Are you looking to improve on your ability to interpret people’s body language, and eventually become a master of nonverbal communication?
Here is how you go about it;
1. Body Language has no clear definition.
There is no guide for communication. This ideally means that a nonverbal cue- whether it’s a distinctive movement, eye activity or the tone in someone’s voice- may be dependent on the circumstances the individual is facing at the moment.
Do not assume that specific cues have defined meanings. For example, do not assume that a person is detached from you just because they have their arms or legs crossed. It could well be that it is the person’s trait, or he could just be feeling cold. Don’t assume that it is directed to you. Don’t be quick to jump into conclusions. However, observe the person and see if you can pick up on some other cues.
2. It’s a process. Understand that it takes a lot of work
Both encoding(sending) and decoding(receiving) nonverbal messages are skills that require hard work and lots of practice to learn and develop. Some intellects have come out to support this, saying it takes a lot of time and work to master this skill effectively
3. Feedback is important
Feedback is essential is if you are to become good at nonverbal communication. You need feedback on your accuracy when it comes to reading nonverbal cues from others and also how other people interpret your nonverbal cues. You may use videos or get your family and friends to help you out.
3. Nonverbal skills are correlated
This typically means that the better your ability to send nonverbal cues, receives the better your ability to read other’s body language cues gets. And all this gets better with practice.
4. It’s next to impossible to detect deception
The general belief is that it is relatively easy to spot signs of someone lying. For example, the person avoids eye contact or looks very nervous. However, it is next to impossible to detect a liar by merely reading body language.
Why so? First liars try and avoid giving out stereotypic cues. For example, a study revealed that liars are more likely to look you in the eye than people who tell the truth – it can be said they try to overcompensate. Second, arousal leads people to give off different sorts of cues, so some may end up being “poor liars,” while others are nearly undetectable. Third, there is a phenomenon referred to as “demeanor bias” where some individuals look more honest or deceptive because of their nonverbal style. The effect of this is that it becomes harder to know whether a person is telling the truth or lying. A better strategy of detecting a liar is to focus on verbal cues – judging the veracity or plausibility of someone’s story.
Extra steps you can take to improve your nonverbal communication
- Take acting classes: Actors are pros when it comes to sending nonverbal messages
- Learn public speaking: Public speaking needs one to be good at both verbal and nonverbal communication.
- To your reading and conduct extensive research: Everything gets better when you do research and act on the findings.