What Does Your Body Language Say?



A lot of what we “say” has nothing to do with speech at all. Dr. Albert Mehrabian conducted a study in 1982 about the likability of strangers. Communication was divided into vocal (how we sound), visual (how we look), and verbal (what we say). The visual aspect of communication was 55% of the impact! (Vocal was 38% and Verbal was 7%). These results have often been misinterpreted and were used to determine only one word utterances. Regardless of the actual results, the importance of nonverbal communication cannot be overlooked. Visual/non-verbal communication including posture, gestures, facial expression, and eye contact, are critical to accurately and effectively communicate our thoughts and ideas. We often make our first impression with non-verbal communication. What is your first and lasting impression?

Here are some tips for “putting your best foot forward.” Body Language · Stand with your feet about 6” apart · Keep your weight on the balls of your feet · Bend your knees slightly · Square your hips with shoulders for a powerful stance · Avoid shifting your weight or leaning on furniture or walls · Keep your chin parallel to the ground · Maintain appropriate personal space distance (be aware of cultural differences) Gestures · Keep your hands relaxed, at your sides · Do not cover your mouth with your hands when talking · Avoid arm crossing, hand-wringing, pointing, and fidgeting · Keep your hands out of your pockets · Gesture naturally and appropriately (be culturally sensitive!) · Take up space with your gestures (your elbows should not be attached to your torso)

Facial Expressions · Smile naturally and appropriately · Open your eyes widely · Move your eyebrows expressively Eye Contact · Look at your conversational partner for the duration of a thought · Don’t dart eyes from side to side · Do not look over your listener's shoulder · Remember to blink-don’t stare · If uncomfortable, look at the bridge of the nose of the listener

Your visual message should be consistent with what you say (verbal) and how you say it (vocal). Your body language SPEAKS volumes!

For more advice on effective non-verbal communication, contact info@eslrules.com