Background information on the subject of "body language"

Nonverbal communication and its importance in conversation

In addition to verbal expression, we also have the option of non-verbal communication. While verbal expression is largely will-driven, a large part of body language behaviour arises from the subconscious.

Accordingly, kinesics, as the science of movement behaviour is also called with regard to its communicative relevance, is much more honest than normal language communication, albeit less differentiated. It is probably due to this that we unconsciously trust body language more when it comes to our attitudes towards the other person.

The American psychologist Professor Mehrabian found out that only 7% of the content of an utterance influences our opinion of the speaker. Body language, on the other hand, produces 55% of the impression we have of the speaker and 38% of our attitude is influenced by the sound of the voice.

Kinesics is composed of gestures, facial expressions, posture and the sound of the voice.

Even in a resting position, the body sends out signals. Thus an upright posture expresses self-confidence and assurance. If, on the other hand, you pull your shoulders up high and cross your arms or legs, this can send out a defensive or closed message.

With a little practice body language can be interpreted. It is not possible, for example, to expose 100% of all lies, but you can learn to understand certain signals. The most eloquent are the hands. When interpreting explicit gestures, however, it should be noted that they can have different meanings depending on the cultural background. In principle, the context in which body language is considered is very important for its interpretation.
Those who understand body language can also improve their own non-verbal expression considerably. Thus one can learn to send out exactly the right signals, which trigger a sense of affinity with the conversation or negotiation partner.

Seminars on body language are offered by the Management Institute Dr. A. Kitzmann both as open and in-house seminars.

Author: Management Institute Dr. A. Kitzmann

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