Have you ever been in a conversation where you kept talking, but you were unaware that the other person wasn’t paying attention? If that’s happened to you before, then maybe you should start learning to read other people’s body language and becoming more familiar with your own.
What are some of the uses and benefits of this skill?
- Dating – both men and women subsconsciously and consciously use gestures and facial expressions to signal to the opposite sex that they are interested.
- Job Interviews – HR personnel and recruiters are often trained to recognize an interviewee’s level of confidence, charisma, and honesty among other characteristics.
- Sales – Successful salespeople can often recognize if potential customers are interested and ready to purchase.
- Teaching – Good teachers know when their students are attentive, engaged, and interested.
- Acting – Have you ever watched expressive silent actors like Charlie Chapman or Rowan Atkinson?
- Lie Detecting – Have you ever been lied to? Would you like to be able to spot a lie?
- Pursuasion – Would you like to be able to pursuade or influence people without necessarily manipulating them?
- Public Speaking – Being able to speak well in public isn’t just about giving a speech.
- Politics – Politicians are often very highly trained in how to communicate effectively in public.
- Memory Retention – How well you remember information you hear and watch may depend on your position.
- Parenting – It’s really important for parents and children to understand each other.
As a teacher for both offline and online lessons, I work hard to connect with new students from around the world and quickly build rapport with them, empathize with them, and observe and listen to them. It can be more challenging to do this via Skype, but as I get to know a student and recognize what their needs are, it gets easier to work with them and know how best I can be of service.
One of my favorite books about Body Language is written by Barbara and Allen Pease. Here is a link to the book in case you’re interested. I found it quite useful for explaining everything from posture, gestures, arm positions, facial expressions, eye movement, head positions, etc. After going through the book, I began to become even more attentive to my students and friends and family members to be able to better understand subconscious messages that they were showing me. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in knowing more about body language.
A lot of my TOEFL prep students need help building their confidence and sounding more natural and self-assured, especially in the speaking section. One of my favorite TED talk videos is related to body language. I would highly recommend checking out Amy Cuddy and her messages about looking and sounding more confident and using power poses to fake it until you make it.
If you know of any great resources related to body language, please let me know in the comments below.