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Body Language
by Ann Reinten AICI CIP
I have always found body language absolutely fascinating. No matter how much we try to control our bodies they inevitably leak tiny bits of information that if picked up read correctly by others will give us away every time. Body language consists of our communication through the use of facial expressions, eye behaviour, gestures, posture, positioning, orientation, touch and the use of space. There are times we choose to express our emotions, feelings, and attitudes through our body language and at other times our true feelings leak out accidentally, even sometimes contradicting the words we have spoken. We also use body language to enhance our words with added emotional content. In fact often most people find it easier to express how they are truly feeling by using their body language rather than their words. Over the centuries many sayings have arisen from what we have instinctively learned from watching others. Here are just a few: BEADY LITTLE EYES: The pupils unconsciously constrict when we are lying or being deceitful. SHIFTY EYES: The eyes avert the gaze of when someone is lying, so the eyes shift around looking at anything and anyone but the recipient of the lie. SPARKLE IN THE EYES: The pupils unconsciously dilate when we are seeing something pleasurable; this action allows more light to be reflected off the back of the eye. OPENING UP TO YOU: A physically open gesture, uncrossed arms and legs allowing more of you to be emotionally and physically vulnerable. BITE YOUR LIP, TONGUE, LYING THROUGH YOUR TEETH, COVERING UP: To stop you saying something inappropriate or lying you might bite your lip or cover your mouth as you tell the lie. GUT FEELING, STOMACH CHURNING: A physical feeling in the stomach indicating a dislike or uncertainty. CHIN UP or OUT, SHOULDERS BACK: Often said to people feeling a bit down, by raising the chin up and out with the shoulders back it causes physiological changes making us feel more positive. FEET ON THE GROUND, STAND ON OWN TWO FEET: Refers back to the ancient Chinese custom of female foot binding, as those who had this done were usually Royalty and therefore could not or would not stand on their own two feet without causing pain. STAND OFFISH: When people stand a just little to far away from us for comfort, outside our personal zone. (45cms - 1m). KEEP YOUR DISTANCE: When you don't want someone to get to close to you, or into your personal zone. (45cms 1m) PUSHY: Someone who invades the personal space of others (45cms 1m) will be often referred to as too pushy. CLOSE, INTIMATE FRIENDS: Allowing someone into personal or intimate (0cms - 45cms) spatial zones. PAIN IN THE NECK: A physical gesture when something is not to our liking. GET A GRIP ON YOURSELF: We usually touch ourselves for reassurance in times of stress; a tight grip on the upper arm is common. UNDER THE THUMB: Controlled by another person, referring back to ancient Rome when the thumb turned downwards would almost certainly indicate death. THUMBS UP: Generally a form of OK, Good or Yes, but be careful where you use this gesture, it can be highly offensive in some cultures. MAKES MY SKIN CREEP, CRAWL, GETS UNDER MY SKIN: A physical sensation encountered when you are not comfortable in a particular persons company, conversation topic or tone. This is an expression mainly used by women,

as women have been proven to be more sensitive to touch and are more aware of sensations than their male counterparts. Womens Intuition Did you know that women are better at reading body language than men? This talent gave birth to the term womens intuition. In fact, in a Harvard University study it was shown that women were able to correctly read and interpret the body language of other 87% of the time while men were correct only 42%. Its worth also noting that it is easier to read the body language of children than that of the elderly. This is because the younger you are the more muscle tone you have in your face making it more expressive. The older you get the less toned the face is and the more difficult it is to see fine muscle movements. Body language is a product of both genetic and environmental influences. Blind children will smile and laugh even though they have never seen a smile. Basic elements of body language are universal across cultures. More refined gestures, which vary between cultures (for example the gestures to indicate "yes" and "no"), are learned or modified through unconscious observation of the environment Sound, Colour, Clothes and Music Body Language combined with colour, clothes, tone of voice and music are together considered non-verbal communication. In total 93% of the impression we make on others is through non verbal means.
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Dont Jump to Conclusions To determine the true meaning of non verbal communication all signs need to be read in clusters. Crossed arms alone are not enough to know the person is upset. There should be other signs such as their posture and facial expressions that can be read to ensure their true mood. Why Learn to Read Body Language? v To be able read other peoples moods and intentions v To be able to gain an advantage by understanding and controlling how we are coming across to others Key Elements Eyes. Eye contact is one of the most important aspects of dealing with others, especially those we have just met. Maintaining good eye contact shows respect and interest in what they have to say. A good amount of eye contact is where you look at the other person approx 60-70% of the time and through a series of 5-10 second glances. Longer periods of eye contact (over 10 secs) has the potential to make the person being looked at feel self conscious and may cause the onlooker to be perceived as too intense. Less than 5 secs tends to give off the signal that the onlooker has lost interest in the person or their conversation. Eyes also give off other useful clues such as how attracted a person is to us and if they are lying. When sexually aroused our pupils dilate which in turns makes us appear more attractive. Conversely, an angry, negative mood will cause the pupils to constrict. When lying we tend to blink faster, look up and to the right and avoid the normal amount of eye contact. Posture. Get your posture right and you'll automatically start feeling confident. Next time when you notice that you're feeling a little down, take a look at how you are standing or sitting. Chances are you'll be slightly slouched with your shoulders drooping down and inward. This collapses the chest and inhibits good
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best possible light, crossing your arms is a no, no in front of others. Not only can this be interpreted by some that you are unhappy can also be seen as someone who is not confident depending what other signals you give out. Obviously if someone says something that gets your goat, then by all means show your disapproval by crossing them! Legs. Legs are the furthest point away from the brain; consequently they're the hardest parts of our bodies to consciously control. As a result we often leak information below the belt. Legs tend to move around a lot more than normal when a person is nervous, stressed or being deceptive. So, its best to keep them as still as possible in most situations, especially at interviews or work meetings. breathing, which in turn can help make you feel nervous or uncomfortable. A person with good posture is seen as confident and able, while those with poor posture are assumed to have a low self esteem, motivation and poor confidence. As surely as the body follows the mind, so we can turn the table and use our body to lead our mind. Stand tall and youll feel better. Head position. When you want to feel confident and self assured keep your head level both horizontally and vertically. You can also use a straight head position when you want to be authoritative and have what you're saying to be taken seriously. Conversely, when you want to be friendly and in the listening, receptive mode, tilt your head just a little to one side or other. You can shift the tilt from left to right at different points in the conversation. Arms. Arms give away clues as to how open and receptive you are, so keep your arms to the side of your body or behind your back. This shows you are not scared to take on whatever comes your way and you meet things "full frontal". In general terms the more outgoing you are as a person, the more you tend to use your arms with big movements. The quieter you are the less you move your arms away from your body. So, try to strike a natural balance and keep your arm movements expressive but not too large. When you want to come across in the Orientation. The angle of a body in relation to others gives an indication of the persons attitude and feelings. We angle toward people we find attractive, friendly and interesting and angle ourselves away from those we don't. Angles includes leaning in or away from people, as we often just tilt from the pelvis and lean sideways to someone to share a bit of conversation. For example, we are not in complete control of our angle neither at the cinema because of the seating nor at a concert when we stand shoulder to shoulder and are packed in like sardines. In these situations we tend to lean over towards the other person.

Hand gestures. Palms slightly up and outward is seen as open and friendly. Palm down gestures are generally seen as dominant, emphasising and possibly aggressive, especially when there is no movement or bending between the wrist and the
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forearm. This palm up, palm down is very important when it comes to handshaking and where appropriate we suggest you always offer a handshake upright and vertical, which should convey equality. Distance from others. This is crucial if you want to give off the right signals. Stand too close and you'll be marked as "Pushy" or "In your face". Stand or sit too far away and you'll be "Keeping your distance" or "Stand offish". Neither is good, so observe if in a group situation how close are all the other people to each other. Also notice if you move closer to someone and they back away, you're probably just a tiny bit too much in their personal space, their comfort zone. "You've overstepped the mark" and should pull back a little. Ears. You've got two ears and only one mouth, so try to use them in that order. If you listen twice as much as you talk you come across as a good communicator who knows how to strike up a balanced a conversation without being me, me, me or the wallflower. Mouth We purse our lips and sometimes twist them to the side when we're thinking. Another occasion we might use this movement is to hold back an angry comment we don't wish to reveal. Nevertheless, it will probably be spotted by other people and although they may not know the comment, they will get a feeling you were not to pleased. There are also different types of smiles and

each gives off a corresponding feeling to its recipient. The closed smile is given when a smile is expected but not heart felt. A genuine smile involves the whole face including the eyes and originates in the heart. A smile given where it is created by dropping the jaw is a forced smile. Voice The tone of your voice, its pitch, volume and clarity all combine to give the listener huge clues to your mood and meaning. We are all emotional beings and the tone of what we hear makes more impact and is remembered longer than the actually words spoken. Colour Next to music colour has the power to elicit huge emotional responses. Red is exciting or aggressive, pale blue is calming, yellowish green is sickly. Choosing the right colours for the right place and purpose can give a person a large advantage. Clothes Likewise, they way you choose to dress and how you are groomed speaks dress. Clothes and grooming can be used as powerful tools in a persons image armoury. Insincere smile

Genuine smile

Forced smile
Ann Reinten AICI CIP
International Certified Image Professional, CEO and Director of Training for TAIC

Website: www.TAIC.com.au E-mail: ann@taic.com.au PH: +613 9841 7197 Fx: +613 9841.7297

Copyright 2005 TAIC

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