Your guide to authentic communication and relationships through body language

Faith Wood: How body language shapes interpersonal relationships

Have you ever wondered if someone’s genuine interest in a conversation with you is reflected in their body language? Could your own unintentional body language be sabotaging your efforts to build rapport?

From the moment we encounter others, well before any words are exchanged, our body language is at play. Therefore, comprehending your own body language and the ability to interpret the body language of others becomes crucial in fostering robust interpersonal relations.

A skilled communicator is one who not only exhibits authentic interest in others but is also captivating in their own right. For instance, entering a networking situation with the sole aim of serving your self-interest while showing no personal interest in the other party may inadvertently convey manipulation, untrustworthiness, or annoyance.

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Genuine friendliness, warmth, and appreciation naturally radiate through your body language when you abandon excessive posturing, allowing your body to authentically convey your warmth and interest in others.

Over years of studying human behavior and deceit, American psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman and his peers have identified various subtle, involuntary expressions referred to as micro expressions, which can aid in lie detection. It’s important to note that while these expressions may signal deceit, they can also stem from nervousness, requiring cautious interpretation.

Some facial gestures to be mindful of include:

Rubbing the eye: This may signify a desire for you to disregard the deception they are presenting, although it could also result from an itchy eye.

Rolling the eyes: An act of dismissal or superiority.

Looking over the top of the glasses: An expression of criticism.

Rubbing or touching the nose: Indicates discomfort with the subject.

Hand or fingers in front or to one side of the mouth: Suggests the withholding of something – whether a thought, an opinion, or even a lie.

Stroking the chin: A sign of decision-making.

Thumb under the chin with the index finger pointing up the side of the face: Reflects critical judgment and/or a negative opinion.

By attentively observing these signals in the body language of others, you can adapt your approach, offer additional information, or discern when it’s appropriate to conclude your conversation. This empowers you to redirect your efforts toward nurturing relationships and building trust, steering clear of any impression of being pushy or overbearing.

Faith Wood is a professional speaker, author, and certified professional behaviour analyst. Prior to her speaking and writing career, she served in law enforcement, which gives her a unique perspective on human behaviour and motivations. Faith is also known for her work as a novelist, with a focus on thrillers and suspense. Her background in law enforcement and understanding of human behaviour often play a significant role in her writing.

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