Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
We are often told to be well prepared for what we’re about to say; whether it’s for interviews, meetings, presentations and so on. However, most of us forget that we not only converse vocally, but also “speak” with our body language. We all know first impressions are very important to any relationship. Body language is the first thing we notice before starting a conversation. Studies have shown that non-verbal communication has more influence than verbal communication. Therefore, the body is definitely another essential language that we need to learn.
1. Personal Space: An Invisible Bubble Around You
Have you ever felt uncomfortable when the person standing beside you is too close? That’s because your ‘personal space’ is being invaded. The distance of your personal space can affect the relationship between you and the person you’re having a conversation with. For example: 1 ½ to 3 feet for good friends and family, more than 3 feet for casual school mates or colleagues, more than 4 feet for strangers and more than 12 feet for speaking to a large group of people.
2. Lean Forward To Show Interest
Always remember to lean forward as it lets others know that you’re showing interest in either the conversation or the person you’re having the conversation with. However, remember to keep your distance. This is to avoid you from invading other people’s ‘bubble’.
3. Point Your Foot To The Right Direction
Have you ever noticed that sometimes in conversations, people will automatically point their foot outwards? That’s a subconscious action when people are feeling bored or annoyed with the conversation and wanting to leave. Keeping your feet pointing inwards shows your interest in having the conversation with the other party.
Photo by Chong Yuki on Instagram
4. Don’t Cross Your Arms While Having A Conversation
Crossing your arms will make you look defensive as it gives off the ‘keeping your guard up’ vibe. People wouldn’t like to talking to someone who is keeping their guard up, so always keep your arms uncrossed to make people feel welcome.
5. Use Suitable Hand Gestures
People tend to play around with their hands when they’re feeling uncomfortable or nervous. However, their hands are still when feeling confident. One of the common hand gestures that people automatically make when they’re feeling stressed is folding their hands. This is what you should avoid doing. Instead, try the pyramid hand gesture. It’s infamous for showing confidence and relaxation.
Photo by Chong Yuki on Instagram
6. Eye Contact Is Really Important
Always make sure you keep eye contact to show respect. Don’t forget to nod while people are talking as a signal that you’re listening. When you’re talking to more than one person, remember to take turns and make eye contact with each of them so that you’re more engaging. This can also help you pay close attention to see if they’re listening to you by doing the same. However, making eye contact doesn’t mean giving them a death stare. Just relax and casually look at them from time to time.
7. Smile And Laugh To Lighten Up The Conversation
People love talking to a positive and cheerful person. When around others, make sure you smile sincerely as it makes others feel comfortable conversing with you. Fun fact: when people are faking a smile, the corners of their mouth will point to their ears. On the other hand, a genuine smile will point towards your eyes.
Knowing how to say something is way more important than knowing what to say. Understanding body language can make you seem more professional when communicating. Simultaneously, it helps you understand the message people are transmitting through their own body language. Believe it or not, body language can actually make or break relationships. Learning to master body language while you’re in college will train you to pinpoint the do’s and don’ts in a social setting. It’s a learning process, but it would definitely be beneficial for you to be well established in the future! So, why not make it your superpower?
By: Chong Yuki