Your body language says a lot about you and has a major impact on how others see you. As such you can learn a lot from the body language of others.

Body language accounts for up to 55% of how we communicate. Body language along with verbal cues can indicate a number of different things depending on the context. People with powerful body language with open movements that take up more space tend to feel more confident. They are more likely to have less stress, be more dominant, take more risks and be more optimistic. Dominant body language creates a powerful appearance. Studies show that even faking high and low poses effected the confidence level of the participants both positively and negatively.

The idea of fake it til you make it may seem false, but in faking it the process will help you become it starting with small changes to your body language. Something everyone can learn.

Here are three common situations in which body language is especially important – a job interview, dating and detecting lies, and ways to read between the lines to help understand what is really going on.

Like it or not we all lie a lot. When conversing with a stranger we are likely to lie once or more in the first 10 minutes. They may be little lies but we still do it. Most of us will participate in deception from time to time to avoid conflict, but we are probably better off telling the truth. Words can be deceptive but the human body has a hard time hiding lies. Using your own body language and being able to read body language of others can be extremely useful when communicating with others.

The Basics of Body Language:
Your primary goal when reading body language is to determine their comfort level in their current situation. There is a process of combining verbal cues and body language to determine this.

Positive body language:
Moving or leaning closer to you
Relaxed, uncrossed limbs
Long periods of eye contact
Looking down and away out of shyness
Genuine Smiles

Negative body language:
Moving or leaning away from you
Crossed arms or legs
Looking away to the side
Feet pointed away from you, or towards an exit
Rubbing/scratching their nose, eyes, or the back of their neck
A single cue can be misleading so it's essential to pay attention to multiple behavioral cues.

Being able to judge whether someone is lying through reading their Body Language is a big advantage. Your intuition is never 100% accurate, but with practice you can become more aware of when you're being lied to. This technique will help with the big lies but it's very difficult to detect white lies, lies of omission or exaggeration.

Research has shown that liars often exhibit much of the uncomfortable behavior plus some specific additional traits.

Fake Smiles
Research has shown it is almost impossible to fake a genuine smile when lying. This is why many people appear awkward in family photos. The smiles look awkward if they are faking it. Your genuine smile is in the eyes as your smile pushes up your cheeks and creates wrinkles around your eyes. It is difficult to fake this as you need to feel some genuine happy emotion to do it and that is almost impossible if you are lying. So a fake smile is helpful in determining if a lie is in progress.

Too much Eye Contact and a Stiff Upper Body
Often a liar will overcompensate with too much eye contact, and appear stiff while they try not to fidget, this can make you feel uncomfortable and unsettled. In genuine conversations people move and do not hold eye contact for long periods. Liars because they are uncomfortable will often rub their neck or eyes and look away to the side and opt to do little. If you notice tense shoulders and a high amount of eye contact you likely talking to a liar.

Verbal Cues
Pay attention to the conversation, liars will offer more details and suggest punishments for the real offenders if they are being accused of something. They will answer your questions with a question giving them time to make up an answer. This type of conversation paired with negative body language points to dishonesty.

It's important to realize that some people may always behave awkwardly. Look for multiple cues and trust your instincts and ask for verification if you just aren't sure.

On the first date understanding your date's body language is incredibly helpful in knowing when not to talk about something that makes them uncomfortable.

Basically you are just looking for general indications of comfort and discomfort. This means paying attention to how guarded their body language is. On a first date most people will be fairly guarded crossing their arms, keeping a distance and keeping their palms face upwards. Your goal is to encourage them to be more open by being more open and welcoming yourself with uncrossed arms and a warm genuine smile. We all tend to mimic the behavior of others so if you're warm and comfortable it will help them become more comfortable.

Comfort levels can fluctuate on a first date as they are nerve-wracking, and you are likely to make a few mistakes. Don't worry just keep going. Watch for positive body language and focus on what brings that out. If you witness negative body language change the subject. Of course there will be evenings when you just don't jibe with the other person and there will be many awkward periods. If this happens know that person wasn't for you and move on.

Job interviews are similar to first dates except that on a date you are on an equal basis whereas in a job interview the interviewer has the power. This creates a situation were you are more uncomfortable than the interviewer. You could easily display negative body language which you need to override in order not to appear closed off.

First Impressions
First impressions do count so a smile, a handshake and a warm greeting along with the previously mentioned positive body language will bode you well for a comfortable interview.

Go into the interview prepared, this will increase your comfort level and add to your confidence level. To prepare research the company and any individuals that may be interviewing you.

Natural comfort is your most valuable tool, however there some tricks to help you enhance your comfort. Eye contact is important especially when asking questions and when the interviewer has something to tell you. Avoid blocking your eyes, lean slightly forward, and appear to be a good listener by placing your hand over your mouth indicating you are not going to talk and are paying attention.

Any reasonable Interviewer will understand that you are a little nervous and tense. In fact if you're overconfident it can indicate that you are not taking the interview seriously.

Understanding body language along with verbal cues can be useful in communicating and understanding others. It can be fun, but you're not a psychic, you can't read minds or interpret what someone is thinking or feeling. Use these techniques to find clues to help you understand other people and communicate better.

Author's Bio: 

Avril Betts - CHA - Entrepreneur and Business and Lifestyle Coach

I have been an Entrepreneur for over 35 years and a long time Business and Lifestyle Coach. Although I have a retail office I myself work from Home and would be happy to answer your questions In the meantime check out this FREE report on 7 steps to Starting and Building a Successful Business I think you will find it helpful.