Body language

A statistics graphic represting the different ways we communicate with a key including red for 55% body language, blue for 38% voice and green for 7% spoken word.

Communication is not just about the words you say. It is also about how you say those words (eg the tone and volume of your voice) and the way you look, stand, sit and move in relation to your listeners. This is what is meant by body language.

You can enhance or undermine anything you say in face-to-face communication depending on how you use your body language. Imagine two people, Kara and Jordan, both saying “That’s great!” Kara is smiling, has her arms open and is looking at you as she says this. Jordan is frowning, has his arms folded and is looking at his feet. Notice how the use of body language results in two very different interpretations and outcomes of the attempted communication.

Be aware of your body language when you are speaking and listening. You show your interest in or dislike of a topic with your:

  • eye contact
  • posture
  • gestures