Recognising and effectively utilizing the power of body language is a valuable tool for service-based professionals when building and nurturing meaningful relationships.
However, many of us lack proper training in reading body language, resulting in misinterpretations and improper usage. By dispelling misconceptions and providing science-backed insights, professionals can harness the true capabilities of body language, leading to improved communication, trust, and overall service delivery.
Here are five misconceptions about body language that service-based professionals should be aware of:
1) EYE CONTACT - A Liar Will Never Look You In The Eye.
This is a common myth but the truth is more likely to be the opposite. If someone is really trying to convince you that something is true (even if it is not) they are more likely to look you directly in the eyes, firstly to try to manipulate you into believing them but also to gauge your response to what they are saying.
2) CROSSED ARMS - Arm Crossing Does Not Necessarily Signal Defensiveness.
While crossed arms have long been associated with defensiveness, it is essential to recognize that people adopt this posture for various reasons. Factors such as physical comfort, environmental conditions, or personal habits can lead individuals to cross their arms.
Professionals should not immediately assume defensiveness solely based on this gesture, but rather consider the broader context.
3) MEHRABIAN RULE - Non-Verbal Communication Is Not 93% of All Communication.
The widely misunderstood Mehrabian Rule, which suggests that 93% of communication is non-verbal, stems from misinterpretations of specific experiments conducted by Albert Mehrabian in 1967.
It is crucial to clarify that this finding only pertains to the communication of feelings and attitudes, not the entirety of communication. Professionals should not rely solely on non-verbal cues but should instead strive for a balanced understanding of both verbal and non-verbal aspects.
4) UNIVERSAL ACTIONS - Body Language Is Context-Dependent.
Assuming that non-verbal cues have universal meanings can lead to misinterpretations. Understanding an individual's baseline behavior and considering environmental factors are crucial for accurate assessment.
Professionals should pay attention to the context and adapt their interpretation of body language accordingly to avoid erroneous judgments.
5) IT IS INAUTHENTIC - Body Language Shouldn't Be Used To Make A False Impression.
While it is true that body language should never be used in an unethical way, it is proven that when used in the right way, it is a very powerful tool to emphasise what is already being communicated.
As long as words, tonality, facial expressions and body movements are aligned then it will always be represented in an authentic way.
By debunking these misconceptions and adopting a science-backed approach, service-based professionals can develop a deeper understanding of body language.
This knowledge will enable them to leverage non-verbal cues effectively, building stronger connections, fostering trust, and delivering exceptional service.
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