According to a recent article published in the Chicago Tribune, “studies find body language carries 55 percent of the meaning during communication.”
What this means is what you don’t say matters as much as what you do say. However, one thing I would like to point out is that the above statistic comes from Dr. Mehrabian’s research and more often than not I’ve seen the stats (55 non-verbal, 38 vocal and 7 words) being misused.
I actually spoke to Dr. Mehrabian last summer and I have his whole entire research on hand. He said he was really disturbed as to how his research has been used especially by many image consultants, making people believe that how you look and act is more important than what you say always.
There’s no doubt that your body language is important, especially when it comes to emotions – if what you say is not congruent with your body language, then people will believe your body language and not your words. Go here to get better insight on the true meaning of these statistics.
I’m not trying to demean the importance body language plays, but I do believe that misinterpreting statistics to prove one’s point can be misleading.
You can learn a lot from the way people act and behave and understanding your own behaviour (how to change negative behaviours and replace them with positive ones) can make the difference between getting ahead at work or lagging behind.
Being able to understand body language is more complicated than getting a guide that says if your boss scratches his nose, he’s lying. Most body language is unique to the person using it.
Pay attention to what your body and others’ bodies do when you’re in boring situations (e.g., meetings). Experiment with imitating different postures or gestures you see people use. How do you feel when you pound your fist, drape your arms over the chair, or sit with legs and arms crossed. Notice your feelings when you use assume positions and you’ll have better information about what’s going on for others.
One critical aspect of body language is that it often reveals much more than people want to about their real agendas. Moreover, people will even tell you information they themselves don’t fully grasp or want to admit. For instance, I had a client who pounded his fists whenever he talked about his boss. I asked him why he was so mad at his boss, and he looked surprised. He hadn’t thought about his fury until I pointed out his fists.
If you ever find a person’s nonverbal and verbal communication to be in conflict, always believe the body. Very few people can control their body language. What you hear when the body talks may even save your career one day!
Getting the right body language training is critical to your career success. If you’re a new employee or a leading executive mastering body language can help you gain control over how you want to be perceived. A body language training workshop is a great way for your employees to learn how to deal with clients.
For more information on body language training watch a quick video on what it’s all about and what you or your employees will learn:
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