It needs to go like this: intent → gesture → thought → words. If you try to control your body language at the level of conscious thought, it will come out like this: thought → words → gesture. And it will look all wrong.
Many of our dialogues with others, and most of our important ones, take place nonverbally. Portions of them are unconscious.
What Mehrabian found was that in order to decode the emotions underlying words, audiences look to visual cues—the gestures—55 percent of the time, the tone of voice 38 percent of the time, and the content only 7 percent of the time.
What’s really going on is that the emotional freight of any communication begins in gesture, is conveyed mostly by gesture, and can even remain as gesture—unspoken and sometimes even unconscious. That’s because the limbic brain is where the important emotions originate, and the gestures are our primary way of expressing them. Conscious thought comes later, and words come later still.