Body language is a term for communication using body movements or gestures instead of, or in addition to, sounds, verbal language or other communication. It forms part of the category of paralanguage, which describes all forms of human communication that are not verbal language.
This includes the most subtle of movements that many people are not aware of, including winking and slight movement of the eyebrows. In addition body language can also incorporate the use of facial expressions.
One of the most basic and powerful body-language signals is when a person crosses his or her arms across the chest. This can indicate that a person is putting up an unconscious barrier between themselves and others. It can also indicate that the person’s arms are cold which would be clarified by rubbing the arms or huddling. When the overall situation is friendly, it can mean that a person is thinking deeply about what is being discussed. But in a serious or confrontational situation, it can mean that a person is expressing opposition. This is especially so if the person is leaning away from the speaker. A harsh or blank facial expression often indicates outright unfriendliness.
Consistent eye contact can indicate that a person is thinking positively of what the speaker is saying. It can also mean that the other person doesn’t trust the speaker enough to “take his eyes off” the speaker. Lack of eye contact can indicate negativity. On the other hand, individuals with anxiety are often unable to make eye contact without discomfort. Or if while making direct eye contact a person is fiddling with something, even while directly looking at you, it could indicate the attention is elsewhere.
Disbelief is often indicated by averted gaze, or by touching the ear or scratching the chin. So is eyestrain, or itchiness. When a person is not being convinced by what someone is saying, the attention invariably wanders, and the eyes will stare away for an extended period.
Boredom is indicated by the head tilting to one side, or by the eyes looking straight at the speaker but becoming slightly unfocused. A head tilt may also indicate a sore neck, and unfocused eyes may indicate ocular problems in the listener.
Interest can be indicated through posture or extended eye contact.
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Cultural awareness is a hugely important aspect of business interaction. Failing to understand how these elements play out in a negotiation can very easily leave you on the back foot.
Effective negotiating is hard enough as it is. You have to understand and be able to effectively read and react to a range of body language, negotiating strategies and understand exactly how far you are prepared to go to achieve your objective. This is made all the harder when international factors are thrown into the mix. Body language, interpersonal behaviours and interpretation of language are all affected differently by different cultures and a number of business thinkers and academics have devoted their energies to identifying and attempting to explore these differences and how they can be understood for greater negotiation success.
Examples of differences in international business negotiations: To ask an Asian business person to make a yes or no decision during negotiation will be highly damaging. Their cultural norm is to avoid displeasing others with negative responses, and they will go to great lengths to avoid ‘losing face’ by admitting that they lack the ability to do something. This is shown particularly in the Thai culture where there isn’t a word meaning ‘no’ in the Thai language! In a similar way French business people will tend to say no outright when they are actually considering options and meaning ‘maybe’.
In other countries, the norm is to give people the answer that they want to hear when they ask a question – which can be highly confusing in business negotiations! This is commonplace in Japan, Mexico or Lebanon.
Maintaining eye contact is viewed as being important in America and those who don’t do it arouse suspicion for being shifty. However in other countries, an attempt to keep eye contact is viewed as being aggressive, and it’s particularly offensive in countries such as Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. However, if you’re negotiating in Saudi Arabia, make sure you do keep open and consistent eye contact, as it’s viewed as being highly important to facilitating communication. There are other more specific cultural differences too, which if not followed, can cause great offence. For example in Saudi Arabia once again, it’s considered to be insulting to ask after the health of the host’s spouse, pass items using the left hand or show the soles of your shoes.
Similarly in Korea, make sure you pass with both hands, and avoid discussing politics or anything related to Japan. Formal greetings and introductions are also very important here and use rank and title when addressing guests.
Relationships are highly valued in many cultures, particularly in Asian and European cultures where the longer-term benefits of a relationship are valued more highly than short term transactions and quick wins. This is often opposite to the views of American business people who value speed and will often negotiate aggressively to achieve short term objectives.
The important thing to note is that whilst it may not be practical to learn a foreign language to carry out a particular negotiation, it can be possible to rapidly learn enough about non-verbal communication for international parties to the procedure, thus avoiding potentially costly errors.
Article by Linguarama:
Linguarama is the right partner for Business Language Training and Cross Cultural Training, whether for individual tuition or corporate language training.
Article Source: http://www.articlealley.com/http://mb011085.articlealley.com/how-important-is-cultural-awareness-in-business-1608596.html
Body Language is one of the most important aspect in developing a personality. Every individual is been characterized by his/her body language. Generally your body language is been justified by the first contact of the person to you. They generally by their first look notice how your aura is. They will judge your whole character by the way you behave infront of them. Generally before you speak, your body speaks a lot about you.
If we talk about our posture, we must keep in mind that the most important key people notice in us is how we carry ourself and present before them. We should keep few things in mind regarding our posture that is : When we stand we should keep our stomach in , chest out , shoulder’s back and head up. This few points helps us to show how confident we are.
If we talk about the Handshakes, we must have following points in mind :
1. We should hold persons hand firmly.
2. We must shake hands from web to web, maximum 4 times.
3. We should maintain positive and constant eye contact with the person.
4. We should have a light smile on our face, when we are on the way to handshake.
If we talk about Eye Contact, generally a good eye contact shows a confidence on your part. It also helps you in understanding what the person saying verbally is correct or not. It is a perfect sign of showing that you are paying attention. Generally if we are good at eye contact our listening capability also increases. We are made to force to listen to a person to whom we are paying attention, which is a good way to present your body language
Written by jontymagicman