Communicating as a Leader

Reading Body Language For Your Success

Ronald Yip asked:

In any face to face communication, the conveyor talks or writes while the recipient listens to or read the message. However, what they didn’t know is that actual verbal communication accounts to only around 10% (or even less) of the overall means of conveying a message.

However, there is another form of communication based on gestures or body movements which determine their true inner feelings and thoughts.This art of non-verbal communication is better known as body language.

Reading Body Language

Although spoken communication is a direct way to convey a message, it can be masked. By reading body language of the conveyor, you will understand the message in a truer sense or form. However, this depends on the interpretation of the recipient of the message.

With this in mind, it is important to familiarize yourself with this art of non-verbal communication. This art is the ability and skill of reading body language and to interpret the message correctly. Wrong interpretation may have drastic, dramatic implications.

Given the chance to come face to face to communicate with each other, you may be able to realize and verify the truthfulness of the message being conveyed.

Let’s pick a simple scenario to illustrate non-verbal communication. Let us say a former officemate of yours called you to propose a business partnership. This officemate is just one of your casual acquaintances. He’s not exactly a confidant whom you would treat as a close buddy. He asked that the two of you meet somewhere and you obliged.

So you wind up meeting him in a coffee shop. After the usual handshake (this is one type of body language), both of you took a seat and ordered coffee. After a few exchanges of pleasantries and recalling past incidences while you were still officemates, you touched on the subject of his business proposal. While in the process of presenting the proposed business, you occasionally interrupted him with questions that he readily answered. Subconsciously, while you continued to listen to his proposal, you kept touching your nose with your index finger, rubbing it once in a while as if covering the nose with your hand.

After the proposal has been made, he asked for your comment if his proposal merits your acceptance. He’s not asking for an immediate answer or decision if you’re interested or not, giving you enough time to study it. However, your first impression of the proposal was somewhat inclined on rejecting it. Your main reason was that you are not familiar with the line of business he’s proposing, and to go into unfamiliar business simply does not interest you.

But in spite of your negative perception of the proposal, you didn’t want to disappoint your former officemate, at least not at that moment. Before you gave the final word that you would seriously study the proposal, you made some initial comments about it to the tune that it may seem to merit your approval although it really didn’t. While you were making your comment, subconsciously and again, you touched your nose with one hand while talking.

It’s observed that during the entirety of your discussion, you frequently made one move, touching your nose. Are you aware that touching your nose is a gesture that means you’re not saying what you really felt or meant? Studies suggest that saying something while touching the nose is not reflective of what’s being said. In this case, rubbing the nose is tantamount to disapproval of the proposal presented to you.

Although there is no definite basis that this gesture is a sign of disapproval or disagreement or rejection, it has a high rate of probability. Only you know your real intention.

You may see this same gesture from other people if you were in the shoes of your officemate. But keep in mind that there may be other reasons. An itchy nose, a sinus that keeps bothering the listener, mannerism, halitosis on either the part of the conversationalist or the listener or both – anyone of these could be the real reason.

Keep in mind that interpretation of body language has a high probability rate but it may not necessarily be definite.

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