Did you know that body language is the most important aspect of communication? Research has shown that in face-to-face interactions, about 55 percent of the meaning of the message is communicated via body language — indicating non-verbal communication is actually more important than verbal communication.
Only 38 percent and 7 percent of communication occurs via voice and words respectively. Whether you’re simply conversing, in an interview, discussion in a group or giving a presentation in front of an audience, body language is crucial to shaping the message you intend to deliver. As humans, we naturally and immediately develop a perception of others when we see them; body language builds, confirms and allays these impressions we form.
As we’ve mentioned before, communication skills are one of the most important skills you’ll need in life. You use it everyday regardless of whether you’re in school, at work or at home with friends, family, colleagues and teachers. In your contact with others, just as you may experience certain feelings watching their body language, others will react to yours.
Here are some helpful information to raise your understanding of the world around you and to increase the impact of your communication.
You look confident when …
…the other person feels your energy, your charisma, and sufficient eye contact. Open body language is of utmost importance. What does that mean? You’re standing in a welcoming posture so arms and legs are not crossed, you’re smiling naturally, you’re shoulders are relaxed, and of course, you’re facing the person that you’re talking to. You present an assertive handshake and are in control of your gestures and movements.
You look engaged when …
…you maintain strong eye contact, you nod on occasion in response to what the other person is saying and you lean your body forward to acknowledge them. You listen attentively without interrupting, you smile naturally and gently and may on occasion mimic the body language of the other person.
You look nervous when …
… you frequently look away for short periods at a time and may use excessive movements such as fidgeting, playing with your hair, licking your lips or clamping your hands too tightly together. Your shoulders might be hunched as you try to draw attention away from yourself.
Find out more on Prep Beijing. This post first appeared on December 16 on Prep Beijing and was written by Alicia Lui.
Alicia Lui is a co-founder at Prep Beijing!, a coaching company focusing on core soft skills such as effective communication, social and emotional skills, etiquette, critical thinking and leadership skills. Prior to founding Prep Beijing! She has worked in management consulting and in banking. She holds and MBA from INSEAD and Bachelor’s from University of Chicago
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