Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Body Language, Tone & Words

Have you ever ended a conversation and walked away feeling like it was just a little off somehow?  As though everyone walked away a bit confused or unsure of what was said or might be expected. You felt alright while speaking, but afterwards, you're pretty certain you did not correctly communicate what you were trying to say. Or maybe you didn't say what you were trying to communicate? In either case, your listener walks away without a clear understanding of the conversation.

When talking with others, always be aware of your body language, tone and words. Body language and tone will often resonate clearer than the words you use. For example, if you say you are really looking forward to an event and you use all the right words, but your posture is poor or you don't look the other person in the eye, do you think they're going to believe you?
What if you were telling someone about winning the state tournament and they said they were excited for you, but looked passed you at other friends or fidgeted with their phone. Would you believe them? I doubt it. Having good posture, looking someone in the eye and gesturing with enthusiasm gives a positive, interested feeling. But, if you are looking at the ground, your shoulders are low or you're playing with some personal gadget, you will give the impression that you are bored or uninterested in the conversation.

Body language and tone make up almost 90% of your communication skills. That means you better be paying attention, regardless of whether you are the speaker or listener. Let's say you have been interning at a company. You know they will be hiring in a few weeks and you would really like to be offered a position. When someone from management asks how your internship is going, you might say, "I've really enjoyed working here this summer." But, if you don't look them in the eye and your tone is flat or emotionless, they will find your words hard to believe. Say those same words again, "I've really enjoyed working here this summer." However, in this instance, stand tall, look them in the eye and have an enthusiastic tone. Who do you think they would be more interested in hiring?

And, be aware of your word choice. While not as effective as body language and tone, words can help or hurt a conversation. Try to avoid words like "thing" or "stuff". When possible, use the correct terms for what you are trying to say. You will not only make yourself clearer, but you will also sound smarter. Of course, if you are just hanging out with friends, word choice will be much different than when you are at school, work or an important event.

Whether you are working on a project for school, completing an assigned task for your boss or simply planning a trip to the movies with friends, your communication skills will affect the outcome. Always be sure your body language, tone and words are in sync. Good communication skills will ensure success in every situation.


  1. Mastering a language skills is really a good subject to explore and to improve by valuating good information and also boy language too.

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  2. Thanks for posting your insights and experiences.
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  3. I do believe in body language and tone of voice. Words are words but feelings are more understandable. Animals even recognize it. I can go on and on about this subject ...