What’s there to learn about business body language? EVERYTHING!

What’s there to learn about business body language? EVERYTHING!

by Barbara Chatzkel

I am a confirmed people watcher, both professionally and personally. When I am working business-man-and-womanas an executive coach and a consultant, I continuously and carefully decode the visual information my client is broadcasting through their body language. As an observer of activities around me in a public space, such as a shopping mall, an arts performance, a casino, a medical facility, or an airport, I gather volumes of data by observing people being people.

When did I become “the body language pro”? I started to get a lot of requests from colleagues to “describe what someone’s body language meant” so they could understand how to react. While each situation is unique, some principles are common across the North American business culture. I continued to learn more about body language theories and to observe the results of modifying my own body language. Then one day, I committed to developing straightforward and simple principles to describe business body language currently used in our North American business culture.

Yes, we all constantly broadcast a multitude of body language signals. Why should you focus on the signals you are broadcasting or pay attention to the signals you are receiving from others?

Multiple research studies showing that:

  • People form their first impressions of you very quickly. The statistics range from one-tenth of a second to three seconds to seven seconds to ten seconds.
  • If you are walking to the front of the room to begin a presentation, the audience has formed strong first impressions before you show a single slide or even say “good morning.”
  • The information used to form that first impression is overwhelmingly nonverbal. Depending on the situation, your nonverbal presence accounts for between 60 percent and 93 percent of first-impression data.
  • “You only have one chance to a make a first impression” rings true.

And you form first impressions of others just as quickly.

Understanding and mastering business body language helps you present your message as effectively as possible. It also provides you with the tools to understand the person across from you and whether or not their words match their body language broadcasts.

BODY LANGUAGE TIP: If there is dissonance between what a person is saying and what their body is broadcasting, go with the body language signals. In general, body language doesn’t lie.

Each month, going forward, I will describe one of the five body language broadcast centers and how you can evaluate your personal effectiveness in making your message consistent with the signals your body is broadcasting.

Make sure you come back on the 25th of next month to learn the five business body language broadcast centers and which is the most important to observe.


Barbara Chatzkel’s ability to provide a vibrant and behavior-changing book extends Chatzkelacross industry segments – everyone uses business body language. Her coaching and consulting expertise on business body language grew from conducting union negotiations, managing difficult personnel situations, managing at multiple levels, and extensive business coaching experience. Her new book, Business Body Language: Your Visual Business Card, will be available in print in early 2015. Visit her website today for further information.

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2 Responses to What’s there to learn about business body language? EVERYTHING!

  1. bethkoz says:

    Good post, good point, Barbara!


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