Not sure if you’re getting your point across? Learning how to read your audience’s body language saves a whole lot of guesswork when it comes to figuring out what just how much of your message is being received.
Reading body language was much easier when we met in-person but, now with Zoom being he norm for now, reading body language is more difficult but still important to pay attention to.
By doing so, it will enhance your communication levels and ensure your message is being received while also enhancing relationships.
Read on for Eight Ingenious Tips that will let you know when you’re being heard…and when you’re not.
Closed body positions
When arms or legs are crossed, you can be fairly sure your message is not being received. It’s easy to spot, as the other person is putting up a physical barrier between you and them, showing they’re not interested in what you have to say.
Some fake smiles are obvious to spot. Others, though, take some looking. If you’re not sure whether a particular grin is real, check the eyes. You’ll notice fine crinkling lines around the eyes when you’ve got a real smile. If the smile doesn’t reach their eyes, they’re faking it.
The eyes tell all – they are the ‘windows to the soul, as it is said, so watch for eye-rolling or blank staring as they can indicate disinterest or resistance of some kind.
When you see someone copying your body language, you’ve got them hooked. Body mirroring is a subconscious thing we do when we’re on the same wavelength as the person we’re talking to. It’s why we shift or take a drink or make another small movement when someone else does it first.
In a virtual world, being fully present will help others to mirror your actions, such as laughing, nodding you head in agreement, and speaking up all of which lead to more engaging virtual meetings.
Check how they’re standing or sitting. Are they sitting up straight and exerting power, or are they slumped, with rounded shoulders? Typically, a more confident posture shows the other person is engaged, while poor posture conveys a lack of interest.
Uneasy Eye Contact
If someone is looking at you too long, they’re probably lying. This is because people know they need to have good eye contact to look like they are being truthful. The problem is most people don’t really know how long to hold it, and so they will stare a little too long, to the point of making you subconsciously uncomfortable. This is why we typically sense someone is lying without quite understanding why we feel that way.
Engagement is needed in virtual meetings so you can tell when someone is distracted and not in the conversation. Some common signs can include checking phones, writing, or leaving/coming back to the meeting; of course, there are circumstances that would warrant these types of behaviors but they usually mean the conversation is not compelling or boring.
Too Much Nodding
The more a person nods in a conversation, the more you can be sure they’re worried about seeming to disagree when inwardly they’re very likely cringing away from the situation. It could be a sign of boredom or nervousness/anxiety.
If you see a clenched jaw, tight neck muscles or other rigidity in their expression, the other person is probably very stressed, feeling uncomfortable, or angry. In this situation, see what the other person is saying to see if words sync up with body language. In these situations, engaging the person by asking for their opinion can diffuse the situation.
Paying attention to these ‘languages’ will help to keep attendees engaged, present, and active in meetings. Leaders who are emotionally intelligent will be able to detect these; if not high in EI, you can still learn how to read others people so you have better interpersonal actions and higher engagement in your meetings. If your meetings are in-person, then it is more critical to pay attention to these traits so you have more effective interactions.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a critical leadership trait – if you’re ready to develop/enhance your leadership skills, contact us today to get started. We have coaching packages available. Start the new year off strong.