Blog 125. Business, Money And Your Career: Understanding Your Body Language.
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Take charge of your body:
How you feel and the way you behave are intertwined with how you move your body. As a result, every time you enter a room, an office, a boardroom or a space of any kind – you do so with ‘more of you’ than you may have been aware of?
Often we forget that no matter how hard we try to play a different role to the one we left at home, in reality we cannot cut ourselves in half or into separate bits. So we could forget, that what we present to the world – is far more than we sometimes realise or anticipate.
And as I have already pointed out in a previous blog, when we go to work each and every day, we ‘bring’ all the different parts of who we are or have become, as well as the bits that we think we’ve hidden away or discarded, into our work or office environment.
No matter how hard we try, we cannot help being influenced by things that happen around us. We will have identified and absorbed certain aspects from our childhood, our families, school or our culture – and this becomes part of who we become.
But also, without saying anything, when you enter a space you bring with you, not just who you think you are but also, you bring your past experiences, your insecurities, your fears, your habits, your patterns, your anxieties, your prejudices and so on. Or on the other hand, you could also bring your confidence, your positivity, your self-assuredness, and so on.
And this is what we refer to as your body image or body language. It is like all your various personality traits become neatly packaged and reflected in an invisible mirror for all to see.
But we forget that people respond quicker to our body language than to anything we might say – and they make judgements accordingly too. Baroness Deborah Bull once said, ‘Body language is a very powerful tool. We had body language before we had speech, and apparently, 80% of what you understand in a conversation is read through the body, not the words’.
People feel or intuit aspects about us via our bodies, that we might not be aware of. And sadly, many don’t always realise this. But also, that what we present may and is often unconscious.
Not being aware of what our bodies tell others, may get in the way of job or employment prospects. And it may be the reason why some people don’t like us.
But also, body language is subjective – which is why it is often hard to know what we‘re projecting. Consequently, it takes a third party to point it out. But until we ask someone, or indeed until we find the courage to ask someone – a lot of damage can be done.
So, if you sense something is wrong or if you’re not getting the kind of feedback that you are wanting – don’t as a result, let your body language or what you are trying to communicate get in the way. If you’re not aware of the messages your body may be sending out to the world – then you may want to find out more.
You can become cognisant or mindful of your body language via therapy or you can work with either a mentor or life coach in order to improve what you WANT to say rather than what you may be saying.
And to truly understand what your body is communicating, you may also want to understand not only the messages your body is projecting – but where the projections are coming from. And this may take a few therapy or coaching sessions. But either way, it is important that you get to grips with your body language otherwise you could be letting yourself down, unnecessarily.
And we also know that communication or what we communicate – can open doors.
If you decide to learn more about your body language you will also go one step further. You will begin to understand how to use your body language effectively and this will stand you in good stead. And doing so, will teach you how to develop your posture, the tone in your voice, your attitude, and how to respond more effectively. It may even help you become a public speaker or indeed a better public speaker.
There are people who specialise in this field. Asking them for help is about providing yourself with just another string to your bow, because as you learn about your own body language – you will learn about other people’s body language too. And this is a valuable skill to master.
But is starts with you, and your body language, and what you are trying to say.
And as Allen Ruddock quite rightly said, Your body communicates as well as your mouth. Don’t contradict yourself.”
But, if you do not understand your own body language, how on earth are you going to understand what other people’s body language is telling you?
In business or at the office, or indeed with regards any relationship, it is important to be able to read what is going on during any conversation: You need to be able to read and understand what’s going on. You need to learn to see whether what you are saying is being understood and absorbed, or whether the person you are talking to, is sitting with their arms folded, the legs crossed and their eyes glazed over, looking utterly bored. If they’re looking perplexed or confused, they may not understand what you’re trying to say. You may want to check this, so that you can repeat what you’re trying to say – in another way. You may also need to talk quicker, especially if someone is in a hurry. Or you may have to wait for a better moment in order to get their attention. Or best still, if their eyes glaze over – know that you’re probably wasting your time – in some cases, you might as well be talking to a wall as they’re just not listening. And if they don’t seem interested or if they don’t ask questions – move on or speak about something else. Don’t bore people, instead choose topics that you know or can see will interest them. And if you are in sales – this means that even if someone doesn’t buy from you this time, they may some other time.
If you’re not sure what people will find interesting, try using yourself as a guinea pig. Ask yourself whether, if you heard what you are saying, whether you would invite yourself to dinner or whether you would buy the product and for how much? This is a great way of checking your story and learning to tell a story that will invoke interest.
Also, learning to listen to any feedback can help inform you, whether what you are saying needs a different format or a different way of telling your story. Sometimes just tweaking your story can makes a big difference. Just don’t give up. Try things out. See what works – and use what works.
Interestingly, your audience will also pick up on your willingness to experiment, adapt and change. And the art of flexibility is a great trait and one that depicts a willingness to learn and most people will be impressed when they realise this about you.
© 2020 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
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