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Why body language is worth a thousand words

Anything you do, whether meeting a person for a date, being interviewed for a new job, presenting a new idea to the board, asking for a payrise or meeting a new client, body language plays a big role in how the other person perceives you

Sylvia Wakhisi @PeopleDailyKe

Many professionals agree that you make first impressions within the first few seconds. In reality, image consultant Mary Maina, says it takes only milliseconds for the other person to make up their mind about you.

“Until we get the opportunity to fully interact with someone, our brain relies on reflex judgment to tell about a person, what their expected course of action would be and generally just how they behave,” Mary says

To avoid people acting on split seconds on you, we must learn to master the right body language at the right place at the right time, she says. Mary says it’s what we do unconsciously that speaks volumes about us. She gives some of the body language we use, but fail to recognise the impact they have on different scenerios.

Smiling

A smile says a lot about us. A big and wide smile, for example, says you are an outgoing person who’s willing to interact with people. It also shows that someone has good leadership skills. But the only real smile, says Mary, is one which brightens the eyes.

Grinning for more than five seconds, with lips locked while at it communicates a fake smile. This would mean, you’re trying too hard to be someone you’re not. And frequent smiling in the workplace can make a person seem less serious.

Biting your Lips

Biting, licking and funny lip movements shows that you are under pressure or in an awkward situation. “It most probably communicates that you’re trying to comfort yourself out of a situation,” says Mary.

Scratching your nose

Our body can betray us in ways we cannot tell. When we lie, automatically the adrenaline is released,” says psychologist Daniel Murimi.

The release of adrenaline then makes the nose itch. Another way of telling a liar would be staring. Liars compensate for their lies by focusing a bit too much on the person they are lying to avoid being seen as dodgy.

Brushing hair off your face

This is common with women, who sometimes do it unconsciously even when there is completely no hair to move. This would be interpreted as flirtatious and not to be done in work environments, it may be suitable for that first date. It helps seek attention to your femininity and mostly calls for attention to your face and neck.

Sending on and off glances

This a clever way of seeking attention. It shows mixed signals that yes, maybe you want to engage in small talk, or maybe one is interested with the other party without coming across as desperate.  

Unlike people who stare, or give direct glances this would leave a win-win situation where even when the other party is not interested, you will not feel rejected, because hey, who said you were in the first place?

Nodding your head

“If you constantly nod your head, you will definitely catch the speaker’s attention. This makes them focus their attention on you because they feel that you seem more interested in what they are saying,” says Murimi.

And while at it, if in a meeting, avoid lowering your head because speakers always want to direct questions to people they think have lost concentration, so they would ‘bring them back’.

Blinking

Normal blinking rate would be six to eight times a minute. But this is not the case for someone under pressure or stress. These ones here blink like a million (pun intended) times a minute.

So next time you want to know who’s relaxed and who’s really freaking out in the next big office meeting, or during presentation in school, look no further, the eyes have it!

Standing posture

Always stand straight. And when making a presentation leaning on the desk with both palms and facing the audience is one way of speaking confidence.

But when you stand with your feet crossed or leaning to one side, this shows that you’re freaking out and you lack confidence. The best bargain would always be standing straight upright.

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