Body language is 55% of the message we send, but what percentage of your time do you spend making sure you get it right? Interesting isn’t it! When was the last time you took note of your body language? For most of us it is years, or even never.
Have you ever been misunderstood? Had people look at you with that look of “I have absolutely no idea of what you are saying” We have all been there. But what do we normally do in this situation? Generally we just keep ploughing on with our message and pay little attention to the look. Why? Because we don’t have the self-awareness of the situation, and we don’t know what to do, as we have not practiced it.
So let’s do some practice. Below is a pic of figures interacting, with thought bubbles. Your job is to make up the conversation base on their body language. See how you go. There will be a 2 hour exam after wards – only kidding.
Now get someone else to do the exercise and see what they come up with. Discuss the difference in opinions and why you might have seen things differently.
While you’re together, discuss each others body language in a non-judgemental way and see what you can learn from each other. You might be surprised what you discover.
After that discussion, here is another exercise for you to do. Draw the pic below in your note book, and next to each body part write how it could both positively and negatively portray communication. Now ask yourself if you could be doing these things.
Just like in tonality, our emotional state reflects very powerful body language, and we may not be aware of it. Think what your body language is when your are feeling:
These are the 7 macro expressions we portray. They often occur and last for just 1/15th to 1/25th of a second, but that is certainly long enough to send a message to someone.
There are over 1500 micro facial expressions and variations of the 7 macro ones. And your subconscious mind knows and recognises every one of them. Which means the subconscious mind of others, does as well.
You might be sitting at your desk at work and something happens. You exhibit an emotion, your body language matches your emotion, and the whole world can see something is wrong. Now that might be ok, except for the message it sends. e.g. you get a phone call with a message you did not want to hear. You get angry and your tone and body language confirms your emotional state. After you hang up you might get more heightened in your state of anger, disappointment or frustration as you start to think about the ramifications of the message. Your body language gets stronger, and your message to others gets more powerful. What could the impact be on those who can see you? Could their response be:
And you have no idea about the message you have sent the world. Can you recall a time where something has gone wrong between you and someone else, and you have no idea what , why or how it happened? It could simply be you sent the wrong message and weren’t aware of it.
In your note book, copy the illustration below and gain some awareness of how your body language could reflect your emotions.