The difference between the words that people speak and our understanding of what they are saying are often related to body language. This is what we mean by receiving or giving “mixed messages”.
By being aware of how the body “talks”, you may more easily understand what people are really saying and thus more effectively communicate with them.
Movements, gestures, facial expressions and shifts in the whole body can indicate confidence, lack of confidence, delight, boredom and all other emotions.
For example, confidence can be shown by maintaining eye contact, having a firm handshake and by standing or sitting tall. Slow and clear speech is also a feature of confidence. Alternatively, lack of confidence appears as the opposite of these features, lack of eye contact, poor posture and rushed speech.
If you enter a situation where you are not as confident as you would like to be, it is a good idea to adopt these “confidence” signs and signals to project confidence. This way, you will appear less nervous than you feel.
When giving an oral presentation, watch your audience’s body language to see if you have their attention. For example, if their heads are down, their eyes are not fixed on you or if their hands are fidgeting, you know your words are not having the impact you want.
Being aware of what the body is doing when someone is speaking will allow you to fully grasp the message they are trying to convey to you.