By Joni Lindquist

I found another good article from the folks at TalentSmart: 8 Tricks for Reading People’s Body Language.

They cite UCLA research showing that only 7% of communication is based on the actual words we say. As for the rest, 38% comes from our tone of voice and the remaining 55% comes from our body language. Learning how to become aware of and to interpret that 55% can give you an advantage when interacting with others.

I know the research shows that crossing your arms and legs reflects that you are in a defensive mode and not open to the ideas being communicated.  However, I have long struggled with this finding.  I find myself crossing my arms sometimes because it’s comfortable even when talking about innocuous topics that I’m not emotional about.  Though I will change my posture when I catch myself so that I don’t send the wrong signals to others.

In addition, copying other’s body language seems to be a form of neuro-linguistic programming, where we match the person communicating with us – tone, volume, and body language.  It certinaly seems to help make better connections with people.

Reading other people’s body language can help you build stronger communication and “read between the lines.”  When you’re speaking with someone, and their body doesn’t match their words, you should pick up on that and ask appropriate questions to find out what’s really going on.  This is particularly true if you work with passive-aggressive people who seem to agree in words yet their ensuing action doesn’t match.

If you need help in building these and other Emotional Intelligence skills, contact Joni Lindquist, executive coach at KHC Wealth Management at or call (913) 345-1881.