What is the importance of body language in communication? Although you might think the words that routinely spill out of your mouth are all important, as a matter of fact the clues you give off from body language are actually more important a lot of the time and you might be surprised to learn that your body language can sometimes contradict what you say!
What is body language in communication?
Body language is non-verbal communication and it works in a variety of different ways, from your posture and tone of voice to the way you hold eye contact. Most of us pass judgment on a person within the first five seconds of meeting them—and it usually has very little to do with anything they might be saying, although we do tend to use a combination of verbal and non-verbal clues to make up our minds. Of course this works both ways. Not only do we make judgments about people based on their body language—they also do the same about us.
The importance of body language in communication
Body language is about the visual things. Our posture is important, but our expression and the way we speak can also make a difference. In prehistoric times before language developed, recognizing the subconscious signals given out with body language could have made the difference between life and death. But even though these days we primarily use language to communicate, we are still programmed to pick up on non verbal signs.
Types of non verbal body language in communication
Aggressive body language is fairly easy to spot and an aggressive person will typically try and stare you out, invade your personal space, and adopt a macho pose with legs wide apart. Defensive posture is the exact opposite: the person will lean back, cross their arms or legs and avoid making eye contact. It is also possible to tell if someone is nervous or bored from their body language.
The importance of body language skills in the workplace
Understanding the principles of body language can help you in the workplace. Your body language will make a massive difference when dealing with colleagues, subordinates and clients, and you are unlikely to be a successful manager if you unconsciously throw out signs of nervousness. It is also worth mentioning that any hint of a lie when trying to persuade the customer to buy a new product or service could be potentially costly.
As we have already mentioned, body language helps us make a judgment about someone almost instantly. This applies to everyone we meet, from the man who stops us to ask directions to the blind date our best friend arranged for us.
Reading the other person’s body language can sometimes be a life saver: if a person shows signs of aggression or shiftiness, it is probably a good idea to give them a wide berth. Body language can also help us work out whether (or not) a date is interested, thus saving any potential embarrassment from us making a move on someone who is totally unreceptive to our charms.