How Good Are You at Reading Body Language?

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How good are you at reading other people’s body language?

Reading Body LanguageIt is a very important channel of communication.  Some experts say it can convey over half your message in certain situations and if your body language is saying one thing but your words are saying another, people will believe what you are saying with your body language first!

So how do you interpret other’s body language?  Here are a few ways to interpret mostly unconscious gestures.

First, remember, that body language needs to be read in “clusters.”  One gesture, by itself, may not always mean the same thing every time.  You must take into account the environment and what else is going on at that moment.

For example, if a person crosses his arms across his body, he may be saying he’s cold, comfortable or resistant to what you are saying.  Or it can also be a “show me” attitude.  It will depend on the situation.

In my training classes where people have been made to attend, I get a lot of those resistant crossed arms in the beginning!  But they usually come around and we all have fun and learn something.

Head positions can tell you a lot. When an interaction is not going well, people will turn their heads away.  If someone is doing that, try to get him or her to verbalize their objections so you can answer and overcome them.

Also, examine their body position.  When they turn their body away from you, even if it is ever so slightly, it can also signal that you are not getting through to them and they are resistant to your ideas or proposal.  That’s where the phrase, “getting the cold shoulder” comes from.

If someone reaches for an object while you are talking, it can mean two things.  Body language experts say it expresses thoughtfulness or contemplation. But I have also seen it used as a “conversation terminator” that means, “Get on with it” or “Get to the point.”

So resolve to become more adept at reading body language signals and see how it can improve your communication with others. It is a wonderful to improve your listening skills by reading between the lines.

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