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Decoding the signals
Have you ever felt that there is more to a person that it meets the eye? Have you ever found yourself in a conversation where you thought you could look past someone’s words?
Have you ever wondered what makes you able to assess different situations, even those in which not much has been said? You have, right? Well then, you are not the only one.
Who Should Read “Body Language in Business”? And Why?
As noted before, almost all types of communication consist of both verbal and nonverbal part (the subtext of the given interchange). Having in mind that body language is such an important piece which we encounter on a regular basis in everyday life it wouldn’t hurt to try to become more conscious and observant sender and receiver of nonverbal messages.
The vast amount of information may confuse the less committed readers, but for enthusiasts that are looking for a more in-depth analysis of the topic – “Body Language in Business” is a perfect choice. Individuals with a wish to develop and sharpen their emotional intelligence and “soft” skills may find this read useful as well.
About Adrian Furnham & Evgeniya Petrova
Adrian Furnham, also known as the most productive psychologist on the globe, is a Professor of Psychology at London’s University College, a business consultant, and a prolific award-winning author. He has written more than 60 books and 800 articles and is an active contributor to the Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times and the BBC TV and radio.
Evgeniya Petrova is a Russian researcher and psychologist based in Great Britain. Aside from being a scholar, she is also a ballet dancer, as well a winner of several Russian literature prizes.
“Body Language in Business Summary”
All people act and react the same way: through words and body actions. On the one hand, present-day society has taught us to mind our words, so the verbal part of the communication, i.e., what we say is usually carefully chosen.
On the other hand, however, we are not used to paying attention to what our bodies reveal, so we typically let the nonverbal part of the communication reflect all our real thoughts. These body cues can visual or vocal, subtle or overt, spontaneous and psychologically revealing, and in some cases, rehearsed and controlled.
Eye movement, facial expressions, gestures, posture, smell, voice, touch, are all fundamental elements of body language. Some gestures and expressions are close to universal, such as waving goodbye and nodding your head, and some vary according to the country and the individuals.
Aside from gestures, subconscious body positioning also sends signals. A closed or open body posture shows how the person feels about a particular individual or situation, but apart from personal feelings, when it comes to body closeness culture plays an essential role in setting the limits of comfort.
Usually, there are four zones of body closeness: public, social, personal and intimate. Then again, they cannot be precisely defined since different people find comfort in different proximity. Hence the zones’ margins are not universal and are painted according to both personal feelings and the cultural code a person carries.
The world got familiar with the notion of body language when Darvin covered this topic in one of his books – The Expression of the Emotion in Man and Animals, but in reality, the term was brought to life many years later, gaining wide popularity with the publication of Morris’s The Naked Ape.
Up to this day, scientists still research and write about the subject, continually coming up with new ways to go about it.
It is important to note that to be affected by nonverbal cues it does not matter where we come from and how extensive our insight on body language is. Our subconscious is wired to instinctively pick it up, and create a complete image of the situation.
We can already see how a broader and more comprehensive understanding of this topic can create opportunities for using this knowledge to our advantage in all aspects of life, including business situations.
Key Lessons from “Body Language in Business”
1. Appearance is an integral part of initial assessment
2. We are all born as natural lie detectors
3. The importance of body language in business
Appearance is an integral part of initial assessment
It may be our idealistic wish to be judged based on our characters and the things we have done, but the truth is that appearance plays an important role in creating an impression.
Scientifically, people assess people in seconds, based on slight insight into their behavior along with their physical characteristics. Moreover, the practice shows that companies mostly hire attractive people, who also enjoy faster acceptance in any working environment.
We are all born as natural lie detectors
People lie all the time. Lies are told for many reasons such as protection from embarrassment or punishments, taking credit, gaining the upper hand, getting approval, etc. Lies are packed in three different types of packages:
- The “white lie” package includes hiding the truth to protect someone’s feelings
- The “expedient lie” package covers information in order to mislead a person and create a better opinion (usually linked with salesman)
- The “false facts” package omits chunks of data and falsifies facts and is considered the most dangerous in business
Uncovering false or incomplete information is an integral part of business negotiations and making a decision. Knowledge of body language can help decode the sender’s behavior, and therefore conclude the truthfulness of the received data.
The importance of body language in business
Being able to send and decode nonverbal messages and body language cues purposefully is a valuable competency, especially when it comes to fields such as negotiations, selling and public speaking. The ability to keep a focused eye contact, an open body posture and limit nervous gestures is essential for professions that include inspiring, motivating and persuading listeners to look at things a certain way.
Body language may not be the “window to the soul”, but it undoubtedly leaves a subtle trace which plays a vital role in creating impact, trustworthiness and making an impression to the involved parties in all forms of communication.
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“Body Language in Business” QuotesBody language helps us quickly to sort out friends from foes, good from bad, and sincere from dishonest words. Click To Tweet When stakes are high and emotions intense, especially in business negotiations, body language is the source of information to be taken into account. Click To Tweet Our ability to attribute other people’s states and attitudes relies on reading body language. Click To Tweet Where, when and how we look are all part of the phenomenon of eye gaze, one of the most important and primitive ways of communication. Click To Tweet Bodily communication is communication without words: it is anything someone does to which someone else assigns meaning. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
In this book, the authors acquaint us with various aspects of body language, ways the presented cues can mislead and therefore create noise in the communication, demystify certain popular myths regarding this topic, and summarize the given information with practical strategies for mindfully using and nonverbal messages.