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Body Language: Picking Up and Understanding Nonverbal Signals

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.
  • Fidgeting, picking at clothes, or fiddling with pens and phones.
  • Writing or doodling.

When you notice that, you can re-engage people by asking a direct question, or by inviting people to contribute an idea.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Body Language: Picking Up and Understanding Nonverbal Signals

Body Language: Picking Up and Understanding Nonverbal Signals

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

mindtools.com

6

Key Ideas

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 to "read" these signs, we can use it to our advantage. 

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 from you.
  • Eyes downcast, maintaining little contact.

Being aware of these signs can help you to adjust what you say and how you say it, so you can make him feel more at ease and receptive to your viewpoint

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.
  • Fidgeting, picking at clothes, or fiddling with pens and phones.
  • Writing or doodling.

When you notice that, you can re-engage people by asking a direct question, or by inviting people to contribute an idea.

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 across as rude or aggressive.
  • Maintain good eye contact. Try to hold the other person's gaze for a few seconds at a time. 
  • Avoid touching your face. There's a common perception that people who touch their faces while answering questions are being dishonest.

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 be upright and level.
  • Practice and perfect your posture. Stand in a relaxed manner, with your weight evenly distributed.
  • Use open hand gestures. Spread your hands apart, in front of you, with your palms facing slightly toward your audience. This indicates a willingness to communicate and to share ideas.

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 calm by keeping your hands still, and by avoiding fidgeting with your hair or touching your face.
  • Look interested. Touching your face or mouth can signal dishonesty. But, it can also demonstrate that you're thinking.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

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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Misunderstanding body language

Contrary to popular belief, body language in the context of public speaking is more than hand and arm gesture.

It means adjusting the way we stand, move and smile to capture and hold the atte...

What puts an audience off
  • We indicate that we are feeling threatened when we take a step back or we show any sign of a closed body language.
  • Crossing our arms also shows nervousness and it puts our audience in a defensive mode.
  • Your end up showing that you feel superior to the rest of the room if you tilt your head backward.
Match your gestures to your message

Match your gestures to your words.
We are visual creatures, and any movement used in the right way in this direction will spark the attention of your audience. Just try not to abuse this rule.

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