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Body language matters

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Here’s Rhea Punjabi’s take on how physical behaviour can affect your professional and personal life

Sometimes we ignore our body language or are petrified while communicating. We may want to deliver an idea but fail due to misleading gestures and imprecise body language; the body language may differ from the intense, verbal interaction. If a speaker’s body language is overwhelmingly expressive, listeners are more likely to believe the body language of the speaker, not the words. After all, actions speak louder than words.

Body language is a physical behaviour as opposed to words and denotes exactness if we try portraying it with a sense of positivity and confidence.  Positivity and confidence in body language reflect on the people observing it, just as negative body language leaves a negative impact.

Body language matters more than you can imagine for your professional and personal life. Here’s everything you need to know.

It is important to defuse negative body language. Work hard to cultivate positive body language habits and avoid other behavior that can diminish how you appear to others.

Want to create a good impression and make your presence felt at your workplace? Here are some tips.

  • Practice a firm handshake A handshake should not last beyond two or three pumps.
  • Make eye contact while talking to your colleagues—it shows interest. Don’t forget to nod while listening to them. When a person tilts his or her head slightly to the right or left, it shows an interest in listening to you. Do this often!
  • Never point fingers! That shows an aggressive side of you. Instead use the palm-up position. It shows that you're trustworthy, honest and have nothing to hide.
  • Stop rolling your eyes! It shows you’re annoyed, skeptical or don’t take the other person seriously.
  • Not feeling cold but still crossing your arms? You are simply blocking out others and what they have to say. If you want to have a healthy conversation, uncross those arms now!
  • Don’t forget: Your appearance (grooming and hygiene), body fragrance or odour and time sense (good or bad) are also communicating something about you.
  • Maintain an appropriate distance. Don’t get too close to colleagues—that can intimidate them or make them uncomfortable. That being said, standing too far away from them can make them feel insulted. The ideal distance between you and a colleague should be one arm distance away.

Using body language for healthy relationships

  • Does your partner avoid eye contact? When someone avoids eye contact, it could mean that they fear rejection or they are hiding something. If your partner is blinking more than usual, they could be apprehensive about something that they want to talk about.
  • Do you often distracted by the phone or TV or that video game while your partner or friend is talking? Stop that now! It conveys that you don't care and aren’t really interested in knowing what they are talking about.
  • Have a genuine smile. A genuine smile crinkles the eyes and lights up your face.
  • How do you show that you are really listening? Nod your head, have open body postures, remove any barriers—be it crossed arms or physical obstructions like a chair in between, lean forward—it shows you are genuinely interested.
  • Mirroring! This is a beautiful technique to build positive relationships. Mirroring means imitating the opposite person’s gestures and postures but imitate only the positive ones!
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