3 Things You Didn’t Know About Reading Body Language

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Body language is far more than just one single gesturePeople communicate far more with their body language than they are probably aware of. How much more? I don’t know. I’m not a scientist. Regardless, body language is an important tool to utilize during the interview process. Posture, tone and poise can help seal the deal for you far more than mere words. Just put yourself in the shoes of an interviewer. Would you be apt to hire a person who says all the right things but never makes eye contact with you, mumbles and continually is playing with his or her hair? Possibly, depending on other candidates. However, this person certainly hasn’t done themselves any favors by acting like a distracted cheese ball. Here are 3 tidbits to know when analyzing body language.

1. Piece Together the Entire Message- Body language is far more than just one single gesture. The body has an insane number of combinations in regards to posture, tone and activity. Going off just one aspect of body language doesn’t cut it. Just like listening to someone speak a sentence, follow a person’s ongoing body language. Shifting around in a chair once isn’t necessarily an interview faux pas. Perhaps you’re just getting comfortable. But continually squirming around is a sure sign of nervousness, discomfort or hemorrhoids. Compound that with maybe sweating or rapid eye movements and you got yourself a signal saying you’re either scared or lying.

2. Honesty Shows- What you’re saying and what you’re doing with your body can often send mixed signals. Has your girlfriend or boyfriend ever said they’re fine and then stomp away and slam a door behind them? Obviously there’s something much larger going on. Your body language can easily betray your true feelings. This can occur in an interview just as much as in social situations. How many times have you feigned interest in a conversation by nodding your head and agreeing? You may be keeping up with a person’s boring line of questioning verbally but if you’re visibly nodding off it shows. Get a handle on your body language.

3. Context Matters- Body language, and pretty much most forms of communication, rely on context. Is someone sending you signals that they want to leave and are noticeably ignoring what you’re saying? Don’t be offended. She’s not wearing a coat and it happens to be negative 2 degree right now. Look for environmental clues to explain body language. I’m sure she likes you. Just don’t hold her hostage in the middle of snowstorm.

Being a good reader of body language is hard. Modern humans are more mentally focused on words than gestures. However, our bodies are still attuned to sending messages through via physical means. This implies that oodles of information can go whizzing by your head with you none the wiser. Have a keener eye for body language, focus on how someone says something rather than what they’re saying.

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