We often think our minds and bodies are saying the same thing, but it may be surprising to know that our bodies are often times doing the exact opposite of what our minds are thinking. Body language, or the lack of knowledge about your personal body language, is one of the leading causes of miscommunication both in the workplace and in everyday life. Knowing what our bodies are saying is an important aspect in making sure we are being heard and seen the way we want to be.
Here are some helpful tips on getting to know the language of your body. For instance, crossed arms and legs are almost always a sign of being closed off from the person to whom you’re talking, and will likely put them on the defensive. Without knowing it, you may be pushing someone away simply by crossing your arms.
Mirroring is an important technique in achieving a successful interaction through body language. It simply means you take on the attributes of the person with whom you are speaking or interpreting for. This creates a sense of comfort and ease and a familiarity that doesn’t have to be forced to be appreciated.
Another technique for aiding in positive body language communication is the physical and vocal recognition of the conversation. If someone is speaking to you, and you simply remain silent, the person speaking is not getting any kind of “feedback”. When we use nods, filler words like “yes, uh-huh, I see”, etc, we are giving feedback without an opinion. This eases access to the communication and can help ensure the communication is more honest.
There are many more techniques – people write full books on this topic. But these are good starting points. Starting soon, Interpreter Education Online will be rolling out new courses, including Acting Techniques for the Interpreter, which will help interpreters to become more knowledgeable on properly expressing body language. Visit our website today and join the conversation on LinkedIn and Facebook!