Actively investing time in learning body language isn't an obvious thing to do. Perhaps a moment ago you didn't even know such a thing exists, so why suddenly it's such a big deal?
This is a very legitimate question, which I mean to answer with not one, but several good reasons to satisfy it. If you have any doubts regarding why and where to apply such knowledge - this is the read for you!
We are born with a very sophisticated and effective system to communicate and understand each other. It's quite amazing, especially when you take into account that nobody actively taught us about it.
But even so, it's seems that some people are just better at it. We call such people perceptive and sharp because they possess a special social awareness, they act as if they have an extra sense that allows them to know what's going on and how to react.
Learning to understanding body language is like upgrading your current system of communication. We all get the "basic kit", but if you want to improve you need to manually grasp control and actively become more observant.
The difference between someone who knows how to read body language and someone who doesn't is in the significance they give to nonverbal information. The non verbal cues are present to both, but only the former knows to look for them and to trust his gut because he knows they have a meaning.
What we like to call intuition is not some otherworldly idea that appears out of nowhere; its roots are in the nonverbal channel, in things unsaid but visible to the eyes and ears. The question is: how good is your "radar" at picking up these signals and understand what they can mean?
So the aim is to train yourself to trust your instincts and read signals better, you may not become Sherlock Holmes, but you'll know more than enough to get by in most interactions. It's a social awareness – either you got it, or learn to improve it.
And what about what the signals you send to others?
Learning body language isn't about being a passive observer; we're not playing at being spies here. You want to know what works and how to apply it into your life.
Just by becoming more aware you instantly get much better at it, because you start to understand what you project with your own body language. You may notice some unhealthy habits or a bad self-image.
There's a tight link between how you feel and how you act, because unless you try to fake it – your body will project what dwells within. So if you have a bad self-image, you will also project it outside, but like a feeding loop – having bad habits (such as nervous jerks or a grim face) can sustain your bad mood and nervousness.
So if you want to change the way others perceive you and the way you feel, the first step is really to get rid of bad habits and resolve your internal conflicts. You need to work on the inside… Learn what stopping you from being more happy and confident in life. It's not easy, but admitting it is the first step, it's hard to change if you have some heavy burden you carry around.
What I can help you with is identifying the symptoms, not the source, but the things you may project with your body and aren't aware that they slow you down.
And yet there's another road to take - to work from the outside to influence the way you feel. I said that your feelings are linked to your behavior, so by reversing the loop you can affect your emotions. The mere acting in the way you want to feel can often have a big impact on your emotions to that direction. Just watch this:
Another benefit of this approach is that if you do this right you'll start a snowball effect, one positive feedback leads to another and before you know it you'll be rolling in the right direction. Others will start to take notice of your change and respond accordingly – what gives you a moral boost and the snowball continues to roll… eventually you will change without even noticing it.
I often hear people who believe that learning body language is about manipulations and tricks, to play a role in order to get the upper hand.
Well… if you ever tried acting, you know it's not that easy, no matter how many tricks you got there. This is actually not my goal here – I'm not here to try to change who you are or turn you into some chick magnet or whatever.
It's not that it's not possible, it is, but it has its price in dedication. The real question is – do you want to play a part and make people think you're someone else… or do you want to be yourself, but equipped with better social skills?
Unless you got an 'antisocial' in your personal description and you want to keep it that way, I believe you have something to gain from learning body language. I'm not here to tell you to make a makeover; we have reality shows for that.
All I'm saying is that by being more perceptive and responsible to your own behavior you're one step ahead in almost any interaction. Believe me, you can still have your unique and lovely personality combined with the knowledge to communicate better.
Is it your kind of social?
"Don't worry… Just be yourself…" – We all heard that sentence at least once in our lives. Unfortunately, sometimes our "yourself" can be very unnatural. We all remember some moments that we didn't feel quite right in our environment. We suddenly became very aware of our body and didn't know what to do.
That's not what I call being yourself… After all, you don't act like having a panic attack on your daily basis, do you? Good body languages is all about evaluating the situation and adjusting to feel natural and comfortable in it.