Effective Body Language: How to Effectively Interpret People”s Gestures

Posted on March 17, 2012 in Specials

By Aishvarya S. Raghavan:

It is the era of communication and everyone wants to come across as a social being. Be it any social gatherings, facebook, twitter, college or simply a get-together. And indeed, most of us pride ourselves on being masters of communication. But, is that so? True, we may be able to speak, listen and communicate verbally to no end, but is verbal and written communication the end of the road? What about the communication of our bodies? Our gestures, our smallest action or the lack of it have a lot to do with the impression we have on the person. In fact, 80% of the reaction that we get, positive or negative is due to the communication of our gestures and the actions of our body while talking.

This is known as reading the body language and it is deeply rooted in the psychology of humans; in fact, it is an evolutionary tactic used to decipher the intentions of the opposite person. Cavemen used it, politicians use it, and even ad-men take advantage of it by combining it with subliminal messages. Actors are well-versed with the basics of body language. From the moment any actor gets the briefing of his/her character, they form a mental image of the character. How would he speak? What would be the reaction to any specific situation?

In day-to-day life, an average person uses body language to give signals about how he is feeling about a variety of things, whether he knows it or not! An experienced person can tell what the person is feeling about the present situation in a matter of minutes. In fact, over a period of time, the characteristics and personality of that person become clear and it becomes easier to gauge the psychology of the specific person.

Body-language also comes in handy while appearing for any job interview or the like. It is easier for the candidate to approach the interviewers if he has any knowledge and experience in body-language interpretation. It also acts as a confidence booster.

Here are some day to day examples and universal tricks which may help you interpret the body language of those around you:-

– We all have that friend who smiles a lot. It is there always —whether she is extremely late, having a bad day, at a party and even in front of her nemesis, her toothy grin is always in place. While most of the time it may be genuine, but most people also use their smile as a camouflage during any embarrassing or uncomfortable situation. Some people also use it as a cover up when hiding a well-kept secret. Usual signs are an extra-wide smile and the smile not exactly “reaching the eyes”. In fact, the eyes are a big giveaway in such cases, for they are usually inanimate or darting here and there.
– My doctor has a habit of drumming his finger. He does it whenever he is in the middle of an extremely complicated case. Sometimes, in middle of a heavy-rush day, he does it more often. He also loosens his tie more than once, tugs at his earlobe and scratches his chin. This state of eternal restlessness has no connection with his level of competence; as a matter of fact, it is a sign of releasing excess energy and refocusing it. It also serves as a comforter during tough times. They are known as displacement activities and are often a sign of genius.
– When a person’s eyes wander here and there across the room, it may mean many things. For one, the person may be a keen observer. If he is in middle of a conversation, then probably, he is not very interested in either the conversation or the person with whom he is having the talk. Another possibility is that of avoiding any confrontation, the person may be avoiding a guilt trip. All of the possibilities are not very positive, but may give an exact view of the situation.

These were just a few places where body language tricks are used. Successful body-language interpreters easily identify a person’s attitude and state of mind and approach him accordingly, which keeps them ahead in the race of life.