27 September 2016

Talk to me: the volume of body language

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Actions speak louder than words and the people around you are screaming- just not with their voices. A study has shown that only 45% of your message is communicated through your words, the rest is through body language.

By learning to read the body language of those around you, you can listen to what they’re really saying and gain the edge in your next meeting or interview.

Here are some important signals to look out for:

Open palms

When a gun is pointed at us, we raise our arms with our hands open to show that we are unarmed and, therefore, not a threat (though hopefully you’ve never been in this scenario). When we swear to tell the truth in a court of law, we place one hand on the Bible and we raise the other, open palm towards the judge.

The open palm has long been associated with honesty and it filters through subconsciously to our everyday mannerisms. When engaged in a conversation in which we’re telling the truth, we tend to gesticulate with our palms facing outwards.

Crocodile smiles

Though we invest heavily in creams to soften our wrinkles, the crow’s feet around your eyes mean you’re a more genuine person.  A genuine smile is nearly impossible to create on cue and forced grins don’t quite reach the eyes.

Mirror image

If someone is engaged with you they are likely to mirror your body language. If you’re on a date this is a good assessment of how well it’s going. Try tilting your head slightly. If your conversation partner reciprocates you have their undivided attention.

Crossed legs


Crossed legs are a sign that you’re closed off- mentally and emotionally. If a negotiation is taking place it signals resistance to the conversation. If your boss crosses their legs when you’re asking for a raise, it might be a sign to take a different approach. 

Claire Dowler is a Conference Producer with Akolade. She recently graduated with a double degree: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Media and Communications Studies majoring in International Communication. Claire minored in sarcasm and puns.

A ballroom-dancer who collects salt and pepper shakers and volunteers for animal rescue, you might say Claire has eclectic interests.

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