Body Language

By Allison Morris

You may feel you are fully mentally prepared for an interview, first date, or other meeting, but what does your body language say? An infographic posted recently by titled “Say What You Mean” explores the way body language influences the messages we send to others.

In fact, our eyes account for 82% of our perceptions, and ears just 11%

The other senses, such as smell, taste, and touch make up 7%. In addition, body language accounts for 55% of the message we send when communicating with others

With this in mind, it is important to consider what can be interpreted negatively and what to avoid.

For example, folding your arms across your chest indicates defensiveness and insecurity, while keeping your shoulders squared and arms at your sides gives people the impression you are honest and open. Also, eye contact is an important aspect of communication. The ideal ratio is 2/3 eye contact and 1/3 looking away. Both avoiding eye contact and staring for too long can give a negative impression.

Leaning too far back or forward in a chair can also come off in the wrong way. Rather, maintaining a straight, neutral spine demonstrates confidence and makes you appear taller, which is interpreted positively in most cultures. Finally, try not to fidget. Tapping your foot or twitching your leg can be a sign of nervousness or impatience. By planting your feet on the ground or simply crossing your ankles, you will appear more relaxed. This will also aid in proper posture for the rest of your body.

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