Body Language: Improve Your Basic
Interpersonal Communication Skill
Why do jade dealers wear dark glasses? No this isn't the start
to a bad joke, it's a serious question, with a telling answer.
Jade dealers, and poker players alike, aim to hide what they're
really thinking and saying by suppressing their body language.
Unless wheeling and dealing is your game, it'd be wise to
master the basic interpersonal communication skill of body
language and be better understood.
93% of what you say remains unsaid
Stereotyping is short-hand decision making on whether you
like someone and determines how you much effort you put into
the conversation. Your hair colour, clothes, age, ethnicity
and other features that don't change during a conversation,
all add up to give an overall impression, which may be good
or may be bad. The way you look speaks volumes - it's a communication
skill in itself. So, start conveying a favourable message
by getting your image right.
If it works for chameleons
Stereotypes can work to your advantage - people who wear glasses
are more intelligent right? So wear glasses to an interview.
And people who wear revealing clothes are only out to find
a mate and can't be taken seriously. (A quick expose - a recent
study found that ovulating women expose more flesh than at
other times in their cycle!). Learn from chameleons and change
your appearance to fit your surroundings and your communication
will be taken more seriously.
Eye to Eye Contact
We look less at people who make us uncomfortable. Conversely,
when we are truly engaged in a conversation, we make loads
of eye contact, making both parties feel interested and interesting.
So, lift your gaze and make eye contact if you want your conversational
partner to feel understood.
Okay, I don't mean intense starting - that's just plain scary
- fix your gaze on the bridge of the nose and drop your gaze
every now and again. If you're talking in a group, remember
to include everyone in the conversation by scanning round
and making eye contact with everyone.
Mirror and Match
Next time you're out at a restaurant or bar, take a look round
and see how people sit when they're in deep, intimate, conversation.
Chances are they are sitting in very similar positions - almost
as if one were a mirror image of the other, matching posture
To test your rapport building skills, strike up a conversation
with a friend or foe, and see if you can mirror and then lead
their movements. Take some time to mirror their body language
- if they've got crossed legs, make sure your legs are crossed
too. If they are bouncing their leg, maybe tap a pencil in
time. Above all, be subtle - it's a delicate dance and no-one
likes a partner who stomps over their party shoes.
After some time, do a mini assessment. Maybe scratch your
nose - if they follow by touching their face in response,
you know you've hit the mirroring jackpot. If not, don't worry,
just take some more time to build a deeper rapport.
In difficult or uncomfortable situations, most people worry
about what's going to come out of their mouth. Truth is, get
your body language right, and you've mastered the most basic
interpersonal communication skill. And the other 7% will take
care of itself.
Copyright © 2006-2007 Lyndsay Swinton
Article by Lyndsay Swinton, creator of Management
For The Rest Of Us www.mftrou.com/management-articles.html
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