Looking at the Importance of Body Language

After you've said and done all the right things, your body and facial language do the rest of the work and give you all the clues you need to tell whether you're being flirted with or to let someone know how you feel about them without actually having to say a word.

Body language and first impressions

As Figure 10-1 shows, your body language, appearance, and tone of voice form over 90 per cent of a first impression. The words account for a meagre 7 per cent of the impact. Yet, if you're like most people, you probably spend more time worrying about your words than you do about the delivery or non-verbal communication you make.

Figure 10-1 makes clear that the areas with the largest proportions need the most attention to create the greatest impact. A radical change to improve your flirting abilities is obviously called for!

Up to 21 meetings may be necessary for someone to change their first impression of you. You may not get the chance to meet them another 21 times, so make the right impression first time round.

40% of the body language impact is attributable to facial language, head nods, The words you use

40% of the body language impact is attributable to facial language, head nods, The words you use

and appearance Figure 10-1: Breaking down the impact of your first impression.

The impact of body language

Not only do you have to give off the right signs - such as good eye contact, great posture and proximity, smiling, and so on - to create a positive impact, you also have to be able to read and interpret body language. Reading others' body language is vital to flirting, socialising, and business success.

The ostrich approach to flirting

Khan worked in IT, in a male-dominated environment. He wasn't great with the opposite sex, so went and bought himself a book by a renowned lothario, learned it verbatim, and set about applying the rules meticulously. His success rate was zero, with the added embarrassment of the odd slap and being ejected by a doorman. What Khan had failed to appreciate is that it takes two to flirt; you can't just flirt at someone and hope it works. Fortunately, Khan then came across a book on body language. Not only did he discover that he could actually see what was going on with someone else, he also realised that he could influence the situation by adapting his own body language. He practised reading the people at work. He gave up communicating by email and actually went to colleagues' desks to ask them questions and gauge their responses from their actions. Finally, he used his newfound body language skills on women and to his surprise discovered he didn't need a set of cheesy chat-up lines.

To keep your flirtations on track, make sure that you not only use good body language but also check the responses of others.

How adept are your skills? To find out, while you're sitting in meetings or at the dinner table, observe the body language of the people around you. Try to determine who likes or dislikes each other, who's having a secret affair, who are the most and least dominant in the room, and who are the most and least likely to be interrupted? Just by becoming interested in people and their behaviour, you open up a whole new world of clues right under your nose.

You can find out more about reading and interpreting body language in Chapter 11.

Continue reading here: Getting Your Proximity Right

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  • amanuel
    What is the importance of body language in conversation?
    6 years ago