Saturday, October 29, 2005

What does your body language say?

An article by Oliver Sacks in the Oct. 31st issue of The New Yorker describes how patients suffering from aphasia (a loss of language) learn to read and communicate through nonverbal language -- giving them an enhanced ability to see through artifice.

I'm thinking about how that relates to the body language of those who are shy. What kind of body language says, "I'm shy. Stay away" and what kind says, "I'm open. Come closer,"?

And if you know of any resources (web sites, articles or books) on the topic, pass those links along.


Blogger Jeff Fisher LogoMotives said...

Here's an interesting piece about body language and international relations:
Body Talk.

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Flatscreen Jockey said...

Excellent article. Now I need to cultivate my international business to try out some new body talk! Being from the South of the US, the first body language I thought of was standing up if someone enters a room (initially taught when dining and a woman leaves or rejoins a table). In a business setting, there's nothing more awkward than sitting and shaking hands or the last minute "stand up" to be introduced to someone. Certainly there are nuances to each situation, but it's been a pretty good rule of thumb.

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Pamela Baggett-Wallis said...

This southern woman also shows respect when greeting people, men or women, by standing up, whether hand-shaking is involved or not.

Good posture, standing straight but not stiff, shows confidence. A genuine smile shows graciousness. My father, who lost the ability to find the words he needed, nonetheless smiled his assent with a nod, and smiled his dissent with a gentle shake of his head. A gracious southern gentleman to the end.

An important body language that we forget is paying attention to the person with whom you're speaking rather than scanning the room for someone "better" to talk to. This happens too often at networking gatherings. Be present with the person in your presence.

Pamela Baggett-Wallis
Persuasion Communication

6:19 AM  
Anonymous Lisa J. Lehr said...

Some time earlier this year (unfortunately I can't remember what month...I could probably dig it up), Reader's Digest had an article about facial expressions. One of the interesting things these two researchers discovered is that not only does your facial expression reflect your mood, it also works in the reverse. If you have an angry or unhappy look, you will begin to feel that way. It's something to be aware of.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Wendy Maynard said...

Hi Ilise, Pretty much anything by Leil Lowndes is awesome. I have three of her books. I particularly love "How to Talk to Anyone." You can find her books on Amazon and her site is at

Your post actually stimulated me to write one on my blog on initiating small talk. I mention some of her ideas because small talk definitely isn't one of my strengths.


Best, Wendy Maynard

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Linda Kaun said...

Many years ago on my first trip to Indonesia I was amazed to realize how much of a converstaion I understood by observing body language. Since I didn't have a clue to what their words meant, all I had to go on was watching how they talked.

You pick up all this subtle body language, facial expressions, how the person is sitting/standing, are they friendly/angry, talking softly/loudly and so on.

We communicate these messages constantly. but when we speak the language we forget that communication is so much more than words alone.

So many different factors come into play...gender, cultural, geographic, age differences all affect how we speak.

I suppose the key is being aware of ourselves. Does our body language reflect what we really are trying to say?

10:37 AM  
Anonymous alisa deitz said...

A wonderful book that actually gives insight into the connections between your body and your emotions- Emotional Anatomy by Stanley Keleman.
And I'm sure you've heard - but it's worth repeating that when you smile it's almost impossible to be angry.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Happy said...

Hi! Here is a post about eye body language. I hope you'll find it interesting;)

11:38 AM  

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