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Body Language – What is my body saying?

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What is Body Language?

Body Language is a universal language, more than 50% of what others “receive” from our communication is through the visual, non-verbal message that we send out. Remember the old “silent” movies? There was no audio or sound, yet people can still understand and enjoy the story.

The 3 Aspects of Personal Image

First Impressions are lasting impressions, and one almost never gets a second chance to create a good first impression. The fact remains that people will judge us like a book (within 10 to 30 of seeing us) – based on the way we:

  1. Look (how well-groomed or well-dressed we are),
  2. Walk (our deportment, poise and body language we project to others) and how we
  3. Talk (voice, tone, pitch and our ‘lingo’).

Being well-groomed and well-dressed alone does not complete a positive personal image. We need to know how to carry and conduct ourselves with confidence and poise by the way we stand, sit and walk – and not forgetting, minding the body language that we project to others.

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Basic Body Language

If we could just learn and apply basic body language, this could help us understand someone better, or manage a situation well enough to get the response that we want. For example, being able to read basic body language could help us at business meetings or in a negotiation process, winning a job interview or even in building a personal relationship.

Body Language – Language of Gestures

We need to use ‘polite’ gesture instead of ‘rude’ gestures.  For example, one of the most common gestures are pointing or calling for someone (or a waiter) for attention.  The best way to point at something, towards someone or a direction – is by using our thumb (face down) or with an open palm instead of using your forefinger.  Gesturing with your palms facing down will tell others that you may be dominant or aggressive.

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Body Language – Language of Smile

Smile is a simple, short word – yet it is a magical thing.  It is true that a smile is something, that when you give millions of it away, you will never be poor of it, because you will receive many more in return.

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However, be mindful that a smile must be spontaneous and sincere – a true smile should only last no more than 3-5 seconds – any longer, it will look forced or insincere and “plastic-ky”.

Body Language – Language of Eye Contact

Lastly, try to make eye contact with everyone you meet or talk to.  However, not everyone can feel comfortable when maintaining long eye contact and remember, making eye contact is not the same as staring at a person.

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By Kit Sani Barrett, principal consultant & trainer at ImageXchange.  She contributes various articles relating to beauty, style, business, home & lifestyle.