November 29, 2016

Why Your Body Language Is Sometimes More Important Than Your Words

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 Anna Vander Stel
Anna Vander Stel

Observing people’s body language is the main missing link in communication. It can be easy to think of communication as only talking and listening, but if we do not focus on what ones body is saying, then we could be interpreting what someone is communicating incorrectly.

A story that comes to mind was while at a bar, I saw a man approach a woman. The guy walked up next to her, sat down and proceeded to say “I see you do not have a drink. What can I get you?” The woman looked at him, looked away, then looked back at him forcefully and said “Umm, yes, I’ll take one.”

For the next five minutes, I had the perfect view to watch what was happening. After those five minutes ended, he asked, “Let’s get out of here and go dance.” She proceeded to say as her arms were crossed and her body not pointed at him, “Well…I am with my friends so I can’t leave them.” Just listening to her words, it sounds like a reasonable excuse, but by observing her, anyone would be able to see that she had no interest in the man. I approached her after the man left and asked her if my speculations were correct and she hesitantly told me yes.

Observation>Listening

Many people hear words and automatically listen to them over what someones body is saying. I can ask my sister “How are you doing in school?” and she can say “Good, I love it a lot.” These specific words tell me she enjoys her time, but only after further inspection of her tone, eye contact, posture, and hand gestures can I truly determine how much merit these words carry.

“The Body Never Lies.” – Martha Graham

Your body language expresses more than your words. I gave a dense scientific presentation which I knew the majority of the audience would have no interest in hearing, so I knew I needed to find a way to be unique in my approach. At the end of my presentation, someone came up to me and said, “The way in which you explained yourself made me want to care about something in which I have no interest. It was as if you were telling a story.”

This was my goal with the presentation because I wanted my body language to be loud and story like so it could become infectious. This would have the audience know that I was enjoying myself and having fun on stage. By the end, people were more receptive to me than other presentations because the body language I was projecting was the utmost positive and only enhanced my word usage.

“We communicate all the time, even when we do not realize it.” – Pat Summit

In school we are taught to read, write, learn math and memorize facts. However, we are not taught to understand people and be receptive to the subtle clues they show us. I challenge everyone to watch the way people express their true thoughts through their body language.

Words can be deceiving. In order to make sure we truly understand what is going on, we must be conscious of the way we are truly presenting ourselves.

I guarantee you that by focusing on the way you maneuver your body a whole other world will open up that will help you become more unforgettable to everyone you meet. TC mark

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