It’s no secret that people fascinate me! Right from being very young I have always been interested in how people communicate. The largest part of our communication, 93% to be precise, is nothing to do with the words we use. It’s all about how we say them and the body language that goes with it.
Most of us are aware of this fact, but generally in our workshops people are surprised that the percentage is so high. I’m always astonished that people think folding your arms is being defensive – remember it’s ‘body language’, not just one word or phrase. Looking for other clues in the person’s demeanour will give you better information. For example, if someone has their arms crossed, but are smiling at the same time, it is likely that they are just comfortable with their arms folded and are not being defensive at all. Whereas if someone has their arms crossed and are frowning, it is more likely that they are being defensive after all!
It’s important to note though, that the saying ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’, as so many people attending our workshops do rate someone with folded arms and a smile as being defensive. If you want to be sure that people are not taking away a negative impression of your body language, it’s safer to keep an open stance with un-crossed arms.
The other key behaviours that portray positive body language are smiling, eye contact, good posture, open stance and a good handshake – this is one of my personal soap box rant moments, so I’ll post about that in detail another day!!
Wishing you a fabulous Saturday and I invite you to observe people’s body langauge around you today to see what you spot! I’m in Starbucks at the moment having a coffee and writing my blog while my daughter is at dance class and Hubby is being the dutiful son and doing some DIY for his Mum. Looking at the people around me there is lots of great body language going on; lots of active listening, intense gazing, flirting, scowling, arms crossed, bored looking – oops nearly got caught out watching – you have to be careful of that too!
Have fun observing,
Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA – Managing Director, First Impressions
Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI) She is also Membership Director of FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women.
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