Body language has been on prior to when language itself existed. A shrug, hands crossed, slumped posture, tentative hand movements, and so on; body Language is one of those actions we all exhibit every other time. Consciously and mostly subconsciously, we all speak to others without actually talking – on a daily basis. To our colleagues, friends, family, a large crowd maybe; we communicate. Combining body language with other forms of communication, such as tone of voice and spoken word, has never really been much of a problem. A certain level of simplicity lies with being able to speak without having to say anything at all.

Just as it can be apparent I do not want to be interacted with as I read my book at a party, I can force the same reaction by crossing my hands and frowning. This is why body language can either guarantee success or completely wreck you if you are on the path to, or involved with public speaking. Books and talks on public speaking emphasize the need to have open and accessible body language when talking so as to connect with your audience and so on. Basically, whoever you are, you can use body language as a tool. Again, body language is not much of a problem…unless your mouth is not in sync with your body, of course. This is where unconscious communication or honest signals come up.

As much as understanding body language can help you read others, you first need to be able to read yourself, or at least try not to say one thing and show the other. Just so you do not give yourself out There has to be a sort of consciousness in body language that keeps you one step ahead of others. Many times, as a result of our upbringing and environment, our subconscious remains ingrained to old methods and systems. A person who grew up being bullied, would either develop a very defensive body language or a timid one. In cases like this, even when the person is far grown and completely cut off from that, his or her body language can still give the person out and make him or her even more susceptible to it.

Say I always want to appear as a strong independent woman. The correct body language to put up is a sharp, shoulder-high, confident persona. If I really want this, but my psyche is used to being the weakling, I might think I speak confidently but appear insecure through my slouched body, the movement of my fingers, and so much more. Correcting this means breaking out of my subconscious and developing a cognitive dissonance. I have to send conflicting messages to my brain until it gets used to it. In other words, I need to do the opposite of what I am used to doing. If I somehow realize that I am standing with my arms crossed, I would consciously spot it and release them. You get the point.

The idea is just to take regular conscious self-evaluation moments and correct the body language to what you want. You would be amazed at how much that would change in the world around you. If you can create an aura of strength or power around you, the people around you would not offer you otherwise. Your confidence would go ahead of you and brag of conquests without you having to utter words. Consciously subjecting your subconscious to your will, you can switch personalities to favour your immediate needs and get anything you so wish.

Taking it up a notch, understanding body language can make you a constant winner with people. It can help you spot liars and cheats. It can tell you who’s putting up an act during negotiations or just at a poker game. Your ability to pick up their subconscious actions and use them for your own purpose is one edge only a few people have mastered. It just involves a little extra consciousness and a few lessons on making deductions – watching Sherlock Holmes would be a great start. In any case, there is so much to gain from being body language conscious. The greatest politicians, con-artists, businessmen and leaders would tell you same.

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Ejiro Lawretta Egba is a young chartered accountant and writer from Nigeria. She holds a degree in Accounting and is a qualified member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. She is currently a Financial Analyst for a private equity firm in Nigeria, a ghost writer, and a writer/contributor for a number of websites and platforms, both home and abroad. With an immense passion for knowledge acquisition, she seeks to contribute her own quota to the African community and beyond. For info and inquiries, contact via: lawrettawritesbookreviews@yahoo.com

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