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How to Read Body Language

Estimated reading time: 2 mins

Understanding body language can help give you an advantage in life, as it can provide a better understanding of what a person is thinking rather than just what they are revealing through their speech. Knowing the tics and the signs that convey confidence or insecurity can help, particularly in business settings during high-pressure negotiations. 

Physical communication can also help people of different languages better connect and understand either other, which can be important when trying to secure trade deals with foreign business partners. With that in mind here are some tips to help you read and better understand body language.

Study the Eyes 

How an individual moves their eyes can give a lot away, so be sure to pay attention to this key area. Be observant and figure out if the person you are engaged with is making direct eye contact or not. This is because the inability to make eye contact can be indicative of a few different things, such as boredom, disinterest and even deceit – particularly if they look away to the side. Nervousness can also be gauged if the other person is looking around the room in a regular manner. 

In a business meeting, be sure to pick up when an individual looks down, as this can indicate submissiveness, which you can use to help you get a more favorable deal. The pupils can also be a good way to figure out someone’s relationship with you, as if they’re dilated it shows they’re fond of you and are interested in what you have to say. You can learn a lot from someone’s eye behavior, however, to gain greater understanding, especially when dealing with foreign individuals, hiring a translator such as globalcitizenstranslation.com can really help with communication. 

Pay attention to the face 

Facial expression can be very revealing, especially if the individual isn’t particularly good at masking It. When looking at the face, pay close attention to the mouth as this can unveil a lot. Of course, a simple smile is good to show positivity, but do be on the lookout to ensure that it’s genuine. A genuine smile engages the whole face – the eyes will squint and cheeks will rise up – however, a fake one will only use the mouth.

Tight, pursed lips are also indicative of displeasure and unhappiness, so if you see this be aware that the person you’re talking to may not be impressed. Covering the mouth or touching the lips can also be key clues that the induvial is unhappy, and also might be an indicator that they’re being untruthful. 

Be aware of proximity 

The distance between you and the person you’re engaged with can show a lot. Standing or sitting in close proximity tosomeone usually demonstrates that they have a good rapport with you, however, if someone backs away from you, especially when you move closer, it’s a clear sign that they may not like you, or may be intimidated by you. It could also indicate that the person thinks they’ll have to work hard to make people like them. Do bear in mind, however, that some cultures prefer more or less distance during interactions, so proximity may not be an accurate indicator when dealing with foreign customers and business partners.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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