Body language is a form of human communication that everyone uses, whether they realize or not when they do use it. Body language is used in the business world; in relationships; in general conversations, and more. We actually use body language in every interaction that we have, regardless of how slight that use of body language might be. Those who are deaf and use sign language to communicate with understand the communicating power of body language perhaps best, especially when communicating with someone who is not familiar with sign language.
Head movements, body positioning, hand signals, eye contact, lip gestures and leg motions all are used in sending messages to those we are communicating with. By becoming aware of how we use these methods of communicating and developing these skills, we can lead conversations and interactions into specific directions.
Let’s take, for an example, the job interview. Job interviews can be nerve-wracking, but nervousness is not necessarily a good message to send the employer as it can indicate a lack of confidence or insecurity. As a body language nervousness can be noticeable and can lead the interviewer to asking more questions than you might want.
The best body language to use in a job interview is to calmly enter the interview room and slowly seat yourself in the chair. Sit straight in the chair and be sure feet are flat on the floor. As you are talking with the interviewer keep your posture straight. Be prepared to use hand gestures simultaneously with your verbal conversation as the interview proceeds. However, you want to these gestures within the boundaries of your verbal language at all times. You want to demonstrate professionalism, and body language can communicate this quite effectively.
Eye contact, as a body language, is a very important communicating strategy. Maintaining eye contact with the person you are communicating with lets the other know you are interested in what they have to say. If you let your eyes wander around too much this will indicate to the other that you are bored and not interested in what they have to say. This can be damaging to an interview, especially if you looking downward to the floor. Eye contact is not only an interview strategy, but it applies to practically every conversation you might have.
However, there is some balance that must be applied to eye contact as well. You don’t want to appear as if you are staring. For most people, especially for women, staring is disrespectful and has a tendency to make the other person nervous about your intentions. If you’re at a club or party for example, staring at other people could actually create some unfavorable situations for you.
Facial expressions are another body language that can make or break an interaction. A gradual, almost undetectable nod, infers to other person that you understand what they are saying. However, if your nod is more of hard jerky sort it can indicate that you are impatient with the other, or that you can’t wait to respond. This latter indication could send signals relating to control issues, which impatience does point to.
Combining the nod in a slight tilting way, with a gentle smile delivers the message that you are approachable. People like people who are approachable. However, the smile, for best results, should be sincere. An ongoing smile, or grin in many situations, can indicate that you are superficial and insincere. This could make you unapproachable.
Appropriate conversational question, along with the right body language, draws the other person deeper into the conversation. The right body language can send the message of your interest to the other and this interest is what can give you the ability to lead the conversation.