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Monday, July 4, 2011

Body Language: How To Send The Right Signals

You may not know it, but you put meaning to what you are saying through your actions. Almost every aspect of your personality is made known through your looks, demeanor, facial expressions, gestures, posture and body language. 

Body language is an important part of communication. To enhance the effectiveness of verbal communication, you need to work not just on your appearance but also on body language, which constitutes 50% or more of what you are trying to convey. And because body language makes up a huge chunk of your overall message, it is important to understand just how you can use it to send to your advantage.

A lot of people are unaware of how they project themselves to other people because generally, people can subconsciously identify body language signals. By understanding how you can use body language to send the right signals, you can be able to able to turn things your ways and leave a lasting and positive impression towards people. Here are some ways.

Make eye contact. Maintain direct eye contact when speaking to someone and vice-versa. This shows that you know and are sincere with what you are saying and that you are interested in what the other person has to say as well. Looking somewhere else can only create an impression that you are not interested or are not focused on the conversation. However, avoid staring at the person so as not to intimidate him/her off.

Observe proper posture. Avoid slouching. This only makes you look shorter and creates an image of you having low esteem. Stand comfortably, with your back straight, weight centered and feet slightly apart.

Smile. Believe it or not, but smiling is actually a very powerful kind of body language. Pouting can only pass negative judgment on other people. However, your smile should be a way to let other people know that you are easy to approach and talk to and not make people think that you are looking for approval. You do not have to smile too often, you only have to do it appropriately.

Use appropriate gestures. You can use your hands to emphasize your words or ideas. Small gestures can also work when talking up close as well. When someone is talking, nod to show that you are following. Careful not to overdo your gestures or appear too nervous with them, as this can be annoying.

Create and observe personal space. Create your own personal space. Especially in close-up conversations, let other people know that you have your own personal space and draw the line just there. Much as you do not want other people to invade your space, you also need yo observe their own as well.

For instance, if you are in a job interview, it is important that you send the right signals as first impressions usually mean big. Always appear interested and attentive in the conversation, but you should never overdo it as it may create an impression that you are only faking.

Awareness of one's own body language is important so you can communicate and respond to others effectively. Knowing how you can and cannot use body language can help filter out biases as well as understand what other people's body language signals mean and say about them. (

But perhaps the most significant thing you should keep in mind is that body language signals are far greater than the impact of verbal communication. And if your words go hand in hand with body language well together, people are more likely to be convinced with what you are trying to say. More often, people can tell whether you mean what you say with your body language.

Remember that actions can say more than words.