Friday, October 7, 2011

Body Language

Body Language
Body language often says more than our words say to others around us.  One of the things that I got from all the years of abuse I went through, was the ability to read body language without thinking much about it.  Often, I can see much more in what someone is really saying, rather than just the words they are speaking. 

Years ago, I remember telling employees that worked under me to not lie because if they did, I would figure it out.  I pick up on very subtle clues in people and when I see their body language in addition to hearing the words, I can tell almost instantly that they are lying.  I have see Judge Judy do this on TV as well where she can tell in an instant if someone is lying or not.  My friends get shocked at me because sometimes if I am watching someone being interviewed on TV, I'll shout, "they're lying" without thinking what I am saying.

Body language goes further than this though in really shedding light as to what a person is thinking as they speak.  Sometimes people just don't have confidence in the words they speak and that really shows or they might not believe what they are saying but they are trying to be convincing.  Sometimes people hide from the real truth inside and not necessarily intentionally, but their body language and their words don't match up. 

Body language is shown through posture, vocal inflection, eyes, positioning of the head or other body parts, facial expressions, breathing and so many other things.  The words that are used are another factor that goes with body language.  I'm not sure I could actually write what all I see in another person, but I just know it instinctively. 

One of the things that bothers me on the phone is that I cannot see the body language of the person I am speaking to on the phone.  It is almost as if I have one part of the conversation and the phone often makes me nervous for this reason alone.  People are good at hiding how they truly feel on the phone but if I can see the body language, than I know without a doubt if their words have meaning.

Most people go through life oblivious to the subtle body language used in communication.  Either they just aren't aware of it or they don't see it.  While some could say it is a blessing to be able to read body language like I can, it often is a curse to me.  Knowing that someone is not being honest with you and not being able to say anything is like sitting there listening to a dripping faucet all night long.  The conversation at this point has no use to me and I get bored having to stand there and listen to it.

More importantly though, we all need to learn that our communication is not just words we speak.  It isn't like one boss of mine once said, "if you make people believe it, than it is true".  Our communication needs to be authentic and we need to realize just how much it matters to life, to others and society.  Sometimes, the best thing we can do is just refrain from dominating a conversation because we are insecure and feel we need to talk.  Sometimes, silence is the best thing and then when you do speak, your words will truly mean something.  They will align with your body language!

For further reading on this topic, you may want to check out the following link.

Related Blog Posts
1)  The Right Words, The Right Time (Jul 27, 2009)
2)  The Art Of Listening (Jun 1, 2009)

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