4 Body Language Secrets for Effective Communication

Louis Armstrong-Blog 7-29-15“I don’t let my mouth say nothin’ my head can’t stand.”
~Louis Armstrong

Effective communication has a lot to do with understanding body language. In 1970, Julius Fast talked about a new science called Kinesics in his book Body Language. It opened the way to more studies and books on the subject. Of course, the term Body Language has been discussed many more times and is very common and understood as an important element of communication. Louis Armstrong knew that he had to say what he really felt so that his body language would match his words.

Pie Chart-Blog 7-29-15

In fact, traditional thought among experts suggests that only 7% of a person’s perceived meaning comes from their words. Interestingly, 38% is based on the tone of their voice, and 55% comes from the body language of the person that is speaking. Some now think that the percentages from this research might be slightly different. Nevertheless, the bottom line is still the same. If you don’t know the basics of body language, you are missing a valuable tool for communicating better. We speak body language on a subliminal level, without actually realizing that we are communicating through body talk.

Four Body Language Tips to Think About

1. Face

The most expressive part of your body is your face. When you enter a room if you feel nervous, your expression might make you look aloof or unfriendly. Smiling at the room is a sure-fire way to remove anyone’s doubts about your approachability. Smiling makes us look warm, open and confident.

2. Eyes

They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. They certainly give people clues about what we are feeling. A direct gaze towards someone can show interest; direct staring, on the other hand, can be construed as dislike. Very little eye contact can show that you are uncomfortable and can even look suspicious to others.

3. Hands

Have you ever watched someone’s hand gestures when they are talking? Open hand gestures tend to make a person appear open and honest. Bringing hands together to a point can accent the point you are making. Wringing your hands or excessively moving your fingers and hands will give away nervousness and lack of confidence.

4. Posture

If you lean towards someone, you are showing an interest in that person. If we are feeling low in confidence, we tend to slouch our shoulders and look down.

Men and women use different body language. For instance, women will stand close to each other, and hold eye contact with the person they are talking to and use gestures. Men make little effort to maintain eye contact and don’t rely on the use of gestures to communicate. Men and women can learn how to communicate better by observing the differences in their use of body language.

Effective communication is critical in all areas of our lives, whether with family or friends, clients or colleagues. We use body language every day in every area of our lives, so it is important to know what your body language is conveying to others.

What are your observations on how you use or perceive body language? I’d love to know in the comments below.

Deidra Miller
Marketing and Administrative Consultant

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2 Responses to 4 Body Language Secrets for Effective Communication

  1. Fred Miller says:

    Excellent points here, Deidra!

    Presentations have two components: Content and Delivery.

    Delivery has two parts: Verbal and Non-Verbal.
    Non-Verbal trumps Verbal!


    • Deidra Miller says:

      Thanks for your very clear summarization, Fred! I’ve visited your site, really like your recent article on practicing your presentation (and left a comment).

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