The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said ~ Peter F. Drucker
Have you ever noticed that some people really get along well with others and it feels like they are able to read them, correctly responding they each move, sight and expression? Someone call it intuition, but I would say that those seemingly few lucky ones have an amazing natural ability of understanding body language.
If you, on the contrary, experience difficulties in understanding true motives of people, perhaps hesitating about speaking up with confidence during business meetings or negotiations, then keep reading. I am about to reveal some most common signals to look for that may help you.
I’d like to start with a reminder: Do NOT count a single body language signal as a reliable indicator. Two or more body language signals should be taken into consideration to help you wade through communication possibilities to get to the real emotional state of people.
The most common body language signals
Eyes are the mirrors of one’s soul, as they say. Have you heard that it’s impossible to control eyes expressions, as they will reveal the truth? That’s why you should be very attentive to what your interlocutor’s eyes tell you.
If you notice that your interlocutor often looks right during the conversation, he may be creating, guessing, lying, storytelling – so be cautious. If he/she is looking left, then he may be recalling or retrieving something.
In regards to direct eye contact- if a person maintains a direct eye contact while listening, this can mean attentiveness, interest and attraction, if when spoken in an honest way and tone.
The next signals I would like to tell you about are personal to me as I find them extremely helpful – are mouth signals. There are so many types of smiles that can tell you completely different things. If a person is biting their lip it may mean tension. If someone’s laughing it may mean relaxation, but if the laughter sounds forced it may mean that that person is nervous or trying to hide something.
Pasted smile and dropped-jaw smile are considered to be faked smiles. Also- someone’s bottom lip jutting out it is a sign of being upset, so if it happens during a conversation, you may try to comfort that person for more productive communication.
The next signals to discuss are those given by head movements. Head nodding may generally mean agreement. Slow head nodding is a sign of attentive listening and fast head nodding may be a signal of impatience. If a person keeps his head held up during the conversation he may be alert. If head is down in response to a speaker or some king of proposition it may show negative reaction or disinterest.
Hands signals are usually used in the beginning stages of introduction to new people, and handshakes can also can be very informative for you. A handshake with palm down may be a sign of dominance, while palm up is submission and with both hands may mean seeking to convey trustworthiness and honesty.
Don’t forget to pay attention to people’s hands during communication. If a person keeps palms up or open, it is a signal of honesty, while palms down may suggest authority and dominance. If someone is noticed scratching or touching their nose while speaking, these are signals of lies and exaggeration. Keeping hands on hips tells you about confidence, while keeping hands in pockets may mean disinterest or boredom.
Personal space and business negotiations
You should be very cautious about spacing in business relationships. Interfering the personal or intimate space could cause problems and subconsciously a person may react negatively.
- Close intimate (0-6in) – lovers, and physical touching relationships
- Intimate (6-18in) – physical touching relationships
- Personal (18in-4ft) – family and close friends
- Social- consultative (4-12ft) – non-touch interaction, social, business
- Public (12ft+) – no interaction, ignoring
These are the most commonly noted body signals that you may interpret for your benefit. Of course everything requires training and experience, but in time and with practice, you will find it easier and easier to understand and pick up on.
Please, remember that body language isn’t a precise science, so don’t make your conclusions only basing them on body language signals. Don’t forget to use your intuition, logic and intellect. But nevertheless, from my personal experience, I can tell that body language science is very helpful- both in personal as well as business relationships.
I hope that you will find this information useful for improving your communication skills. Stay tuned for future posts that will uncover more valuable tricks about why it’s so important to know traditions of different nations, if your chosen partner is coming from abroad, how to dress for business negotiations, makeup or no makeup, and much more.
More tips and tricks from Svetlana are coming soon, stay in touch xx