How to Interpret Body Language

How to Interpret Body Language by Mateja Petje #WUVIP #TheWellnessUniverse #BodyLanguage

Mirroring other person’s body language has been known to be an effective tool in making the other person more comfortable…

Did you know that non-verbal communication accounts for more than 50% of our communication? Knowing how to interpret the body language will not only make you a better communicator but also excel in business and make friends more easily. You can also become better at distinguishing who has integrity – there needs to be a match between body language and spoken words. Have you ever been with a person who denies being angry yet this person’s body language clearly indicates emotional upset which is evident by flushed face, clenched fist, and tense muscles.

The key areas to notice when interpreting body language include the face, head, torso, hands, legs, and feet (yes, even feet). When it comes to face, pay attention to facial expression, movement of the eyes, eyebrows and mouth. In our culture, poor eye contact may be perceived as evasive, while in Asian cultures, looking into somebody’s eyes is considered disrespectful. Is the person head shaking and nodding in agreement, or turning away? Are shoulders dropping, tightening, or hunching. We also store a lot of tension in our shoulders. The way one’s torso is positioned, it may indicate interest by the person leaning forward, or nervousness which can be evident by person rocking on the chair, for example. Are hands fidgety? Are legs restless or firmly planted to the floor? Even our feet tell a story.

Our emotions are related to our body posture and expressions. See the infographic below that will explain some of the most common body language signs as they relate to different emotions. Attentiveness is noted by furrowed brow, leaning forward and sitting up. Honesty is evident by maintaining eye contact, smiling with eyes and mouth and palms up. On the other hand, if one is secretive this can be observed by a tight-lipped smile, hands in pockets, and looking down. Also, discomfort is noted by raised eyebrows and crossed legs usually indicate a sign of resistance.

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In summary, our knowing of body language and how to interpret it can not only help in personal relationships but also business relationships. It is related to cultural and environmental differences. We can practice by paying close attention to our own body language. It’s also related to being mindful in the moment and notice how the other person responds in turn. Mirroring other person’s body language has been known to be an effective tool in making the other person more comfortable and in turn, lead to gaining trust and creating a basis for a solid relationship.

– Mateja