Words are powerful. But so is the non-verbal communication. Words lose their importance if the non-verbal aspects do not support and contradict instead. Unfortunately, too many of us are not aware of the importance of our body language and how it makes or breaks us and things important to us – relationships with ourselves, with others, and our careers. While some may want to downplay the significant role positive body language play in our lives, it is essential for us to recognise its importance and to how to use it in our favour.
In any walk of life, personal or professional, a basic requirement is to communicate with other people. If we mess up the most basic requirement then it only negatively affects us. But more than that, knowing about others also give us insights about ourselves. By studying certain situations and reflecting on people’s behaviour and attitudes, often times we do a self-reflection and try to be better people for ourselves and for others.
The importance of body language can be summed up in one sentence: what a person communicates through their body language, it affects other people’s perception of them. It could be about trust, affection, respect etc. But often times, people end up sending negative non-verbal signals without even being aware of it and that has a stronger impact on others’ perception than it is emphasised. For example, in a business negotiation meeting, a closed off negative body language (crossed arms, avoidance of eye contact, poor posture, excessive use of hands) is not going to assure the other person of their business deal due to lack of confidence displayed through non-verbal communication.
When it comes to reading body language, there are two aspects that need to be considered.
- Decoding refers to one’s ability to read other people’s cues and about how one interprets concealed emotions through other person’s body language. This sounds relatively simple but a lot of times, people cannot properly receive these cues which would make them act accordingly.
- Encoding refers to one’s ability to send cues to other people. Because body language is mostly instinctive, cues sent to other people are naturally done. But people’s non-verbal communication can be controlled and played in a way which would conceal their true emotions and only project what they want other people to witness.
The relationship between good reader of body language and an emotionally intelligent person is complex and inexplicably linked. Emotional intelligence is defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically”. This implies that for good relationships, both in a personal and professional setting, emotional awareness is important for growth. Fortunately, while some people are emotionally intelligent naturally, others can learn through different means. The Body Language Training course is one such example of learning and training yourself how to do better when it comes to interpersonal relationships.