Body Language

Video Transcript

Learn more about body language, in this short video.

You can often tell what people are really thinking through their body language. And, when you take the time to understand body language better, you can learn to read people more easily.

This can pay off throughout your career.

For instance, you can watch people's body language when you're giving a presentation, to know if they're engaged in what you're saying. Or you could observe someone's body language during negotiations to understand which negotiation style to use.

It's important to keep in mind everyone is different, and you should never use just one cue to judge the attitude or motivation of someone else.

However, there are some common cues and signals you can look for that, taken together, can help you tell what someone is really thinking.

For instance, imagine I'm pitching an idea to Brandon. Take a look at how he's sitting. Everything about Brandon's body language, from his crossed arms to his tense facial expression, is telling me he's not happy with my project idea. Since I can tell Brandon isn't happy, I can stop my pitch, and ask him directly why he unhappy with my proposal.

You can also use body language to look more confident than you actually feel. For instance, imagine I'm interviewing Linda for a position in my organization. And while we talk, she looks like this. You don't need to be a body language expert to tell Linda is pretty nervous during this interview!

Now, look at how Linda is sitting – she simply looks more confident.

Learning more about body language can help you get ahead in your career, because you'll understand much more about what the people around you are thinking or feeling. You'll also become aware of what your own body language is telling other people.

Now, read the article that accompanies this video to find out more about body language.

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Comments (22)
  • Over a month ago Midgie wrote
    Hi Brett,
    Fascinating story and thanks for sharing.

    Having coached an individual from Vanuatu, I have learned a little bit about the island culture and challenges that part of the world experiences. Before that, I was not even aware of a country by that name.

    What I find interesting is that the different countries, cultures, languages, customs, etc, found a common language in order to do business. I wonder where they learn that language and how do practice it in order to actually be able to do the business. Any ideas?

    Midgie
  • Over a month ago zigamundus wrote
    Hi again. I have been placed in an amazing situation here in NZ. My GF is from the Solomon Islands, a small island nation in Melanesia. Melanesia, as you may know, has a different social make up than Polynesian countries. Polynesian countries such as Tonga, Samoa, etc usually have a single language and custom tradition for all citizens.

    Melanesia has dynamically different situation: In Solomon Islands alone, there are 100 languages spoken amongst 500,000+ people. Not just variations of a language....true unique languages. This means that there are also different customs, traditions, and communication norms.

    This is similar in Vanuatu (80 + Languages) and Papua New Guinea (850+ languages). What happens in these environments? Traditionally, war. When people from other nations arrived (primarily Chinese!) a new thread developed in communications. For the first time, a language was developed for the sole purpose of enabling trade between the different tribes. A language with its own cultural norms, fabricated for a tactical and strategic purpose: Pijin.

    Hence, in these three countries, Pijin has developed into the new language of commerce, and more. Cultural norms were set aside when communication took place in pijin. A fascinating story.

    I am constantly learning more
  • Over a month ago Yolande wrote
    Hi all

    Brett, you make an interesting point:
    Intent is nice.. but education is better
    I'm also always of the opinion that if you are respectful but make an honest cultural mistake, people will forgive you quite easily.
    But what you say has really made me think: it is better to be educated.

    A key thing of course is to know your own culture very well. That explains why we do many things the way we do them and why we get upset if it's done differently!

    Living and working in a country with many different cultures and often facilitating to cross-cultural groups is interesting and it helps keep you open-minded.

    Please share more of your experience & stories - we'd love to hear!

    Kind regards
    Yolandé
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