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All of us use body language every day as we communicate. Sometimes, we can use it to our advantage, altering the way our body moves to make the point we’re trying to convey as strong as possible. Other times, our body can betray us by using involuntary responses to show our true feelings.

What is body language?

Body language is just another form of communication — non-verbal. Although it’s hotly debated, there is a set of statistics that circulates fairly often which says that your body language is 55% of your message. This can be in the form of:

  • Facial expressions
  • Posture
  • Eye contact
  • Personal space
  • Breathing
  • Touching others

Everyone is different and body language that is perceived as negative for one person isn’t necessarily negative for everyone. However, there are some general assumptions that can be made about body language and they can be matched up to certain communication/leadership styles:

Aggressive communication: Frowning, clenched fists, pursed lips, speaking through clenched teeth, a hard, direct stare and eye rolling can all be signs of an aggressive communicator.

Passive communication: Eyes darting and looking away, fiddling with a watch or picking at lint on clothing can be signs of someone who is unsure, lacking confidence or who is generally passive in their communication style.

Assertive communication: Smiling when appropriate, respecting personal space, a relaxed posture and direct, relaxed eye contact comes from someone who is a confident and respectful assertive communicator.

When body language betrays us

Some body language is controllable but there is much of it that isn’t. We all have our tells, the things that give away our true feelings. Unobservant people might not notice but blushing, sweating, a subtle eye roll or even a sharp intake of breath can give away how we really feel about things.

The solution? Simply be more conscious of your own body language. There are many situations in which we don’t want to reveal our true feelings in order to stay diplomatic or perhaps even just to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings. Knowing how your body reacts means you can anticipate it and offset it if necessary.

Body language can be intel

Just like your true feelings can be given away by your body language, so can your team’s. Get to know your team well so that you can learn their tells. Knowing how each of your team members reacts and what their body language is like is important because it can reveal to you how they really feel about big decisions or the work they’re doing.

If body language really is 55% of communication, any leader would be remiss to ignore it.

Are you ready to harness body language to get your point across? People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.