Interpreting Body Language in Meetings
Communication occurs constantly in a meeting.
Not many people are involved in speaking, but almost everyone (if not everyone) would exhibit body
language signals that divulge what they are actually feeling inside.
If you are the leader of the meeting, it is important to know if the attendees are interested in
what you are saying, or if they agree with your ideas. Early detection of boredom or disagreement is crucial in order for you to
change your approach or present a different proposal when necessary.
When you see most of the attendees reclining back in their chairs or just staring blankly without
blinking an eye, it likely means they are not interested in the topic being discussed. Do not prolong the discussion or do
something that will break the monotony.
When the attendees nod constantly, it means they are agreeing with what you are
When the attendees cross their arms, touch their nose or mouth, sit back, and worse, shake their
heads, they oppose your ideas. Time to think of some countermeasures to neutralize the situation.
When an attendee breathes deeply, it probably means that he wants to interrupt the conversation
and express his point of views.
Observe also other body gestures, such as:
- Changing the intonation of the voice.
- Looking down at the ground
- Drumming fingers in the table.
- Exiting the meeting room.
You need to detect the inner feelings of each attendee and bear in mind how this can affect the
reaction of the other attendees. If the topic being discussed becomes too hot to handle, it might be better to re-schedule the
meeting at another time. Some emotional people can exhibit great facial expressions and
body gestures. Recognizing them early in the meeting can prevent any undesirable emotional outbreak to occur.