Body Language

Body language can profoundly, but generally unconsciously, affect people

"...In expressing our internal emotional state to others, and in reading their internal states, body language is very important..."

Robert Winston, 2003

. Everyone can control their body language to an extent to hide their true feelings. But generally the body language will demonstrate true feelings and will contradict verbal lies.

If non‐verbals contradict the verbals, people believe and trust the non‐verbals

First impressions are very important. It is thought that the initial 5 seconds of any first meeting are more important than the next 5 minutes. So attention to details like grooming and appropriate clothing are important if you want to create the right impression


" a business environment......we found that the balder the man, the more power and success he was perceived to have, and the less resistance people would put up when he enforced his authority. The hairy‐headed men, on the other hand, were thought to be less powerful and less well‐paid..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

. Body language experts have long suggested that a significant part of the message an audience receives is determined before the speaker opens his/her mouth

"...yet most organisations......act as if bodies ‐ stature, size, posture, voice ‐ do not matter.....stature, gestures and voice are all critical to the construction of authority..."

Amanda Sinclair in AFRBoss, July 2001

. Organisations place a premium on performance and the illusion of competence, which even manifests itself in terms of height, ie

"...58 percent of American chief executive officers are more than six feet tall (183 cm), compared with just 14 percent of the total population..."

Malcolm Gladwell as quoted by Luke Collins, 2005

. There are gender differences. For example, women use body language (including tone of voice) more effectively than men, ie

"...body language reveals a woman's emotional condition and accounts for 60% ‐ 80% of the impact of most females......tone of voice conveys what she means and women communicate with a range of five tones ‐ men can only identify three. Words account for a mere 7% to 10% of the impact of the message. Consequently, the words are not critical to their conversation because most of their messages are non‐verbal..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

Furthermore, a woman displays more of the white of her eyes than a man because the female brain is organized as a close range communication tool

"...the white of an eye is an aid to face‐to‐face communications as it lets someone monitor the direction of another person's gaze, which gives clues to their attitude..."

Alan Pease et al, 2002

To demonstrate that you are interested when talking to someone you need to

‐ maintain eye contact with the other person

‐ listen to what the other person is saying, ie 2 ears and 1 mouth and use them in that ratio!!

‐ mirror body language, ie break down barriers by adopting the other person's pose and actions

‐ face the person you are talking to and listening to, which demonstrates that you are interested. Even more powerful is to stand/sit side‐by side rather than face‐to‐face; this indicates that you are on their side!!!!!!!

‐ tilt your head slightly to show you are interested

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