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Role of Body Language

Do you know the roleplay of body language (55%) as it communicates more than our words, utterances (7%), and tone (38%)? So, this is interesting to know that the study was led by Professor Mehrabian having divided the roleplays of body movement as 55%, words 7%, and voice tone with modulation of 38%. We sometimes think about communication as being our words, but a lot of communication comes through our body language. There’s an expression of positive and negative body language reflected through the following.

  • Body Gestures and Postures
  • Facial Expressions and Impressions
  • Eye Movements and Contacts

Role of Body Language in Professional Communication Skills

Your ability to communicate professionally can make or break your career. So, here are a few abilities to learn that will set you apart from your friends. I’ve got something super awesome for you. You’ll only increase your chances of success at work if you improve your communication abilities. So, let’s have a look at some of the best communication abilities so you can wow your boss at work.

Let’s look at some examples of what positive body language is like.

Body Language Role in Communication
Body Language Role in Communication

Examples of Body Language

Imagine, just what I’m doing right now is I’m focusing my attention on you. My eyes are directly looking at you and that’s important. It shows the intensiveness. Some other interesting ones too are a little bit of a head tilt that shows the interest of what the individual is saying. One thing too is when you rub your hands together in glee or excitement, that means I’m listening to what you’re saying. That becomes important how we use our body and most of the time are unconscious. So, I want you to be aware now of how your body is presenting itself.

Negative types of Body Language

Now, let’s talk about those negative types of body language. There are times I’m talking to someone and I don’t know what to do, where to put my arms. So, my head is tilted. My arms are just crossed because I don’t have pockets and it’s just a little bit of a natural reaction. I’m still attentive putting up a little bit of a guard in the sense of giving me my space, but I’m still attentive. But you have to be careful with this one because if your arms are crossed and then you’re sideways.  

Have you ever heard the jimmy leg going where it’s like, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap?  Or worse yet you’re on a table and you can see them tapping like this and it’s an in-patient tap. So those are things to consider is watch your body language. What is it doing without you realizing that it’s doing it? Like, I’m a hand talker and I’m trying hard not to talk with my hands because I want you to focus on what I’m saying. So, you need to analyze it.

Practice your Body Language

If you can, why don’t you be with friends on videotape, so you can see what kind of body language you unconsciously use to see if you can improve it? Especially, if it’s not on the positive side. Manage your nerves. It is really important when you are communicating with people. Particularly if it’s important, maybe a little bit stressful. Because your nerves are a little bit on edge. Maybe, you’re presenting to some really important people or you’re doing a media shot. All of that is all about the nerves. So, learning how to calm the nerves down is going to be important for you to improve your communication skill.

Techniques of Body Language

What are some techniques you can do to help calm those nerves? Well, just what I did. Take some deep breaths, take some belly deep breaths. Ensure to breathe in through the nose, out with the mouth. That’s very purposeful. Not short breaths, but you want to be able to get full body breaths. It’s just going to calm the pace of your nervous heart down.

Something else you may want to consider too is visualization. It is so powerful to visualize how you’re going to be communicating. So, if you are going to be presenting and your nerves are up, visualize how that’s going to unfold all in a positive way think about it over and over. There have been studies that have shown athletes visualizing them scoring a goal and them having a higher probability rate of scoring that goal because of the mental visualization. It’s not just about physically doing it. It’s about getting our mind prepared as well, which leads me to the last point on mindfulness. 

Consider Meditating

And you’re having that big important meeting where you are nervous and you need to communicate to ground yourself through meditation. Clearing the mind. And if you can’t do it first thing in the morning, try to do it right before you’re about to present.  

Go away in a corner somewhere, shut a door. Just really try to dump as much as you can and have a clear mind so that you can focus, take some deep breaths, visualize the success you’re going to have. And that does have a positive impact. 

Focus on the can versus the can’t. But, why is this so important when it comes to business communication? Well, how we speak to others in regards to information plays an important factor in how they interpreted us and their impression of us. So, if we’re communicating on a business level to other people and all of our ideas are about how we can’t do something, even though we are positive, that harms how they view us.

Problem Solving

Are we problem solvers? Or trying to find solutions? Or are we just the individuals who tell us why we can’t do it and don’t come up with any type of alternative to make it happen? 

So, it’s really easy again to fall back on nerves, think about why it won’t be successful. And now I want you to switch it around, nothing wrong about thinking about why it won’t be successful but think about how you can do it. 

Maybe it has to be a whole new approach, but the way you communicate your ideas in business becomes important and focuses on the can versus the can’t. Critical when it comes to business communication. 

Active listening

It is an important skill for professional communication. It is not just about the words that we say or even our body language, but it’s truly being able to listen to what the other person is saying.  

That becomes important. Do not formulate your thoughts for the next point or for you to come up with a better idea because you’re not really in that moment, that present moment of listening to what they’re saying. So, this is a skill set. It is something you have to practice. Particularly in a society where we all want to make our point because we all have something amazing to say, right? Sound familiar?

A really good technique that I use all the time in my workshops is I reiterate what the person said to me in the last sentence. OR I’ll say, “Just so I’m understanding correctly, what you’re trying to tell me and what I interpreted as is A B, C, D. Is that correct?” 

It’s just a validation. And what’s cool when you do that, is it’s acknowledging what the other person is saying. There’s respect for that. And that becomes extremely important with communication because it is not a one-way street. It’s a two-way street. 

By Waqas Sharif

Mr. Waqas Sharif is an English Language Teaching (ELT) Professional, Trainer, and Course Instructor at a Public Sector Institute. He has more than ten years of Eng Language Teaching experience at the Graduate and Postgraduate level. His main interest is found in facilitating his students globally He wishes them to develop academic skills like Reading, Writing, and Communication mastery along with Basics of Functional Grammar, English Language, and Linguistics.

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