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A Guide To Understanding Body Language

It is said that most human communication happens on the subconscious level, and not even via words. Instead, many experts suggest that as much as 70% of communication happens via body language. So if you’re unfamiliar with body language, you could be missing the majority of what is being said.

Hence, it is important for both business and personal relationships to have at least some understanding of the basic body language signs.

Open And Closed

As a broad overview, much body language can be broken down into open and closed categories. As a baseline of understanding, open body language is positive, and closed body language is negative. However, this isn’t always the case. But it is a good starting point to breaking down the topic.

Closed body language comes in the form of crossed arms, crossed legs, and a head that is turned away. It could also be that a person with crossed arms is just cold, but based around what is being said at the time, it may also indicate that a speaker is uncomfortable, unhappy, or maybe even wishes to be left alone.

Open body language consists of generally relaxed postures, which can simply be said to be the opposite of closed body language. The open category may include uncrossed arms, and uncrossed legs.

Facing The Conversation

Extremely important, and even more of an indicator of body language than open or closed posture, is if an individual is facing directly towards a speaker, and maintaining eye contact. The direction a body is facing is always a good indicator of where their interest lies, even more so if they are keeping their head pointed in the same direction.

It need not be said that if someone is glancing around, staring elsewhere, or is perhaps even engaged in Australian sports betting on their phone, they are not engaged. They likely wish to escape the conversation at their earliest convenience.

Context Matters

It is, however, wrong to assume that any instance in which someone has crossed arms, or is glancing around, is an indicator that they are not interested. Body language can vary greatly from one person to the next, and this should also be taken into account.

Someone who is unable to maintain eye contact may simply be shy, or be intimidated by the situation. This also needs to be considered, and conclusions should not be drawn from a single clue.

Communication Is Key

Although understanding body language is important, direct, upfront communication is often a far better option in clearing up uncertainty. Many get nervous if they are unsure about a situation, and a few choice words may be all that is needed to put them at ease.

Hence, relying too much on body language can result in confusion. It is, however, still extremely useful to read body language to get a better idea of how an interaction is playing out. In business negotiations, for example, where the proceedings can be tense, body language may be exactly what is needed to close a deal.

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