August 10, 2022 | 05:41 AM

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20.04.20115 Body Language Secrets Every Leader Should Know

Body language is in the eye of the beholder.


This week, the book “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead” is available online and in neighborhood bookstores. As a preview to the book, here are five body language secrets that every leader should know:

Seven Seconds to Make a First Impression
The Gesture That Gave Away Steve Jobs
4 Tips for Reading Body Language in a Negotiation
The Mistakes People Make Reading Your Body Language
How to Fake Charisma

1) Research shows that we make eleven crucial decisions about one another – subconsciously evaluating an array of nonverbal cues – within the first seven seconds. And once someone labels you as “likeable” or “un-likeable,” “powerful” or “submissive,” everything else you do will be viewed through that filter.

2) Two people can send over eight hundred different nonverbal signals in a thirty-minute negotiation. So if you focus on the verbal exchange alone and ignore the nonverbal element, you stand a high chance of coming away from a negotiation wondering why in the world your brilliantly constructed bargaining plan didn’t work the way it was supposed to.

3) When your words and your body language are out of alignment, you don’t make sense. Neuroscientists use electroencephalograph (EEG) machines to measure “event related potentials” – brain waves that form peaks and valleys. One of these valleys, dubbed N400, occurs when people are shown gestures that contradict what’s spoken. This is the same brain wave dip that happens when listening to nonsensical language.

4) There are two sets of nonverbal signals that people look for in leaders — status & authority and warmth & empathy — and the most effective leaders employ the right signals at the right time. Which means they realize that the body language signals that work so well when announcing a new business strategy are not helpful (and in fact may sabotage their efforts) when building collaborative teams.

5) Body language is in the eye of the beholder. The key to using effective body language is understanding how your expressions, gestures, eye contact, use of space, postures, and all the other aspects of nonverbal communication will most likely be interpreted by others – and how those interpretations will most likely effect the observers’ behavior.

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