Body Language

March 20, 2006

What messages are you sending without even saying a word? Judy Woodward Bates offers some good thoughts about this question. Here are a few highlights:

Did you know that body language accounts for over 90 percent of conversation?

For example, fidgeting indicates impatience or nervousness. The fidgeter is either self-conscious, uncomfortable in the other person’s presence or just eager to get away from the other person.

The more a person uses his hands when talking, and the bigger the movements – these things indicate a more outgoing personality. A quiet person usually doesn’t move his arms away from his body very often or very far.

And what about crossed arms? On any given Sunday, you can look across a church’s congregation and spot a sea of them! Crossed arms are the ultimate body language defense or rejection mechanism. They say, “Try all you want – you’re not getting any closer to me. You’re not going to reach inside me, and you’re not going to change my opinion.”

... Even the angle of the body in relation to others gives away our attitudes and feelings. We tend to angle toward people we respond positively to, and we angle away from those we’d rather not be around or so close to.

Stand or sit too far away and you're signaling the other person to keep his distance – you’re not wanting your relationship to get any closer and you just want the conversation over with so you can move on to other and maybe better things.

... Now don’t get all paranoid on me, but take a minute to reflect on your body language, your normal facial expressions, your eye contact with people you walk by. How do people respond to you? Are you, as was Jesus, a welcoming presence?
These are good points. Most people probably do not think about these subtle messages, but they are important. What messages are you sending?