meeting are more important than the next five minutes, so attention to detail can make a huge difference. Think about grooming and appropriate clothing, and err on the conservative side. Even if an informal look is required, ensure your garments and shoes are in impeccable condition. Before going into a meeting, check your appearance in a mirror to make sure that your hair is tidy
- When standing with people, leave a personal space of about 1metre (3ft).
- Take a slow deep breath to relax if you are feeling tense.