Although language plays a big part in communication, the majority of how we interact with one another is through the gestures we make with our hands, the body position we take, or the way in which we curl our lips. While it is easier to use language to communicate false statements; body language almost never lies. You might just be saying you are having a wonderful time on that first date, but your arms are crossed, your brow is furrowed, and you don’t make eye contact at all.
Language of the Brain
Body language is basically our brain telegraphing our intentions. It is something that we unconsciously, take part in. When you are talking to someone you like, you tend to take on their body posture in order to make them feel more comfortable, your feet will point toward them, and blood will even flow faster to your lips to make them appear fuller. It truly is an amazing thing to behold.
Because we do this for the most unconsciously, body language can lead to determining how other feel about us and how a relationship is progressing both in personal lives and in business. While it is difficult to control, being aware of the signals your body is projecting into the world is an important skill to have, and even more important for those in the realm of international business.
Body Language While Travelling
Imagine you are travelling to the Middle East for business and you are sitting down to meet with a possible client. You arrive in your Western business suit, sit down and cross your legs with your ankle over your knee with the sole of your shoe pointing directly at your potential client. Suddenly the mood of the meeting changes and your Middle Eastern client ends the meeting abruptly. You thought you did your presentation but you forgot that in the Middle East it is considered insulting to point the soles of your shoes at a host.
There are many body language cues that are universal like smiling, facial expressions, and a lot of the micro movements of the body that are genetically encoded in our DNA and haven’t been altered by culture.
When interacting on a daily basis or especially when travelling abroad for business, if you are concerned that your body might betray you here’s what you can do. Basically it comes down to sincerity and good manners. If you make a mistake in body language or you are perceived to be doing something insulting it is easier to clarify if your intentions are sincere and good. A good rule when travelling is to try to reduce the broadness of your body movements, this usually will help avoid any unintentional mishaps. Berlitz is keenly aware of the difference in body language, and in each of its programs instructors make sure to show its clients the dos and don’ts of the second language they are learning.