How to Use Body Language to Jack Up Your Communication
This first section may not be relevant to you.....
Your voice is probably your most powerful tool as a persuader – but with this proviso: Speaking with flexibility and control, with a view to controlling your tone, pitch, rate, rhythm, volume and timbre will bring dramatic results.
As you start to listen to other people, try actively to match their voice characteristics, and you will be stunned how you can build rapport with a person. The pitch or tone of your voice toward the end of a sentence can change it's meaning completely. Rising pitch gets processed by the listener as a question, level pitch as a statement, and descending pitch as a command.
Take this one step further now, once you feel you are in rapport with someone, and nod your head, and surprise: the other person is likely to follow your example.
We all communicate with our voices, even when we are not using words! What is more, the pundits assure us mere mortals that if we take the time to stand back and observe, it is actually possible to accurately “read” the machinations of the human body in action. So be careful of how you say something.
Indeed, almost subliminally, we have a variety of mannerisms that we use, and are not entirely aware of, and these how the powerful potential of sending out messages to other people. Facial expressions, downcast eyes, laid-back posture, gestures, a crack in the voice – all provide giveaway clues – the “Braille” of body language, to be easily read by those who take the trouble to interpret it. (Braille was named after the French educator, Louis Braille who lost his sight at the age of three and who invented a system of writing and printing for sightless people (1809-1852)
Get the low-down
Whilst the spoken word generally carries some weight in our interaction with others, an amazing 93% of the messages we transmit are actually non-verbal! These subtle non-verbal messages play their part by buttressing or contradicting the actual messages we meant to send, and for that should motivate our closer inspection.
Be alive to attitude.
Yawning is an easy one, and a dead-giveaway sign of boredom, wide-open eyes can be indicative of fear or fright, downcast eyes despondency, or a quivering bottom lip is that of a super-sensitive personality.
Beware of ostentatious hand signals
Whilst it would be incongruous for people from the Nordic countries to gesticulate, Latin lovers who use hand gestures as their stock-in-trade would suffer badly with their hands tied behind their backs.
Generally speaking though, hand movements should be confined to an area about the width of your body. Over the top gestures can be off-putting, or convey the impression that you are acting a part, or not being genuine.
Some people have no bubble
Have you ever entered an elevator having everybody crowding in closely – with most people this raises their discomfort level from obnoxious feelings about those around them to unbearable. Depending on the culture, and this varies, some folk have no problem with this form of proximity, and even talk at the top of their voices, because whispering would be tantamount to talking behind the other person's back.
Aloofness can Alienate
When talking to someone, it is a good idea to look them in the eye (don't stare of course) because if you neglect doing so, many people read that as you being evasive or unresponsive.
The Window of your Soul
Nobody less than multi-millionaire shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis (married Jacqueline Kennedy) once confessed he routinely wore dark glasses when negotiating a deal, so he would not transmit his inner thoughts.
A study of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) can teach us that we, and the F.B.I., can tell if a person is lying in response to a question by observing the position of their eyes. Just glancing upward can indicate that you are “racking your brain” to be able to tell an imaginative, perhaps fabricated story.
The Vicious Voice
Beware of “verisimilitude” - the quality of appearing to be real – because in the final analysis, the tone or inflexion of your voice is what people hear, so if you talk rapidly, people will think you are trying to get away with something. If we talk too loudly, then people can see you as being vulgar. Too softly? A lack of conviction or confidence.
The variety is endless, and really worthy of study if we really wish to understand the hidden motives, and then get on better with them.
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