Our bodies are apt to tell our biographies.
by Frank Gillette Burgess
Since the very moment that we are born we start learning how to speak. As babies, we posses a natural learning ability that starts being “explored” and developed by our parents and teachers. We start by responding to our parents’ rhythm of language, we then distinguish between language and noise and progressively start recognizing sounds, words, sentences to eventually be able to formulate words, sentences and ideas on our own. One of the main reasons why we learn how to speak is to be able to distinguish, understand and respond to other people’ intents, wishes, requests, etc. Some might call this communication. But what if what our parents should really teach us was how to “speak correctly” the body language instead of the word language? Given the 55/38/7 rule* that says that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken, body language is obviously more important in detecting, understanding and responding to our surrounding contexts.
Our bodies make a lot of unconscious motions based on the context they are in so that very often their language is a blatant and obvious indicator of their intents or state. Being able to distinguish the body language of your interlocutor is sometimes essential in the way you communicate and the results you want to have from a conversation, but most importantly being aware of your own body language can stir the conversations and its results in the exact direction your want to. And sometimes even your life.
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has studied the effects of body posing on the level of success one can experience in their life and the results are astonishing. Romantic dates, job interviews, giving speeches or even political elections are influenced by the way our bodies act. And that’s because what people see us when they look at us and how we see ourselves play a staggering role in they way our lives fold.
So we invite you to take a look at her amazing talk because maybe it is time to learn how to speak with our bodies more than with our mouths.
* The formula was created for a specific context – when the nonverbal channel and the verbal channel are incongruent (not matching).
* Picture Source
Header image credits: Royalty free