Many people believe that Body Language is only for those who are in the show business, and things like studying Body Language is not necessary, if you keep delivering on your targets. However, the days of only sitting behind the desk and delivering output have long come and gone. In today’s world, companies need their employees to be dynamic and resilient.
Companies need employees who don’t say “NO” for an answer and always strive to present a positive image about themselves and the companies they represent. Understanding people is the first step in improving relations, and studying Body Language gives an honest insight into the responses, feelings and thoughts of a person with whom you are having a conversation with.
The way people cross their hands, shrug their shoulders, move their eyes, change their tone is almost never a conscious action, and that’s why many people are “caught lying” when their words don’t match their body language.
Imagine yourself in a training room where you are supposed to be trained on “Selfconfidence” and you spot your trainer walking into the room with a thick book in hand and yawning all the while. He comes in and says- “We will discuss Self-confidence today, and I assure you that it’s going to be fun”. I am sure a thought would immediately cross your mind that says = “I don’t think so”.
In other words, you can see that our actions speak volumes about how we are and what we feel even if our words do not. That’s why the saying “Actions speak louder than words” holds good significantly, in our lives. Understanding the messages that our actions might be giving to the viewers will help us in identifying those areas that might be hindering our success.
It will also help us to know our personal tricks, i.e. what actions we do when we are irritated or tired or getting aggressive in our points. If we study these actions, we could vary them so that we don’t present a negative image of ourselves.
For example, you subconsciously point your finger at the person you are talking to when you want to stress out a point. However, it could be so that the other person finds it threatening or offensive. Now, even if your intentions are honest, you might still find yourself getting misinterpreted.
Look at the picture below. If you study just the expression, you will notice that it’s a picture of a pleasant young man, who looks bright and enthusiastic, someone you might like to have a conversation with. But when you combine that with the out-stretched fingers, and that too in the pointing gesture, it automatically adds an air of overconfidence and arrogance to it.
Now, can you bring yourself to believe that this person is saying the truth when he says - “I like to learn as much as possible. I believe in team-spirit and respect other’s opinions.”?
The solution to this problem is in observing yourself in front of a mirror and try to act out your responses in different situations. The idea is to not be obvious. Remember that, Body Language operates on a subconscious level. Keep the role-play on, but keep recording your expressions and body movements. Take special note of the eyebrows, hands, palms, shoulders and head.
Now ask a friend to copy your movements and when he enacts the situation again, just analyze them. You will be surprised to see how aggressive and wrong the messages your body sends are, especially when employed with words.
This needs to be a continuous exercise as studying Body Language is only the first step. The more important one is to improve it and even more importantly, how to make the new, improved Body Language a part of your life. This needs constant practice and observation.
It might sound impossible at first but it is the habit of actors and politicians to practice and smoothen their body language in such a smooth and polished manner that they immediately know how to tackle their emotions when, a controversial question is asked, out of the blue.
This expert handling of their feelings, such that their face or body do not betray their emotions i.e. their body language following their words is what gives them an air of authority, and makes them a picture of assured confidence and calmness.