Body Language in Business Communication
Body language is a non-verbal form of communication that is widely used by people in everyday environment. Alone, or in conjunction with the words, body language has a big influence on how we communicate to others. In business world it can cause both positive and negative results in communication. If used properly, body language can help create a friendly atmosphere in any conversation and can significantly enhance your verbal message. It can help win the interview, make a sale, give a successful presentation and profit from business negotiations.
Therefore, today’s businesspeople more and more some time studying the different forms of the body language to achieve the maximum positive influence on people. They also do it, so they can better understand people around them as well.
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Body language is defined as everything what can be communicated without or in addition to words: facial expressions, physical movements (gestures), posture or silent actions. The study by UCLA (University of California in Los Angeles) showed, that words account for only 7% of the messages person conveys. The remaining 93% are non-verbal factors.
As Lidia Ramse, business etiquette expert says: “In the business setting, people can see what you are not saying. If your body language doesn’t match your words, you are wasting your time. ” (The Sideroad: Body Language in Business by Lidia Ramse) In fact, psychologists divide body language in two categories: intentional and unintentional (subconscious). We cannot always verbally express what we feel, so our body language does it for us. At the same time, we can use our body language intentionally to express something without saying a word.
It is good to understand that our body language can be also interpreted subconsciously as well. As people do not always pay close attention to what we do, certain actions can trigger a formulation of certain opinion about person. Mary-Lo use Angoujard, CEO and Founder of Rapporta Limited, gives a good example of the person, whose arms folded across the body, head down, stiff torso, hunched shoulders and crossed legs. She calls it “closed” body language that causes people think that this person is shy by nature, cold or ill or simply disagreeing strongly with something. (Raporta- Bringing
Positive Energy to Business Communication) In addition to all above mentioned, nonverbal signals can suggest the attitude, understanding, empathy and ethics. That is why it is important to analyze and study your own body language and evaluate others’. Then you can learn how to use it in your own advantage and how to better understand your copartners to make your business communication process the most successful it can be. These are some tips on the most practical and common body language signals. Handshake Handshake is a form of gesture that is most commonly associated with greeting.
Other common uses of it are starting the meeting, making an offer (deal) or completing an agreement. The main purpose of the handshake is to convey trust, balance and equality. In general handshake should be firm, full and supported by an eye contact. It can help convey your confidence and get a good start for further communication. Handshake can reveal your associate’s personality. The stronger the handshake the more aggressive or important the associate can be. Posture Standing tall and holding the head straight is not only a sign of a good posture.
It can also show confidence, make the message come across easier and make it a subject of importance. Use of Personal Space Use of personal space is another important factor, but it is also culture oriented. Understanding of this term differs from one country to another. “For Western Europeans and Americans, a space of 14 to 16 inches is considered non-intrusive. But those from the U. K. might consider a distance of 24 inches to be more comfortable”, concludes Tatiana D. Helenius in her article about international business dealings (CNN. Money).
As protocol and etiquette consultant Margaret DelVecchio said: “Awareness of the level of personal space required is crucial…. If not gauged properly, inappropriate proximity or distance can lead to misunderstandings and be interpreted as insult (CNN. Money). ” It is also important to pay attention as to what stance your college has: is he sitting or standing? You should not take more space than other person does suggesting your bigger significance. In conclusion, it is important to mention that human body can produce over 700,000 unique movements. These movements have been divided into about 60 symbolic signals and around 60 gestures. Brenner Books: Body Language in Business). After careful examining of your own attitude you can choose and work on the most successful for the particular message body signals and correct unnecessary ones that caused you failure in the past. Nonverbal communication when coupled by good verbal skills together with knowledge of the material and ethical behavior will have huge impact on others and bring successful results to any business. Works Cited Angoujard, Mary-Louise. “Is Your Body Talking Good Business? Body Language in Business – Sort it out and Communicate with Greater Impact. Rapporta – Bringing Positive Energy to Business Communication. Copyright 2006 Rapporta Ltd. Retrieved on 24 July, 2007 from: < http://rapporta. com/press07. htm> “Body Language Rules Biz Travel”. CNN. com/World. 8 July, 2003. Retrieved on 23 July, 2007 from: < http://edition. cnn. com/2003/WORLD/europe/07/08/biz. trav. body. language/index. html> Brenner, C. Robert. “Body Language in Business: How to Sell using Your Body! ” BrennerBooks. com. Copyright 2001-2004, Brenner Information Group. 9 December 2004. Retrieved on 22 July, 2007 from: < http://www. brennerbooks. com/bodylang. tml> Helenius, D. Tatiana. “Body Language Savvy. ” CNN Money. 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP. A Time Warner Company. 3 May, 2000. Retrieved on 22 July, 2007 from: < http://money. cnn. com/2000/05/03/career/q_body_language/> Morgan, Nick. “The Truth behind the Smile and Other Myths – When Body Language Lies. ” HBS Working Knowledge. Vol. 5, No. 8, August 2002. Retrieved on 23 July, 2007 from: < http://hbswk. hbs. edu/archive/3123. html> Ramsey, Lidia. “Body Language in Business. ” Sideboard. com. Blue Boulder Internet Publishing 2007. Retrieved on 23 July, 2007 from: