Is Your Body Language Speaking for You?

15 June Print

Is Your Body Language Speaking for You?

Communication is a challenge in the workplace.  The primary reason is in order to get everyone on the same page all team members must send and receive the same message.  Your body language can interfere with the message you are sending, and the message others are receiving.  Even without any words being spoken our body language can communicate whether we are happy, sad, angry, or bored.

Do you know what you want to say?

Good communication is first depending on the particular words you use.  Therefore, make sure the words you use are appropriate in their intent and phrasings.  Most of us in business are careful about the words we use because we want to be politically correct.  We don’t want to offend other people.  While this is important only 7% of our communication actually comes from our words.  This means that after you decide what you want to say, the way you say it is even more important.

Is your communication passive?

The words you use may be as simple as asking a co-worker, employee or boss a question.  For example, Can I get that information from you?  But, depending on your body language this question can come off as if you are afraid.  Is your body displaying tilted posture, a drooping head, clinching hands, timid speech with low volume?  If this is your body language during the brief conversation you are appearing to be afraid or fearful to ask the question.  The person receiving the question may be thinking, ‘what are they afraid of?’  Paying attention to your own body posture will help you understand how you are coming off to others.  A greater understanding of our own communication skills can help us answer others questions about our business relationships as well.  Your passive communication could be the reason why you feel no one takes your ideas seriously.  Perhaps you feel that no one really listens to you.  Adjusting your body language to a more assertive style may help change the way you are perceived at the office.  Body language accounts for 55% of your communication.  This means that people are reading your body language much more than the words you speak.

Is your communication aggressive?

If you are angry or upset with someone even if you try to hide it through your words, it will usually be apparent from your body language.  A stiff neck, animated hand gestures, overly direct eye contact, scowling facial expressions, and a strained voice tone will tell your co-workers that you are angry.  You may find that your co-workers are lowering their eyes when you talk.  This may be a way to avoid your scowling face or angry eyes.  Notice the reaction of others when you speak to get an idea of the body language you are giving off.  It is possible to make adjustments to your body language.  If you receive some upsetting news, before speaking with anyone go to a quiet place such as your office or a restroom stall.  Use some stress exercises to help change your mood.  Take some deep breathes, imagine you’re in a serene place like the beach, and do some facial exercises.  Go through this process before you interact with any of your co-workers.  This will help you communicate with a more neutral body instead of an aggressive one.  This may also help improve your relationships with your fellow employees.

Is your communication neutral or firm?

Professional communication is presented with neutral body language which is relaxed, confident, and non-threatening.  When your body language is neutral or firm your co-workers will not receive misinterpret your words by picking up unintentional cues from your body’s posture.  A square body posture, a level head, cheerful disposition, direct eye contact, and a neutral voice tone will create a positive communication.  Tone of voice accounts for 38% of our communication, therefore keeping your voice tone level will help your message be better received.


The Author: Angela Huffmon is a keynote speaker and corporate trainer.  She speaks with groups of corporate managers, executives, and business owners helping them to solve their 3 biggest problems:  employee retention, productivity, and manager employee communication.

Life & Style

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