Secrets to Reading Body Language Like an Expert

Doesn't the term 'Body Language' ignite curiosity in your brains? It certainly does so for me. The idea that I can speak a language other than English and Hindi, without even trying to is fascinating. What is important is that learning how to read someone else's body language is not difficult, and we all do it instinctively. It is a crucial part of our social interaction and communication.

I discovered the term when I was in school. I saw a book called 'How to Read a Person Like a Book' in the library. Even though I didn't read the book then, I was intrigued about the topic and later read about it online. Here are answers to some questions that I had and you might have about it -

What is Body Language?

This is the first question that anyone new to the topic would ask. The simple definition would be, the portion of communication that we do non-verbally is body language. Although that does not define the details of body language, there is nothing more to it in a broader sense. Things such as posture, facial expressions, gestures are all included in it. 

For example, you are in a cafe and see a person slumped, looking down with a frown on the face. It is natural for you to interpret him/her to be upset or sad about something. You may have heard about the crossed arm position. When someone has crossed arms while interacting with someone else, they are portraying a closed-off body language. While the phrase, ' Welcoming with open arms' tells a different story.

How to Interpret Body Language?

To read and interpret a person's body language, we must learn about the common types of cues that portray it and are present in every average human being. They are -

1. Eyes

The saying that 'Eyes are the window to the soul' is not famous without a cause. Eyes can tell you a lot about what the other person is feeling and thinking. A lower gaze can show shame. Dilated pupils signal desire. The list goes on. 

2. Face

Facial expressions are what our society runs on. Emotions are the best displayed and interpreted through expressions. It is said that everyone has six basic emotions, and usually when you talk to someone, their expression informs you about their feelings. A smile shows happiness, and a frown shows sadness; similarly, we associate every basic emotion with a generic facial expression. Here is an article about the six types of basic emotions.

3. Personal Space

Some people are clueless about personal space and can unintentionally invade other people's personal space. The concept is about proximity between two individuals. And understanding this concept can significantly improve your understanding of interpersonal relationships between different people as well as yourself and someone else just by observation. Learn about it here.

4. Gestures

Gestures are the intentional body language cues that we display to send a message non verbally. A simple example can be a thumbs up or oscillating your head left and right, indicating denial. These are generally universal, and almost everyone can understand them.

5. Posture and Orientation of Arms and Legs

How a person stands or sits can also be a clear indicator of his/her emotions. An anxious person might walk back and forth in a short space or rapidly tap his fingers on a surface. An attentive person is likely to put his/her wrists on the waist; a lazy person might lean on a wall for support. The indicators are endless; only by practice and observation can one learn to pick up on the cues.

Why Is Body Language Important?

It is not an exaggeration to say that Body Language plays an invaluable role in communication between two parties. It can also be helpful in many life situations. Here are some situations in which a good knowledge of body language can save you in a pinch.

Making a Good First Impression: An open posture with a smile and a confident handshake can work leaps and bounds in putting an excellent first impression of you in anyone's eyes.

Public Speaking: While giving a speech or a talk, having a good body language is crucial to keep your audience interested. Read this article for learning the mantras of body language while you are in public.

Interviews: No one would prefer a candidate with clumsy body language over a sharp and confident candidate. Read this article to learn about the Do's and Don'ts of body language in an interview.

Understanding the body language of others and being able to bend your body language to your advantage are skills that will surely help you succeed in every aspect of life. The only things you need to do are observe the people around you, interpret the situation, and take action accordingly.

Written by - Mayank Tak


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