|photo courtesy freedigitalphotos.com|
Studies suggest that 55% of our communication is body language. Only 7% of communication are the actually words. This means that your body is speaking loudly!
Being aware of and interpreting body language is a fun and fascinating science.
The first time I met my friend Nicki, I suspected we'd get along even though she and I were quite different. In the early stages of our friendship, we enjoyed laughs over dinner, coffee, and the kids. One day, after a particularly touching conversation, I wanted to give her a hug. We were still new to each other so I asked her. "Can I give you a hug?" She looked at me puzzled…stood up…braced herself and said "Sure."
She and I laugh about it now but it makes a great point. Her body language was speaking loudly! So if our bodies can speak, then it stands to reason that our bodies can listen!
How to listen with your body:
Ever notice the difference between the body language of a romantic couple at a restaurant and the couple who just had a fight? The romantic couple is sitting very close to each other. The arguing couple...not so.
We lean in when we are interested in what is being said. Gossip is never shouted across the room. It is shared intimately.
By leaning your body toward the speaker, you are showing interest.
Make eye contact
In order to make eye contact you have to be facing a person. I remember Bill Cosby saying in one of his stand-up routines that his wife used to say "Listen with your face." This means look at the person speaking. Put down the cell phone, look up from the computer screen, and make a connection.
Uncross your arms
Crossed arms are a common posture these days. People will unconsciously cross their arms when they are cold, angry, or indifferent. No matter the reason, to a speaker, crossed arms appear hostile. It says I am closed off to what you are saying...even if that is not your intent.
Open your body by uncrossing your arms. An open body says come on in, I am listening.
Uncross your arms, lean forward, and make eye contact are just three simple ways you can listen with your body.
What are other ways you can listen with your body?