Are Soft Skills And Body Language Connected?

Dr. Purushothaman
December 7, 2013

It is a proven fact that people are affected by body language and most of the time it is not obvious. But how are body language and soft skills connected? Let's look at some Statistics and definitions:

-A research project by Albert Mehrabian found "that the verbal component of a face-to-face conversation is less than 35% and that over 65% of communication is done non-verbally

-Wikipedia defines soft skills as those "personal attributes that enhance an individual's interactions, job performance and career prospects. Unlike hard skills, which are about a person's skill set and ability to perform a certain type of task or activity, soft skills relate to a person's ability to interact effectively with coworkers and customers and are broadly applicable both in and outside the workplace."

-Wikipedia defines Body language as "various forms of non-verbal communication, wherein a person may reveal clues as to some unspoken intention or feeling through their physical behavior."

So from our definitions we see that body language is a form of communications and soft skills also uses communications.

Body language is not an exact science because some may send mixed messages. For example: direct eye contact may indicate a positive reaction what the speaker is saying. It can also mean distrust of the speaker by "not taking their eyes off" them. Since you cannot read body language with a single reliable indicator, it is important to read it over a period of time during the discussion. It is important to know that the interpretation of several signals needs to be used to make a particular conclusion.

So let's look at a few body signals and see what the typical explanation is for each.

The most basic body language gesture is crossing the arms across the chest. This usually means that the person is disagreeing with what is going on or feels personally attacked. A vacant or harsh facial expression often indicates resentment. Doubt or skepticism can be indicated by an averted gaze, or by scratching the chin or touching the ear. When some one is not being persuaded by what is being said, the attention usually wanders, and their eyes will look away. Positive Interest may be indicated through posture or extended eye contact, such as standing still and intently listening.

let's see how the best way of handling body language. It is important that you develop a habit of using either neutral or positive forms of body language. Here are a few of the best gestures;

-Relaxed Posture - Try nor to be "stiff" but just be comfortable do not have any abrupt movements.
-Arms Relaxed - In order to show openness keep your arms uncrossed arms and hands visible.
-Good Eye Contact - This will show that you are interested.
-Nodding Agreement - This will show agreement and understanding, just don't do it too much or the speaker may not think they are communicating properly.
-Smiling - This always conveys a warm personal connection.

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