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Why is Body Language Important in Communication?

How often do you think about your body language on the day-to-day?

Most of the time, our body language is unconscious. We move naturally in certain ways without even noticing. 

This means we're sending signals all the time, even if we're unaware of them.

By being able to understand our own and other people's body language signals, we can improve our communication on a wide scale.

In this post, we'll cover exactly what body language is, why it's important and how you can use your body language to your advantage in the workplace.

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What is Body Language? 

Body language is nonverbal communication that includes our posture, hand gestures and movements.

According to experts, nonverbal communication like body language makes up around 70-93% of all communication.

This means, although we use our verbal communication (words) to share and speak our opinions, our body language will often communicate even more to our audience than we realise.

Body language is vital when we're public speaking or presenting to a small or wide audience, here's why.

Why is Body Language Important?

Simply put. No matter how engaging or interesting a speech is, if the speaker’s giving off negative body language signals, the audience is less likely to listen to what they’re saying.

This might sound harsh, but it's this is just how our human brains think.

Now not only is this speaker losing the interest of their audience, but they’re also steering away the audience’s attention from the topic – no matter how important it is. No one wants this to happen.

3 reasons why body language is important:

1. Understand the Feelings of Others

Being able to read body language means you can understand how another person is truly feeling using unspoken words and reactions.

Some body language types can be difficult to spot as they can happen fast, so you need to give your full attention to keep up and stay on the ball.

Read about common types of body language so you can read anyone’s body language.

2. Show You’re Truly Engaged

Want to show someone you’re truly engaged in their conversation without actually saying it?

Use your body language.

If you’re speaking one-on-one with someone, open up your body language using good posture, a healthy amount of eye contact, open hand gestures if having a discussion and a smile.

This means no crossed arms, hands on hips, harsh hand gestures or zero eye contact! Using disengaged body language might appear that you're uninterested in what they have to say - even if you're not.

Thinking about your body language when you’re listening will help you bond and develop relationships with anyone you speak to. 

3. Demonstrate Your Confidence

Not everyone feels confident, especially if you become uncomfortable under pressure or in front of groups of people.

But even the most visually confident people in the world have days where they don’t feel confident but still look it.

So how do they do it?

Using body language.

If you look confident using nonverbal communication, your audience is more likely to believe in your words and follow your lead. 

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Importance of Using Body Language in the Workplace

Just because you’re not singing on stage or a football manager answering questions, doesn’t mean the same body language principles don’t apply to you in the workplace.

If you want to show you're a team player and that you truly care about the organisation and your colleagues, body language is your answer.

Body language in the workplace can help you show your enthusiasm for projects, your team and their successes or even your friendliness with new team members. 

Using body language will help you find it easier to have conversations with colleagues and team members and achieve what you set out to in the workplace.

This means, by not using nonverbal cues in the workplace, you might be misunderstood and leave others confused about your true thoughts on their conversation or even them as a person.

If you stare at someone and subconsciously grind your teeth, others are going to notice and become defensive. We advise you not to do this!

Further reading:

How to Improve Your Body Language for the Workplace

1. Move slowly

If you've ever watched a presentation where the speaker rushes their words, uses quick hand gestures and can't stand in one place, you'll know about this.

Moving quickly with a sense of urgency shows you're uncomfortable in the situation and can also make your audience feel the same.

Although you might be feeling uncomfortable, you may not want your audience to know.

By slowing down your movements, you'll become more relaxed and confident in your words - and your audience will too!

2. Ask for Feedback From Your Peers

Try to be aware of the impact your body language is having during different interactions throughout the day. It might even be worth asking for feedback from those you’ve spoken to really understand how your body language comes across to others. 

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3. Attend a Confidence and Assertiveness Course

If you want to make a positive impact at work or with your colleagues, start by understanding how you are perceived in certain situations. This will help you get the results you're looking for no matter the context.  

Our Confident Communication and Assertiveness course is led by Communications Coach and expect, Anne Walsh, who can help you enhance your communication through body language tips and truly understanding your communication style.

Read the full agenda here to learn more.

Mastering positive body language isn’t something that can be done overnight - it takes time to naturally be open, confident and engaged.

But work at it and you’ll find yourself doing a little bit better at poker the next time you play.

Improve Your Daily Interactions at Work with our Free Communication Skills Handbook

Body language is just a small part of becoming a fantastic communicator. If you’re trying to improve your communication skills or you’d like to be a more engaging public speaker, then download our helpful guide today.

It’s packed with tips and ideas that you can use to improve how 

Click the 'Download the Guide' button below to get started.

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