Do you often notice your boss drumming their fingers or pursing their lips during your presentation, your employee not making eye contact with you or your best friend to whom you lent your car gazing downwards when asked why they haven’t returned it yet? If you haven’t – you certainly should!
Human beings talk even when aren’t talking. These unconscious and conscious postures and movements by which feeling and attitudes are communicated is known as body language. Body language is more expressive and powerful than a thousand words and it speaks volumes. However, most of the time, we are unable to remain conscious of the signals we send through our bodies to communicate.
This non-verbal language plays an essential part in the workplace where individuals need optimized interpretation skills to understand things that aren’t being spoken. Here is a mini-guide to some simple ways to decode body language and its importance to help you see things you never did before!
In business settings, people are expected to offer a firm handshake. However, it shouldn’t be domineering. While a confident person usually offers a solid handshake along with good eye contact, a dominant individual keeps their hand on top of the clasp which often indicates feelings of superiority.
The Lip Purse
When someone purses their lips, they mash or push their lips together in a firm line. Typically, this is an indication that the person has something to say, however, they are holding it back. Sometimes they feel interrupted, other times they are afraid of speaking their true thoughts out loud. It is essential to create a safe space at work that enables each individual to share their thoughts with ease.
This might come as a surprise to you that smiling is considered to be a sign of submission in the workplace. This is a common belief among leaders that submissive individuals tend to smile more, showing they are non-threatening to the leader’s power.
Subtly copying or mimicking the body language of a person is known as mimicry. Anytime an individual wants things to go more smoothly, they can make use of this technique to build rapport. If you notice someone mirroring you unconsciously, it might be a good indicator of how that person feels about you.
People who lie, especially those who aren’t good liars tend to make some obvious gestures such as touching their nose, rubbing their eyes, grabbing their ears and scratching their neck – unconsciously disclosing that they are nervous about something. The best strategy in such situations is to keep questioning the person until you get to learn more.
Importance of Decoding Body Language
The closest you can get to reading minds is decoding body language. People usually overlook the importance of learning this non-verbal communication as they are completely unaware of its effectiveness and power
While communicating, we tend to only focus on words. However, words are the most unreliable cues in communication, especially in the workplace, as words can be easily manipulated. Once you master body language, you’ll understand the true intentions of a person, even when they state otherwise!
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