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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.

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Communication - Nonverbal Communication

  • 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.
    Read Article >
  • How to use eye contact
    Eye contact is an important part of communication. Giving too much, or too little, eye contact can be seen as being rude in Western cultures. So what is the correct amount to give?
    Read Article >
  • Ten Ways to Improve Your 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.
    Read Article >
  • Communication skills training - Voice tone
    Your communication skills training should include the effect of your voice tone on others. Learn how to control your tone with Corporate Coach Group.
    Read Article >
  • Personal Space - Proxemics
    Personal space is a form of non-verbal communication. It is important to recognise that the physical space surrounding each person has dedicated zones, which should be respected according to the rules of Proxemics, in order to gain trust.
    Read Article >

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