In the scope of human evolution, language is a relatively recent invention. But we’ve been interacting well before this through nonverbal modes of communication. As a result, nonverbal communication is hardwired into our brains, much deeper than the more recent language-processing abilities. This is why nonverbal communication has a far greater impact.
Importance of Body Language in Communication
The way you carry yourself is a source of personal power — the kind of power that is the key to presence. It’s the key that allows you to unlock yourself—your abilities, your creativity, your courage, and even your generosity. It doesn’t give you skills or talents you don’t have; it helps you to share the ones you do have. It doesn’t make you smarter or better informed; it makes you more resilient and open. It doesn’t change who you are; it allows you to be who you are. — Amy Cuddy
4 Body Language Mistakes and How to Fix Them
1. Mind Is Not Attuned to The Body
Our body language expresses our mental state whether we like it or not. Our facial expressions, voice posture, and all the other components of body language reflect our mental and emotional condition every second. Because we don’t control this flow consciously, whatever is in our head will show up in our body language — Olivia Fox Cabane
How to Align Our Mind and Body:
- When you need to project confidence, seek inspiration.
- When you feel angst due to a disagreement, ask yourself ‘What can I learn from the other person?’ and ‘How are my biases causing me to be closed-minded?’
- When all you can see is negativity, choose to ask ‘What’s the one positive thing I can think about this situation.’
- When self-doubt consumes you, tell yourself ‘I need to let go of my fears to create a better version of myself.’
- When you exaggerate a negative outcome, ask yourself ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ and ‘Is it really that bad or am I making up stories?’
2. We Do Not Make a Commitment to Be Present
You must commit to a conversation, even the brief ones, or walk away. If you’re too distracted, admit that to both yourself and the other person. Be present or be gone. — Celeste Headlee
3. We Ignore Context
4. We Tell a Conflicting Story
Just after we observe what others do and just before we feel some emotion about it, we tell ourselves a story. We add meaning to the action we observed. We make a guess at the motive driving the behavior. Why were they doing that? We also add judgment — is that good or bad? And then, based on these thoughts or stories, our body responds with an emotion. — Kerry Patterson
- Tuning to a positive state of mind: Be self-aware of your negative mental states and choose to get into a positive one.
- Committing to being present: Practice active listening and engage fully in the conversation instead of being simply present.
- Taking context into account: Connect with the other person by taking their values, mental state, and sense of self into account.
- Telling the right story: Bring your body in sync with the message you wish to convey.