What is bodylanguage?

May 17, 2011 by
Filed under: Learn bodylanguage 

Bodylanguage, is that something i can learn?

Bodylanguage is a hot item nowadays. In movies, series and books, but also in the dating field nonverbal communication is used on a very regular basis, but most people dont even recognize it. Thou bodylanguage (or nonverbal communication) is used more then verbal communication and its universal, meaning the nonverbal signs used in Europe are roughly the same as the bodylanguage used in, for example, China. A smile is a smile and a laugh is a laugh, and it means the same in Tokio as in Washington or Berlin.

But what is bodylanguage?

It is all about one thing: trying or learning to ‘read’ people and their behaviour.

Ofcourse you can learn to read and recognize bodylanguage, but its more then just a ten point checklist!

There are so many things you can take into account when you try to read a person’s bodylanguage, like the differences between men and women. For people you just meet it is alot harder to understand their body language, and its much dependent on the context you meet some one in. When people are in groups and communicate with each other, there is alot more to discover about the people then just the gestures they make or the way they stand or hold their arms.

And that is why is so much fun to learn to read bodylanguage. There is always something new to discover, new researches, new information and new insights. And there a re many fields where you can get information about bodylanguage, like psychology, pedagogy and phrenology. And all of these fields relate, so all the knowledge you gain in a subject can help you to understand bodylanguage better.

What role does some one have in a group, or how does he communicate with others? Add the bodylanguage he displays, and it will give you a far better impression then just glimping at some body and make instant suggestions considering his behaviour. The longer and better you know a person, the easier it becomes to read that person. You maybe know something about the personality of the person, and that makes it easier to place the signs of bodylanguage you come across when observing.

Children are a good start when you want to learn about body language. Grown ups usually know to hide or mask their bodylanguage to some extend, but children are very honest in their communication, both verbal and nonverbal.

Bodylanguage is a form of communication. Whether you realize it or not, your body sends signals to people around you. When you have a simple conversation with you neighbour about the weather, you communicate using your voice. But your body sends signals aswell, think of easy recognizable signals and behaviour like nodding when you agree, or scratching your head when you think of something. The spoken language is something you are aware off, but body language is something you usually perform without thinking about it. And it happens all the time. Look at yourself; when you see some one walking across the street, you look at that person and already have an opinion ready, the first impression. Thats based on things like the way they walk, how they dress of how they move their body.

Another example of bodylanguage without communicating: When you walk into an elevator with a stranger already inside. We know that it is an uncomfortable situation, and usually you get an unpleasant feeling. You don not talk to eachother, instead you stare at the floor display or the ceiling of the elevator. And you cannot escape since you the elevator is moving and the doors are closed. You stand very close to the other person, but by staring at the ceiling and avoiding eye contact, you send the signal that your not interesting in talking.

These examples show how broad body language really is, and how important this kind of communication is comparing it with spoken language.

There have been alot of studies about this, but roughly it can be stated that when people communicate, 7% relates to the importance of the words we use, 38% refers to tone of voice and inflection and a staggering 55% refers to the importance of body language/face.

parts of bodylanguage

So all together, body language and the intonation/inflection of the voice make 93% of the communication with other people!

There is two sorts of body language, an open and a close one.

Open body language is easy to master: look them in the eyes, don’t cross your arms or legs, don’t cover your body, and don’t hide your palms and eyes.

Looking people in the eyes is the most important part of the open body language. Maintain eye contact at all times during your conversation. It has been scientifically proven that long gazes evoke the release of the same hormones that are produced when we are in love – they will feel attracted to you and won’t even know why.

Keep your hands on the sides of your body; don’t hide your hands in your pockets and don’t sit on them. Don’t fold your arms or clench your fists. Don’t cover your body with your arms. Don’t grab a drink or handbag with both hands. Don’t touch your face, ears or neck – this shows insecurity and anxiety.

If you need to hold something in your hands, hold it with ONE hand only and keep it to the side, so your arm doesn’t cover your body. If the conversation is going to be longer than a couple of replicas, put down anything you hold. Get a shoulder bag to keep your hands free at all times. Stand tall – you appear more confident and assured when you do. And don’t put chairs, or glasses, or anything else between you and the person you are talking to. Keep it open.

There is a world of difference between smiling easily and smiling all the time. Smiling all the time means you are feeling tense and trying to cover it up. Smiling easily means you feel comfortable and can open up into smile any time you want. If you tend to smile all the time when meeting strangers, try to deliberately not to smile. Look them in the eyes, and keep a friendly, tall, and open posture – but DON’T SMILE. When you master that, start smiling after a minute or two in your conversation. Try using this on personel in shops, they are paid you be friendly on you. This is a nice way to practise and see how people react on your open body language. It makes you appear more approachable and trustworthy. It will also make you feel more comfortable and relaxed in any situation.

Closed body language means crossing, covering or hiding. Sometimes you don’t want to attract certain people; this is what you need to do in such cases:

– Don’t look them in the eyes;

– Fold your arms or hide your hands in the pockets;

– Turn your body away from them;

– Cross your legs and point your feet away from them;

– Put barriers between you and them;

– Frown, or smile all the time a strained smile.

When you use this kind of body language, people will feel uncomfortable and they will try to avoid you. Therefor, if you use the open body language, people will speak of you as attractive. They dont know why, but they feel drawn to you. It is often described as ” you have something special about you” or they speak of a positive aura or ” presence”.

In any social situation, you can see how the people around you feel. Most of them will display ‘closed’ body language – and you know what  it means; they feel uncomfortable and apprehensive.


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