Understanding and using body language in practice

By developing your awareness of the signs and messages used in body language, you’ll begin to understand the people around you and so help you communicate more effectively with them. Some top tips on how to convey the right messages

Understanding and using body language in practice

Posted:

17 May 2017

Body language is the non-verbal means of communication that we all use in every aspect of life. Understanding it helps you work out what others are thinking and feeling, and it can help you both personally and professionally in your daily life.

By developing your awareness of the signs and messages used in body language, you’ll begin to understand the people around you and so help you communicate more effectively with them.

There are often subtle movements, gestures and facial expressions that tell us what is going on. The way we walk, talk, sit and stand all say something significant about us. You can be sure that whatever’s happening on the inside will be reflected on the outside. Indeed it’s actually very hard to lie with body language.

By becoming more aware you can learn to read people more easily. This will put you in a better position to communicate effectively with them. By increasing your understanding of others, you can also become more aware of the messages that you convey to them.

  • Up to 70% of human messages are expressed through body language
  • Spoken words account for less than 10% of your communication
  • Around 40% of our communication comes from the tone of our voice

  • Smile – we all know how a simple smile can be contagious. It conveys a positive, helpful and reassuring attitude, and will give your client confidence in your approach and opinion. Don’t forget to smile with your eyes as well
  • Use your eyes – by keeping good eye contact between yourself and the client, you’ll keep their attention, interest and focus.
  • Use your head – positive nods of agreement will reinforce that you’re listening and give confidence in your approach and advice.
  • Posture – by standing tall with shoulders back you’ll come across as confident and trustworthy.
  • Speak clearly – don’t rush or hurry what you are saying. Use a moderate tone of voice to be reassuring and confident.
  • Listen – by nodding and tilting your head you’ll be showing you’re engaged and paying attention. It’s important to make sure your client knows you’re listening.

  • Don’t look away or avoid making eye contact - this can suggest nervousness, lack of interest or even an uncaring attitude.
  • Don’t cross your arms – this is a negative signal, which could be taken as disapproving
  • Don’t mumble when speaking – you’ll come across as indifferent, unsure or nervous
  • Don’t rush - being in a hurry gives off many non-verbal signals. If you appear to be short on time, in a rush thinking about something else, you’ll end up disappointing and disrespecting the client.
  • Don’t try to multitask - avoid the temptation to check your phone or watch. There are certain tasks that will make you appear rude and disinterested. It’s just unprofessional.
  • Don’t fiddle – keep those hands still or you might appear indecisive, nervous, worried or addled.
  • Don’t cover your mouth – a hand or fingers in front of your mouth when speaking may suggest you’re not being entirely truthful

Take a look at this great Body language infographic >

This simple visual image produced by Dailyinfographic conveys ‘10 simple body language tips’, which we feel are relevant and practical when consulting and meeting your clients.