Studies show that during interpersonal communication, only 7% of a message is verbally transmitted. That leaves 93% of a message being transmitted non-verbally – 38% through vocal tones and inflections, and 55% through facial expressions and body language. Often there is a discrepancy between the verbal and non-verbal messages, and experts say when in doubt – go with the non-verbal signals (what you are seeing). Body language is the oldest language in existence and it’s universal; a way for us to communicate without having to attach words to what we’re feeling. It’s a great way to figure out how someone feels about you without asking those awkward, too soon questions, like, “Soooo, do you like me?” When meeting someone for the first time, there are signs and signals you can follow to help you gauge and plan your next move. The last thing we want to do is try too hard, or completely miss the mark when reading someone. Luckily, as we mentioned earlier, speed dating body language is universal.
Body language presents itself in clusters, based on what the person is feeling internally. Clusters are much easier and more reliable to interpret than individual behaviors which could cause you to unnecessarily jump to the wrong conclusion. Some examples of body language clusters are; Romantic, Defensive, Bored, Attentive, and Evaluating.
During those first encounters, should they be at a “speed dating” 25Dates.com event, initial meetings or first dates, it’s important to observe your partner – in most cases (sometimes people are hard to read), they’re silently telling you how they’re feeling about you and the situation.
**Attentive and Romantic Body Language Signals**
**Listening** – Despite distractions, we listen to show we are interested.
**Leaning Forward (But not too much!)** – Shows you are interested, but too much leaning can create a feeling of desperation.
**Eye contact** – Shows we care about what is being said, who is saying it, and that we want to learn more.
**Patience** – When we don’t interrupt and let the other person finish their thoughts before offering our own.
**Open Body** – Our bodies are facing the other person, and we are not crossing our arms or creating a barrier.
**Preening** – These gestures are what we do when we’re trying to make ourselves look better for the other person. This can include brushing your hair with your hand, polishing your glasses or cleaning particles off your clothes.
**Mirroring** – When we show by simulating the actions of the other person that we are similar to them.
**Touching** – An obvious sign that you are comfortable with someone and want to take the connection further.
**Closed and Bored Language Signals**
**Distraction** – We look somewhere or at someone other than the person talking to us, we find other things to do like doodling, we check the time often.
**Tiredness** – Yawning, slouching and a blank stare are common.
**Repetition** – Tapping toes, drumming fingers or swinging feet.
**Crossed arms** – Although this can also show relaxation, clustered with other closed signals indicate you are putting up a physical barrier to separate yourself.
**Covering vital organs (vulnerability)**
Remember not to judge people on singular actions. Everyone is different but you can use these guidelines to give you an idea of what’s going on beneath the surface, before you really know someone.