Flirting behaviour, like language, differs according to culture and country, but there is one language that exists the world over. Oh yeah, I’m talking about Body Language.
The science of body language is fascinating. It can be a very useful tool in communication. What is not said in an interaction is often of the greatest importance. No matter how hard we try to hide our true feelings and thoughts, our bodies constantly give us away, ‘leaking’ non-verbal information to those around us.
Being able to read body language can help you understand what someone is really thinking, as well as also helping you become more aware of the signals you’re sending others.
So, how do learn to understand body language?
1) It goes back to the one of my favourite mantras: It’s not all about you! Shift the emphasis from you to the other person. You can’t read subtle and informative cues – a slight frown, a nervous rocking, or a clenched fist – if you are focused on yourself.
2) Just look at their feet. Even the most seasoned politicians can only control their body language so much. You can’t control your tone, words, facial expression, shoulders, hands and feet all at once, so somethings gotta’ give! The further away our body parts are from the brain, the harder it is to control them. By the time we get to the feet, the control is lost. Do you want to know if someone is happy to stay to continue talking to you? Look at where their feet are pointing! If they’re pointing directly at you, that is a very good sign. If one or both feet are pointed away, you had better do some fast talking, or let them go.
3) If you are dealing with someone who has crossed arms, do something to make them uncross them. Drop a pencil and ask them to pick it up, change locations, give them a hug, anything! Closed body means closed mind. You will never get someone on side if their arms are crossed. When I point this out, many people reply, “but, it’s comfortable,” or, “I’m cold.” If you are trying to make a good impression, it’s not about you. It’s about appearing open and on side with the other person and that barrier you are putting between you and them will not help.
4) Finally, be aware of your own body language. It’s useful deciphering what other people are thinking, but are you aware of the signals that you are subconsciously sending out? Do you realise that your right hand is always clenched into a fist? Or that you constantly fold your arms? Next time you start chatting to someone, be conscious of how you’re standing, where your arms are and which way your feet are pointing. It also might be worth asking your friends if they’ve noticed any disconcerting postural habits.
If you’d like to learn more about identifying and identifying body language, come along to our next event!