Nonverbal Communication: What is your body saying while you speak? - Hearing and Speech Agency

Nonverbal Communication: What is your body saying while you speak?

We often work to make sure our facial expressions don’t reveal our true thoughts. That person who is moving slowly in line at the store doesn’t need to know how annoyed you are, so you refrain from rolling your eyes or sighing. A friend who is telling the same story for the third time might get a small smile or nod, instead of getting an earful about wasting your precious time. Some folks control their emotions so well, they are known for having a poker face.


However, the face is not the only body part that may betray our emotions. If you aren’t careful, your body can send a message that is undesirable, or untrue! Many experts say that a person’s feet are the window into their mind.  If your legs or feet are pointed away from someone during a conversation, it can be a sign that you’d rather be somewhere else. If you are invested, disinterest could be a harmful message to send. If you really do want to be somewhere else, keep things cordial either by excusing yourself from the conversation or shifting your body language.


Your posture can also reveal what you are really thinking. Imagine interviewing someone for a new position. They are slouched in the chair, barely raising their head when they answer your questions. How would you judge their interest? Now imagine another candidate sitting up straight and making eye contact. Who would you most want to work with?


An easy way to change your body language is to really focus on whoever is talking. Make eye contact, open your body posture (no crossed arms or legs), and listen to understand, not to prepare your next question. This will naturally loosen your body language and communicate that you are truly interested.


We make subconscious judgements based on body language every day.  Whether or not those judgements are accurate, they are critical to our interpersonal interactions. Keep your opportunities open by keeping your body language open.


Want more tips about workplace communication? Check out our #WorkplaceWednesday series on Nonverbal Communication.




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