Why does body language really, really matter?


Posted on November 20th, by Dr Rob Yeung .

Most of us would probably be quite happy if only our colleagues and customers – and perhaps family and friends – would just listen to us more, right? Well, the latest research suggests that it’s not just what we say that matters. How we say it can matter a great deal too.

We know this because of advancements in technology that allow us to collect precise data on how people’s physical movements and tone of voice affect how they are perceived.  I summarise the research here in a short magazine article:

Let me be clear though. The research does not say that what we say hardly matters.

However, when we’re competing against other people who have similar skills and experience to ourselves (i.e. people who are delivering similar messages), our audiences tend to judge us not so much on what we say as whether we come across as passionate, determined, likeable and confident.

If you’d like to read more about not only this piece of research but also similar findings about body language and influence and persuasion, you could take a look at I is for Influence: The new science of persuasion.

And do let me know: What do you think makes people come across as persuasive and influential?





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