Track Training Tips No. 28

5 Ways to Understand Body Language

 “Its not what you say, but the way that you say it, that really matters”.  There is certainly a large element of truth in the old saying. However, did you also know that 55% of your ability to communicate comes from other people reading your Body Language?

So, not only is it useful to be able to read other peoples Body Language, but you must ensure that yours is saying the right things! Now a little knowledge can be dangerous, so here are ….

The Basics:

  1. Clusters.  Be careful not to read too much into any one piece of BL. Crossing your arms means a ‘closed’ position right – everyone knows that much. Well not necessarily. This might also be the other persons ‘at rest’ position. You need three or more pieces of BL saying the same thing. (either ‘closed’ or ‘open’)
  2. Context. Because its controlled by the subconscious, your BL changes with the environment (the context) in which you find yourself. Read the clusters within the context of the environment or situation.
  3. Congruence.  To communicate powerfully and clearly to another person make sure that your BL and the words you are using are in congruence ie. Are they giving the same message? If your words are saying positive, supportive things- but your BL is saying ‘go away and stop bothering me’ then you are sending ’ mixed messages’ to the receiver.  And guess which one they will believe?
  4. Choose your behavioural style ( Assertive, Submissive, Aggressive), hopefully Assertive most of the time, and make sure that your BL is also Assertive. ( open, upright, facing towards, good eye contact, a smile, firm handshake ).
  5. Make good Eye Contact.  Make use of the ‘business gaze’ – an upturned triangle across both eyes and down to the chin. If you are not giving steady, assertive eye contact 60-70 % of the time, then this may be viewed negatively (shifty, something to hide, lacking confidence).

Some understanding of the key elements concerned with managing and interpreting Body Language will help you to communicate effectively to your key customers.  Body Language is controlled, for most people, by the subconscious part of the brain, it is, therefore, often a giveaway as to what someone is really thinking.

Please bear in mind that if your customers are not from a ‘western business culture’ – then the above may not apply because their cultural norms will be different. Now there’s a topic for another day!

Links to workshops:

Understanding Body Language

For further information and business support contact Dave Chesters on 01785 823583 or take a look at our website – 

 ‘Training Solutions that Guarantee Results’


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