Do you want to learn how to improve your body language?
Do you know that you can also use your body to communicate with people?
Communication is said to be the process of passing information from one individual to another.
It is not only limited to words of mouth or written words.
It has other forms known as the nonverbal forms of communication.
One of such nonverbal forms of communication is body language.
That’s what this blog post is about; how to improve body language for effective communication.
Therefore, read on to discover how to improve your body language.
How To Improve Body Language
Most times, people feel like when they stop talking, they have stopped communicating.
However, communication begins before you open even your mouth to speak.
Every eye contact, the movement of your head or hands, every touch, the way you stand, etc., are means of communication known as body language.
Therefore, body language is a form of nonverbal communication that involves using physical behaviors to express thoughts and convey meanings.
This form of communication is both conscious and unconscious.
It is more of an instinctive act than a conscious one.
Like verbal means of communication, it can be used to build trust, pull others towards you, put people at ease or unease, and even undermine people.
Now, the meanings conveyed by body language largely depend on the type of body language used.
This brings us to consider the various types of body language.
Types of Body Language
The human face is an embodiment of expressions.
It can be used to convey different forms of emotions and thoughts.
It is universal, unlike some other forms of nonverbal communication.
That means it is the same for all expressions like happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, etc., in all cultures.
It includes waving hands, pointing, shaking the head, shrugging, making signs with fingers, etc.
However, the first thing to understand about gestures is that it differs from one culture to another.
It is one of the most misinterpreted forms of body language because it is not the same in every culture.
Therefore, it is always good to find out what some gestures mean before you use them.
Body Posture and Movement
When you take different postures like sitting, standing, walking, taking a stance, standing akimbo, etc., you convey tons of information.
This type of body language can not be entirely different from one culture to another.
Nevertheless, it is always safer to verify to avoid misinterpretation.
Touch is another means of communication that can convey a wealth of information.
Things like hugs, handshakes, kisses, pat on the hand, shoulder, cheek, head, etc., are forms of physical touch that convey a lot of meaning.
Like other forms of body language, this can vary from region to region and personality.
Therefore, it is prone to misinterpretations.
For instance, in some regions, a kiss on the cheek is seen as an informal greeting in platonic relationships.
On the other hand, it could be seen as a romantic gesture in other regions.
Also, in other regions using such physical touch on people without their consent may be seen as violating their rights and may attract legal penalties.
Therefore, before using this type of body language, you need to ensure that it’s in the right place and time.
The eye is said to be the window to the human soul.
It is one of the most special types of nonverbal communication.
When you look into people’s eyes, thoughts and emotions like affection, interest, attraction, hostility, etc., are conveyed.
Overall, eye contact can be used to maintain a flow in a conversation.
It can also come in handy in gauging a person’s interest in a conversation.
Voice or Tone
Talking is not just about what is said. It is also about how it is said.
Voice comes in during the analysis of one’s speech.
It is part of what conveys the message contained in your spoken words.
Things that help to get a clear picture of the message you convey by words include how loud your voice is, inflection and tone, timing and pace of your voice.
Thoughts and emotions like intimacy, affection, dominance, aggression, etc., can also be conveyed by the distance between you and the next person.
Humans always need their space, depending on the relationship between the next person and us.
Also, culture and different situations determine how close or distant we are to people around us.
Like other types of body language, this is not universal and can easily be misinterpreted.
Now that you know the various types of body language let’s discover how to improve body language.
Tips on How to Improve Body Language
Have you ever been in a position where you cannot communicate with people because you don’t understand their body language or because they can not understand yours?
It may be because of cultural differences or because both parties may not know how to interpret body language.
Here are some tips on how to improve the body language
Be Calm and Still
Have you ever met someone who can not stay a minute without;
- shaking their head endless,
- or taping the floor with their legs
- or even drumming on a surface with their fingers?
That is a typical example of restlessness, and that is the last thing you need to do in front of people.
Shaking your head, hands, moving your leg, changing your sitting position, crossing and uncrossing your legs are signs of discomfort and being under pressure.
Body language can always be misinterpreted.
Your excitement showed through your changing of sitting position frequently can be misinterpreted for discomfort.
Therefore to improve your body language, avoid moving or shaking when there is no need for it.
One thing body language does is communicate your level of confidence to your audience or the next person.
Therefore, how you act around people shows your level of confidence.
You can also picture yourself as a high-class persona and act according to your imagination.
If, for instance, you go to an interview for an expert level job with an intermediate level qualification, you need to think like you can carry out bigger tasks than your resume specified.
That would help your brain communicate to your body how to act.
This makes you appear self-assured and confident.
It also boosts your body language.
Mind Your Hands
Body language is all about carrying out communication with your body before, while, or after you speak.
To improve your body language, you should watch what your hands do when you are engaging others.
When you make some gestures with your hands, it tells a lot about you.
When taking in front of an audience, adopt the finger pinch hold. It suggests confidence, high status, and authority.
It can also be used to emphasize an important point you are making verbally.
Also, when speaking in front of a desk while standing, avoid facing your fingers down on the desk.
It gives you off as powerful and overbearing, and that is the last thing you want your audience to think of you.
Also, do not point fingers at your audience; it suggests rudeness and arrogance.
When standing in front of an audience without anything in front of you, avoid scattering your fingers.
It makes you look uncertain and less confident.
Likewise, avoid folding your hands across your chest.
It makes you appear unfriendly and bossy.
On the other hand, keeping an open harms makes you look friendly and welcoming.
Therefore to improve your body language, be mindful of what you do with your hands when you talk.
Mind Your Posture
Many things make up your body language, one of such things is your posture.
To improve your body language, here are some things to know about maintaining the right posture, especially doing public speaking in front of an audience ;
- Do not back your audience while trying to face the visuals.
- Stand at the center of the stage, not in a corner.
- Do not stand in front of any distractions; it will distract your audience and make them lose interest in what you are saying.
- Also, do not put your hand into your pockets. It makes it difficult to convey any message from that standpoint.
- When you stand, be mindful of the person beside and behind you.
- Do not throw your legs wide apart; it will make it difficult to balance or make gestures in that position.
- With a good base position, gesture with your left hand. It makes you look comfortable in the eyes of the audience.
- Stand upright and avoid leaning so much on something in front of you.
Above all, these are some of the things you could do to improve your posture and body language when interacting with other people.
If you happen to be making a presentation, do not grimace, frown, or show any form of negative facial expression.
These negative facial expressions naturally send signals to your brain that you are in a tough situation.
The brain, on the other hand, signals your body of danger.
Consequently leading to panicking or fidgeting.
However, when you smile, your brain doesn’t feel threatened and will only send a relaxing signal to your body.
Even more, smiling as a facial expression is contagious.
When you smile, your audience smiles back at you.
Thereby helping you to relax.
To improve your body language, learn to smile and keep a friendly special expression when interacting with people.
Maintain Eye Contact
Eye contact is another significant gesture that conveys a lot of messages.
For instance, looking away or somewhere else when having a conversation with someone makes you loo;
On the other hand, maintain eye contact shows;
- You’re attentive/present
- Enjoying the discussion, etc.
Hence, when interacting with someone/people, try as much as possible to maintain eye contact.
However, be careful not to be so awkward when doing this by staring intensely at the speaker.
This could feel a bit strange and make the speaker feel uncomfortable.
Like eye contact, nodding is another important type of body language.
Nodding in a conversation conveys many positive messages such as;
- You’re listening attentively
- You’re interested in the topic
- Encouraging the speaker to continue with the discussion
- You’re enjoying the conversation or time spent with the speaker.
Above all, by learning how to nod in a conversation, you’ll be improving your body language and communication skills.
Learn to Manage Stress
Nothing compromises your ability to communicate efficiently like stress.
Excessive stress leads to foggy thinking and clouded judgments.
Likewise, it makes your body give out wrong signals or even misinterpret signals.
When you misinterpret body language and begin to work with the wrong information, it can create a bad situation out of a good one.
However, to improve your body language, you have to learn to reduce your stress levels.
Even when stressed, you can make yourself feel better through exercises, meditation, playing fun games, etc.
This is to be in the right frame of mind and avoid sending the wrong messages with negative body language.
Become Emotionally Aware/Intelligent
Being emotionally aware entails knowing your emotions and understanding how they influence you.
Also, being emotionally aware is becoming aware of others’ emotions and the true feelings behind their sending signals.
It is an important skill to develop and master to send correct nonverbal signals.
To improve your body language, you need to master emotional awareness because it will help you:
- To accurately read people, their emotions, and their unspoken messages.
- Understand your emotions and use the right body language to convey your emotions.
- Also, to interact and respond to others in a way that makes them feel you understand and care for them.
Overall, you can become more emotionally aware by building emotional intelligence.
Final Words on How to Improve Body Language
Body language is essential for communicating effectively.
Thereby fostering trust in a relationship, both private and professional.
However, body language does not only inform.
It can also misinform and be distracting if you do not take cognizance of your body.
To prevent this, you need to improve your body language.
We’ve examined several ways to improve body language.
Here’s a quick summary.
Improving your body language involves being conscious of your body movements, such as what you do with your hands when interacting with people.
Also, avoid overdoing your gestures.
It gives off comic signals in a serious situation, which is the last thing you want.
More so, it involves things like nodding, maintaining eye contact, staying still, keeping open arms, maintaining the right posture, etc.
Conclusively, our body language conveys a lot of meaning than our words could ever do.
This is why you should put efforts into improving your body language so you can communicate effectively and avoid misunderstandings.
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