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Body Language: Picking Up and Understanding Nonverbal Signals

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https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/Body_Language.htm

mindtools.com

Body Language: Picking Up and Understanding Nonverbal Signals
Picking Up and Understanding Nonverbal Signals Lauren sighed. She'd just received an email from her boss, Gus, saying that the product proposal she'd been working on wasn't going to be signed off after all. It didn't make any sense. A week ago she'd been in a meeting with Gus and he'd seemed really positive about it all.

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Body Language

Is the unspoken element of communication that we use to reveal our true feelings and emotions - gestures, facial expressions and posture.

When we are able t...

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Disinterested interlocutors

Signs of a disengaged, disinterested or unhappy audience:

  • Arms folded in front of the body.
  • Minimal or tense facial expression.
  • Body turned away fro...

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Unengaged Audiences

Some signs that people may be bored or disinterested in what you're saying:

  • Sitting slumped, with heads downcast.
  • Gazing at something else, or into space.

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Making a Confident First Impression

  • Have an open posture. Be relaxed, sit or stand upright and place your hands by your sides. 
  • Use a firm handshake. But don't get carried away - you'll likely come acr...

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Positive body language in public speaking

  • Have a positive posture. Sit or stand upright, with your shoulders back and your arms unfolded and at your sides or in front of you.
  • Keep your head up. Your head should b...

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Interviews and Negotiations

  • Use mirroring. Subtly mirror the body language of the person you're talking to. This will make him feel more at ease. But don't copy every gesture.
  • Maintain the appearance of...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Eye signals

  • Eye gaze: Directly eye contact indicates interest and paying attention. Prolonged eye contact can feel threatening.
  • Blinking:  People often blink more rapidly when t...

Lip signals

  • Pursed lips: an indicator of distaste, disapproval, or distrust.
  • Lip biting: signals people are worried, anxious, or stressed.
  • Covering the mouth: used when people want to hide an emotional reaction.
  • Turned up or down: When the mouth is slightly turned up, it might mean that the person is feeling happy or optimistic. A slightly down-turned mouth can be an indicator of sadness/ disapproval.

Gestures

  • A clenched fist indicates anger in some situations or solidarity in others.
  • A thumbs up and thumbs down: gestures of approval and disapproval.
  • The "okay" gesture: "okay" or "all right." In some parts of Europe, the same signal is used to imply you are nothing. In some South American countries, the symbol is actually a vulgar gesture.
  • The V sign: peace or victory in some countries. In the UK and Australia, the symbol takes on an offensive meaning when the back of the hand is facing outward.

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Looking Friendly

  • Smile. It is even more important than you think. It's a great way to create trust. We judge people to be more pleasant when we are smiling.
  • Expand. Body movements th...

Being More Influential

The best body language for influence depends on your goal. Make sure your body language matches your words to make you more effective.

  • If you want to increase the attractiveness of an offer, think sales-y. Use animated movements. Lean forward. Move and speak quickly.
  • If you want to reduce resistance to what you're saying, think calm and authoritative. Specific gestures. Lean back. Move and speak slowly. 

Looking Like A Leader

It is important to balance the appearance of authority and warmth.

  • You show authority and power by your upright posture, your command of physical space, purposeful stride, a firm handshake, and palm-down gestures.
  • You communicate warmth nonverbally with open body postures, palm-up hand gestures, full-frontal body orientation, positive eye contact, synchronized movements, nods, head tilts, and smiles.

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Prep with a power pose

2 minutes of power posing - standing tall, holding your arms out or toward the sky, or standing like Superman, with your hands on hips - will dramatically increase your confidence.

Try...

When the going gets tough, start smiling

Frowning, grimacing, glowering, and other negative facial expressions send a signal to your brain that whatever you're doing is difficult. That causes your brain to send cortisol into your bloodstream, which raises your stress levels. Instead, force yourself to smile. It works.

If you're confronted...

...don't back away; just shift to a slight angle - so you're standing at an angle--much like models who almost never stand with their bodies square to the camera.

And if you wish to appear less confrontational, approach the person and stand at a 45-degree angle (while still making direct eye contact, of course).

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