Dr. Tammy Manko, the director of the Career and Professional Development Center, gave a speech on the powerful effects of positive body language on Monday as a part of the Six O’Clock Series on IUP’s campus.
This event was also presented by the Sigma Chi Fraternity, and attendance was mandatory for all members of Sigma Chi.
“Body language is critical to professional effectiveness,” Manko said.
“Pretty much, no matter where we go, most gestures communicate the same thing basically everywhere with a few exceptions.”
Within the first 30 seconds of a conversation, people begin to make impressions on each other.
“These impressions are very important for our life decisions as it heavily influences people's opinions of you,” Manko said.
Body language is our primary form of conversation, and people use it without even being aware of it.
“If you were able to learn and control your body language, you could have the best social interactions every time,” Manko said.
Body language involves the whole body, not just gestures. It is used to influence other people, either subconsciously or consciously.
The presentation examined the differences between the ways that men and women use body language and how many interpret it differently from one another.
“Women have the brain power to out organize any man on the planet whether we like it or not,” Manko said. “Harvard research suggests that women were accurately able to tell you what was happening in a muted video 87 percent of the time compared to men.”
Individuals bring various biases into situations without even realizing that they are doing so.
“If we can realize our biases, our conversations will be much better,” Manko added.
Humans have a baseline when it comes to how we interact with others in different situations.
“One way to tell someone's baseline is to see when they are relaxed,” she said.
When conversations occur, people use gestures without trying to do so, and these gestures can affect the meaning of the conversation.
“Try and use more than one gesture when talking,” Manko said.
Facial expressions also play a role in how people interact with others and may in fact cause a feeling of laughter or other emotions depending on the expressions portrayed by an individual.
“Being happy makes you live longer according to Wayne State University,” Manko said.
This statement was refuted by one student.
“This was just false science. Half of these studies presented had a clear bias going into them that is just undeniable,” Mike Rochman (junior, nursing) said.
Understanding body language can allow one to exhibit more body positivity in their daily life.
“When we mimic or mirror people, we do this because we like or respect that person,” Manko said.
On the other hand, when people are on their phones, their body language closes up.
“This can release cortisol, the stress chemical, into our bodies,” Manko said. “Try and not be on your phone during a conversation with someone.”
When you are on the phone during a conversation with someone, it can cause the other person to feel as though you are disinterested, even if you are not.
By understanding body language and positivity, one can change the way that they are understood and perceived.
For more information about the Six O’Clock Series events, visit https://www.iup.edu/mcsle/events/sixoclockseries/index.html.