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Why Does Body Language Really Matter?

First impression is the last impression. We have heard this saying countless times in our life. And, we all know that actions speak more than words and impressions speak more than actions. Knowing that impressions are made from interactions, a good interaction leads to a good impression. We must all have met a guy who is extremely intellectual and stands like he broke his backbone, haven’t we? Like he doesn’t belong to that place? Who knows it could be you yourself. What do you think of them when you see them? What impression do they have on you?

Yeah, you probably think he’s too lazy or he was tricked and is doing something he didn’t sign up for!

You Are What Your Body Portrays

No matter how good of a speaker you are, or how good of a content you have, if you don’t have a good body language then the speech, presentation, workshop, whatever you are doing won’t be as effective or as impactful. Even in scenarios where you’re talking to individuals or a small group of people, body language is a matter to be considered. It’s not just about the first impressions. Just think about it, would you rather prefer to mingle with a proactive person or a lethargic person? See, there’s your answer right there. A body language is important in all sorts of conversions, formal or informal.

Body language is non -verbal communication and this etiquette differs from culture to culture. If you are going to be interacting with people from all over the world, you must remember that they may not have the same customs and behaviors that you are used to. From facial expressions to proxemics and gestures to paralinguistics, body language covers it all. Even a minor thing like an eye gaze plays a huge role in maintaining a good body language.

Body Language cues can play five roles:

  • Repetition: they can repeat the message the person is making verbally.

  • Contradiction: they can contradict a message the individual is trying to convey.

  • Substitution: they can substitute for a verbal message. For example, a person's eyes can often convey a far more vivid message than words do.

  • Complementing: they may add to or complement a verbal message. A boss who pats a person on the back in addition to giving praise can increase the impact of the message.

  • Accenting: they may accent or underline a verbal message. Pounding the table, for example, can underline a message.

(Source: The Importance of Effective Communication, Edward G. Wertheim, Ph.D.)

Types of Nonverbal Communication

  • Facial expressions

The human face is extremely expressive, able to express countless emotions without saying a word. And unlike some forms of nonverbal communication, facial expressions are universal.

  • Body movements and posture

Consider how your perceptions of people are affected by the way they sit, walk, stand up, or hold their head.This type of nonverbal communication includes your posture, bearing, stance, and subtle movements.

  • Gestures

Gestures are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. We wave, point, beckon, and use our hands when we’re arguing or speaking expressing ourselves with gestures often without thinking. However, the meaning of gestures can be very different across cultures and regions, so it’s important to be careful to avoid misinterpretation.

  • Eye contact

Since the visual sense is dominant for most people, eye contact is an important type of nonverbal communication. The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection, hostility, or attraction.

  • Space

Have you ever felt uncomfortable during a conversation because the other person was standing too close and invading your space? We all have a need for physical space, although that need differs depending on the culture, the situation, and the closeness of the relationship.

  • Voice

It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. Things they pay attention to include your timing and pace, how loud you speak, your tone and inflection, and sounds that convey understanding.Think about how someone's tone of voice, for example, can indicate sarcasm, anger, affection, or confidence.

So, these are the small things that matter in making a conversation more effective and impactful yet it is often overlooked. Consider these instances in your next conversation. You’ll figure out how effective it is!

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