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Meaning of Body Language

From Matching to Leading
Having matched the other person for a while and established rapport, we can start to lead and change the direction of the communication. Leading means to lead someone to a certain goal or result on the basis of rapport and in terms of the win-win principle. Leading also provide an opportunity for checking whether a trusting relationship has been established. If it has, the other person will unconsciously follow my leading after a short time. If that doesn't happen, I need to go back to matching. This method enables me to lead someone from a bad emotional state into a better state, for example.

Congruity and Incongruity
When all three channels fit together we also say we are congruent. If the messages don't fit, we call this incongruence. In this case, we rely first of all on body language, then on the voice and lastly the spoken word - doubtless because we have often had the experience of being lied to. This is why some researchers into body language say: "The body never lies."

In a famous study, Albert Mehrabian (The Journal of Counselling Psychology 31, p. 248-252, 1967) found that body language accounted for 55% of the effect when making a presentation before a group. This meant 55% of the power of persuasion rested on posture, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact and other factors of body language. 38% of the effect was achieved by voice modulation and other vocal characteristics. Only 7% was down to the content of the presentation. Some interesting conclusions can be drawn from this: We have the most influence when we present convincing messages through all three channels. Body language and voice are often greatly underestimated.

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best day and night to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight and never stop fighting.”
- E.E. Cummings