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Nov 01 2013
ICEL Meeting Recap: What Your Body Language is Telling Others
DeAnna Leahy, CCE, Sunroc Corp

Would you like to be more influential without even saying a single word?


Ann Washburn, body language expert, trainer, and mentor taught us that by mastering body language secrets we can increase our results in a big way. We are sending messages all the time and, if we are aware of the message we are sending, our impact and influence will increase.


Communication is the key in every important relationship that we have and reading body language is a skill to find both answers and solutions. Ann taught that to begin reading body language, we need to remove judgment and see movements as indicators. Once we see movement, the next step is to ask good questions.


While you are speaking, the brain prepares and organizes 650 words per minute. At the last moment, our consciousness filters this down to 150 words, so as the person speaks there is an average of 500 words that are held back. These hidden words show up in body language.


Eye movements are important in understanding body language. As you engage in conversation with another person, taking note of eye movements is a natural and important part of communication. For instance, if a person looks up and to the right, that indicates creativity, images, and the future. If a person looks up and to the left, that indicates analysis, logic, history, facts and numbers. If a person looks up, they are looking outside themselves and are open for direction. When a person looks down, they are looking within themselves, internal, or emotional. When a person looks side to side, they are following directions or listening to others' opinions.


It is important to learn to understand your own body language. You make a first impression upon someone quickly within 7 to 30 seconds of meeting them. It is easier to make a good first impression than to correct a negative impression. A first impression is dependent upon your nonverbal signals. To make a favorable first impression, you must use your body language to your advantage. Here are some tips that Ann shared with us: focus on the person and maintain appropriate eye contact; keep your head up and looking ahead; keep your shoulders up and back; keep your hands at your side - not closed or together; keep your weight on both legs and your feet pointed in the same direction.


More of our message is delivered through body language than through verbal communication. Yet many of us don't realize the importance of it. It is critical to each person's success in communicating to understand body language to get the appropriate message across as intended.