Body Language For Dummies book cover

Body Language For Dummies

Published: June 29, 2015

Overview

The complete guide to mastering the art of effective body language

Body Language For Dummies is your ideal guide to understanding other people, and helping them understand you. Body language is a critical component of good communication, and often conveys a bigger message than the words you say. This book teaches you how to interpret what people really mean by observing their posture, gestures, eye movements, and more, and holds up a mirror to give you a clear idea of how you're being interpreted yourself. This updated third edition includes new coverage of virtual meetings, multicultural outsourcing environments, devices, and boardroom behaviours for women, as well as insight into Harvard professor Amy Cuddy's research into how body language affects testosterone and cortisol, as published in the Harvard Business Review..

Body language is a fascinating topic that reveals how the human mind works. Image and presentation are crucial to successful communication, both in business and in your personal life. This book is your guide to decoding body language, and adjusting your own habits to improve your interactions with others.

  • Become a better communicator without saying a word
  • Make a better first (and second, and third...) impression
  • Learn what other people's signals really mean
  • Transform your personal and professional relationships

Realising what kind of impression you give is a valuable thing, and learning how to make a more positive impact is an incredibly useful skill. Whether you want to improve your prospects in job seeking, dating, or climbing the corporate ladder, Body Language For Dummies helps you translate the unspoken and get your message across.

The complete guide to mastering the art of effective body language

Body Language For Dummies is your ideal guide to understanding other people, and helping them understand you. Body language is a critical component of good communication, and often conveys a bigger message than the words you say. This book teaches you how to interpret what people really mean by observing their posture, gestures, eye movements, and more, and holds up a mirror to give you a clear idea of how you're being interpreted yourself. This updated third edition includes new coverage of virtual meetings, multicultural outsourcing environments, devices, and boardroom behaviours for women, as well as insight into Harvard professor Amy Cuddy's research into how body language affects testosterone and cortisol, as published in the Harvard Business Review..

Body language is a fascinating

topic that reveals how the human mind works. Image and presentation are crucial to successful communication, both in business and in your personal life. This book is your guide to decoding body language, and adjusting your own habits to improve your interactions with others.

  • Become a better communicator without saying a word
  • Make a better first (and second, and third...) impression
  • Learn what other people's signals really mean
  • Transform your personal and professional relationships

Realising what kind of impression you give is a valuable thing, and learning how to make a more positive impact is an incredibly useful skill. Whether you want to improve your prospects in job seeking, dating, or climbing the corporate ladder, Body Language For Dummies helps you translate the unspoken and get your message across.

Body Language For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Want to find out more about how to be the person you’ve always wanted to be? This Cheat Sheet tells you how to act "as if." Explore how to behave without giving the game away. Try a few easy exercises that will strengthen your body.

Articles From The Book

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Social Articles

How to Impress at Job Interviews Using Body Language

Body language reveals a lot about how you are feeling. Before you’ve spoken at a job interview, interviewers will already have formed judgements based on your posture, gestures and facial expressions. There are a number of techniques you can use to make a positive impression and project confidence, commitment and credibility.

What you should do before the job interview

Send out a clear message that you belong in the organisation by projecting assured and confident behaviour.
  • Relieve yourself of clutter and carry only what you need.

  • Remain standing while you are waiting in reception. Chairs make you look small and can be awkward to get out of.

  • Make a positive entrance: move confidently, smoothly and purposefully to be perceived as someone with an upbeat and positive attitude. Hesitations and shuffles make you appear unsure of yourself

  • Instead of shaking hands across a desk, move around it so that there are no barriers between you and the other person. Return the same amount of pressure as the interviewer and let them decide when the handshake should end.

What to do during the interview for a job

  • Positioning: when invited to sit, try to ensure that your body is at a 45 degree angle from the other person. Facing the interviewer directly, especially if your chair is lower than his, can make you look like a child about to be reprimanded. Sit upright and don’t slouch.

  • Answering questions: portray a positive and serious attitude through your body language, Close your mouth and breathe through your nose. Remember to hold your head vertically as though your chin is supported. Place your knees directly over your ankles with your feet planted firmly on the ground. This will make you appear grounded and secure, giving your answers added authority.

Telltale signs of nervousness include fidgeting; picking at fingernails; scratching your face, head, neck or chest. They give the impression that you’re uncomfortable in this new environment and make it difficult for interviewers to have faith in your abilities. Watch yourself on video to check whether you demonstrate any of these behaviours:
  • Replace a nervous gesture with another action. Let your hands rest on the desk or table in front of you. If there isn’t a surface, rest them in your lap.

  • Keep your fingers closed to demonstrate confidence and control

  • Use accessories to enhance your image: Decide what image you want to project and choose good quality accessories to project this.

Social Articles

Connecting the Mind and the Body

What you think about yourself is true for you and becomes your reality. Whether intentional or not, your body’s movements reflect your self-beliefs. Your subtle and not-so-subtle facial expressions, gestures, and postures reveal how you think and feel about yourself and govern how other people think and feel about you.

Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy’s seminal research into the impact of body language on communication and interactions demonstrates the power of the mind/body connection and validates the connection between hormone levels and behavior. For a simple example, notice how your body expands when you’re feeling powerful and dominant and how it folds into itself when you’re feeling negative and full of doubt.

Professor Cuddy’s research confirms that powerful people tend to be assertive, confident, and optimistic. Abstract thinkers and risk takers show high levels of testosterone, the hormone of strength and power, and low levels of cortisol, the hormone that regulates stress levels. People who are stress reactive and feel shut down experience the opposite, showing higher levels of cortisol and lower levels of testosterone.

The great news from Professor Cuddy’s research is that you don’t have to feel assertive, comfortable, and confident in order to act as if you are. And when you act as if you are, others believe you are.

Standing for two minutes in the superwoman/superman pose with your feet firmly planted in a wide-legged position, your hands on your hips with your elbows pointed outward fills you with a sense of purpose and power as your testosterone levels rise. Placing a pencil in a horizontal position between your teeth, which forces you to smile, also leads to positive feelings.

So, before you venture forth into an evaluative situation, whether it’s giving a pitch, meeting the prospective in-laws or interviewing for your dream job, pop into a quiet room, lock the door, and adopt the superperson pose for two minutes. You’ll end up feeling and looking like someone who means business. And if you really want to feel good and make others feel good too, stick a pencil between your teeth and smile. Just remember to take it out before leaving the room!

Social Articles

Communicating Across Cultures

In a diversified world in which you frequently communicate with people from countries and cultures different from your own, anticipating and sidestepping nationalistic landmines is as vital a skill as being adept at reading, writing and arithmetic.

Unless, of course, you’re content and comfortable making faux pas, insulting others and demonstrating a lack of knowledge and respect, in which case, keep calm and carry on. Before you do, however, consider the possible outcomes.

Because your beliefs and attitudes influence your behavior, negative thinking can lead to disappointing, if not downright disastrous, consequences!

The first step in connecting with your audience, communicating a clear message, and creating productive relationships, is to note the behavior of the natives. By mirroring and matching — not miming or mocking — what you observe, you can begin building the foundation for successful intercultural relationships.

Start slow and keep it simple. If, for example, you’re in conversation with someone from China, contain your gestures and keep your face calm. Demonstrate quiet respect in your demeanor, and you’re on the right path. The same applies when engaging with Russians. Too much overt body language, such as ingratiating smiles, expansive gestures, and quick movements are viewed with suspicion, whereas in America and Australia a bit of back slapping, pinching, punching, and raucous laughter are the norm. Behave like that in Asia at your peril. Take the safe path and follow the rules of respectful and deferential behavior.

In Latin countries you’re expected to let your body do the talking. Thoughts, feelings, and intentions reveal themselves through gestures, movements, and facial expressions. Anger, love, passion, and pain are clearly conveyed through the flick of a finger, the whip of a wrist and the wink of an eye. In Southern Europe and South America, for example, specific hand and finger gestures convey clear intentions leaving the receiver in no doubt about the initiator’s thoughts and feelings.

In Nordic countries the opposite is true. You could cause your hostess to choke were you to demonstrate the same kind of behaviors as your southern cousins. Should you find yourself in any of the Scandinavian countries, wondering how to behave, think: Cool and Contained.

If you’re interested in learning more about cultural differences and communication go to ArgonautOnline. Until then, unless you’re familiar with the culture and its expectations keep your gestures to yourself. What is a sign of endearment at home can be rude and insulting somewhere else.