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Effective Body Language

Effective Body Language

Effective body language

Definition: Good body language is the act of making a positive impression in the minds of others by the proper use of your appearance, dress-code and gestures.

Body language contains 10 subsets, which can be remembered by the sentence, "Pat Goes Ape", where each letter stands for an element of body language:

P = Posture.
A = Appearance.
T = Touch.
G = Gestures.
O = Orientation.
E = Expression.
S = Scent.
A = Accessories.
P = Proximity.
E = Eye contact.

P = Posture

Posture relates to how you stand or sit. Do you stand up straight, or do you tend to slouch? Do you sit up straight, or do you lean?

The posture of good body language implies standing or sitting up straight.

A = Appearance

Appearance relates to your clothing and your grooming. Do you tend to dress smarter or scruffier than other people who are in the same room?

Do you tend to have better grooming, or worse grooming?

Good body language implies dressing slightly smarter, than others in the same room and being well groomed.

T = Touch

Touch means how much and in what ways you come into physical contact with others during normal conversations. This includes the quality of your handshake, which should be firm.

Some people are very tactile and like to hug and hold others. Some people don't like to be touched.

Good body language implies being sensitive to other peoples need to be touched, or left alone.

G = Gestures

This relates to how you use your arms and hands, as you speak. Some people use their hand and arm gestures in ways that help them communicate a positive message.

Other people use their gestures to cause trouble.

Good body language implies using your hand and arm gestures to support your message, not to detract from it.

O = Orientation

Orientation is about the angle at which you stand relative to the other person as you speak. Some people stand square-on, and most people stand at a slight angle, so that they lead with one shoulder. A square-on orientation has a higher intensity of emotion than an angled orientation.

Good body language implies avoiding a square-on orientation, unless you intend to come on strong.

E = Expression

This is about how you use your face. Some people have a pleasant facial expression and seem genuinely happy to see you. Other people look grumpy and seem always to be down in the dumps. What expression is your standard setting?

Good body language implies that a relaxed, friendly facial expression should be your standard setting.

S = Scent

Relates to how you smell. Do you have a nice perfumed scent and minty fresh breath? Or do you sometimes smell a trifle pungent and does your breath stink? (No offence intended!)

Good body language implies having a nice scent.

A = Accessories

Accessories are the tools you carry with you. Your computer, your car, your tools. Are your accessories clean and kept in good order or is everything you own dirty, damaged and looking a bit tatty?

Good body language implies have your kit in good order.

P = Proximity

This relates to how far away, or how closely you stand, or sit, relative to the other person. Some people like to get close. Sometimes too close. Other people like to keep their distance.

Good body language implies keeping about one arms distance from others.

Don't invade their space!

E = Eye contact

This relates to the degree to which you hold the other person's eye contact as you talk to them. Some people look into your eyes, as they speak. Others avoid giving eye contact. Others flip it on and off.

Good body language implies giving good eye contact and then responding to the other person's reaction and matching their response.

Cicero said, "The eyes are the windows to the soul".

How to improve your body language and communication skills

Check yourself against the above ten factors and make the necessary adjustments to improve your body language. Good body language is a key communication skill which we cover in our one-day Communication Skills Training Course.

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Further Reading in Communication - Nonverbal Communication

  • Ten Ways to Improve Your Body Language
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  • Effective Body Language
    Body language is an important part of being an effective communicator. You can make a positive impression with other people, when you learn to use good body language. Effective body language is well known to improve your self-confidence.
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  • Body language and nonverbal communication skills
    Body language and nonverbal communication skills Face to face communication is of two fundamental types: Verbal communication Nonverbal communication Verbal communication: is the use of words; Language. Non-verbal communication is made up from: Voice tone and body language. You gain a lot of information about the other person from the way...
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  • Communication skills training - Voice tone
    Communication skills training: Voice tone Your communication skills training should include some notes on the effect of your voice tone on others. "Voice tone" relates to the musical aspects of your voice: It pertains to pitch, volume, pace, and emphasis. People respond instinctively to voice tone; either positively or negatively. There...
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  • How to understand body language
    How to understand body language Your body language is your visual channel of communication. It is the way you appear, what you look-like, as you are speaking. Interestingly, your appearance, how you look, as you are speaking, may often count for more, in the mind of your listener, than does the...
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