The Power of Body Language & Micro Expressions
- September 28, 2023
Drawing on her experience as a professional broadcaster and presenter, Student Support and Experience Manager, Paulina Alvarez helps you master body language.
Reading Time: 4 Minutes
When we talk about body language, we are talking about communication. More importantly, we are talking about the fact that more than 50% of your message comes from body language. Why is this important? Body language impacts job interviews, presentations, relationships, and every other interaction that you can think of. Let’s take a closer look.
What you say with words is one thing, but the real message is what you are saying with non-verbal communication. We use nonverbal cues to speak to others through:
- Facial expressions
- Body movements
- Eye contact
- Hand gestures
- Tone and volume of voice
- Micro-expressions that hold meaning for us as well as for our audience.
These physical expressions emphasize or alter the meaning of the words that we speak. Learning to read body language and learning to express ourselves through our own body language can help improve communication.
Micro expressions are facial expressions that last for only a moment. They are emotional reactions that our body has to different situations, which means that we use our non-verbal communication unconsciously. In other words, an almost invisible eye or mouth movement can give us away.
Let’s do a trial.
Go to someone you love and unexpectedly tell them how much you love them. Watch their non-verbal reactions and try to observe their micro-expressions. This will give you a clue as to how they really feel.
How to Improve Your Non-Verbal Communication Skills
Being aware of what we share with our body language can make a difference in supporting or contradicting the intended meaning of our spoken message. Imagine someone in a job interview slouching with their eyes on the floor. Now imagine someone else gesturing, making eye contact, and nodding when the interviewer speaks. Who would leave a better impression?
Now that you know how impactful body language can be, let’s learn some points to help you improve your non-verbal communication:
- Practice self-awareness. Every time you need to make an impact with your communication, make sure you are using your body as a tool to empower your message.
- Prep your pose. Be aware of the way you pose in front of someone; straighten your back, relax your shoulders, and use your hands in your favour; for example: if you want to show openness, try to keep your palms exposed for them to know that you are being sincere.
- Smile. Your smile is a powerful tool for communication, even for situations when people can’t see your face, like talking on the phone. For example, if you are doing a phone interview, smile while you are talking, and the tone will sound more positive.
- Read faces. Pay close attention to the micro-expressions on other faces. If you detect a micro-expression, you can change the way you are communicating and maybe connect in a better way. For example, if you detect a micro-expression related to frustration, you might want to change the way you are communicating.
- Be yourself. Be yourself and tell the truth. Others have the same capacity to read faces as you do, meaning that you can be caught not telling the truth, decreasing the quality of your message.
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