Psychologists estimate that between 60 percent and 80 percent of all of our communication with other people is non-verbal. That’s a huge percentage. For us in the public relations business especially, it is vital that we acquire at least some basic skills in understanding people’s body language. Of course we can immediately recognize when a person is happy or angry, even if the person has not said a word. A big, pleasant smile denotes happiness, whereas a frown or glaring eyes clearly convey anger.
But body language is much more than this and understanding it comes only with a lot of practice. What I am going to do is to talk about this very interesting subject in the next post, so that all of us dealing as we do with a wide variety of people, are better able to recognize, interpret and react to the unsaid messages that are coming our way.
At the same time it is equally, if not more important to control your own body language, because your body too is giving out unsaid messages to the other person you are interacting with. One survey for example has shown that people remember only 3 percent of what you say, 7 percent of how you say it, but 90 percent of how you look when you say it! That is how important body language is!
So, to start off with, here are the top 3 “Do’s” of body language that you can practice next time you are in a meeting with someone:
1. Smile! There is nothing like a genuine and broad smile at the very start, to give a clear positive signal to the other person.
2. Sit up straight. Slouching in a meeting, sliding down in your chair, resting your head against the wall are all negative body language signals that makes the other person think you are not really interested in what’s going on.
3. Maintain eye contact. This is also very important. Avoiding eye contact with the person you are talking with indicates you have either something to hide, or again, you are not really interested in what’s going on.