Body Language and Non-Verbal Communication

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7th Aug 2018 Communications Reference this

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  • Amaya Gamage

What is nonverbal communication?

Nonverbal Communication is a system of symbolic behaviors that includes all forms of communication except words. It is the nonlinguistic transmission of information through visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic channels where the message isn’t being said. Nonverbal communication is an unconscious language that broadcast our true feelings and intentions. Trust, clarity and rapport can be created when nonverbal signals match up with the words we say if it didn’t generate tension, mistrust and confusion.There are two types of nonverbal communication which are nonverbal messages produced by the body and nonverbal messages produced by the broad setting. Nonverbal communication is used to repeat the verbal message, used to accent a verbal message, regulate interactions and as a substitute for verbal messages such as gestures and facial expressions. Body language is a main feature of nonverbal communication.

What is Body Language?

Body language plays a big role in intuition as it gives us messages about the other personthat we can interpret at an intuitive level.

Body language is the conscious and unconscious actions and postures by which attitudes and feelings are communicated. Body language is a subconscious behavior distinct from sign language which is fully conscious and purposeful act of communication. Body language can reveal much about feelings and meanings to others and how others reveal their feelings towards you. Body language signals happen on both conscious and unconscious level.

Body language encompasses how we position our body, facial expressions, movement of eyes, the space between us and people and also body language tend to include the pace, pitch, volume, variation, pauses of our voice. Body language is thought to account for between 50 to 70 percent of all communication.

There are two types of body language parts of the body and intent. Body movements include Eye contact, body position, gesture and movement

Body movements

Body movements emphasize what a person says and deliver information about the emotions and attitudes of the person. There are some hand gestures to say “ok” “come here” which are internationally recognized.

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Facial expressions show the emotions we feel unintentionally which gives strong clue about the true emotional state of a person.

Some gestures are used to give back such as nodding heads which will allow the person to adapt to his speech to reflect interest and agreement which will help to develop the conversation.

Nonverbal behaviors such as biting nails, scratching heads are psychological needs which are subconscious. These behaviors often accompany feelings of anxiety or hostility.

Posture reflects people’s emotions, attitudes and intentions. There are two types of postures open and close postures. In a close position people tend to have arms folded legs crossed where as in an open structure people tend to have arms apart on the arms of a chair which communicates openness or interest to listen, clos posture shows discomfort or disinterest to communicate.

Eye contact is important in giving and receiving feedbacks, let a partner know when it is their turn to talk and to communicate something about a relationship between people. Communication may not be smooth if a listener averts eyes too frequently.

Personal Space

Personal space maintained between two people is different to types of relationship in different cultures. There are four types of relationships. The closest contact is the intimate distance. To hold a conversation personal distance is appropriate where it is easy to see the expression, eye movements and the body language. Mostly hand shaking occurs in a personal distance. Social distance is the distance for impersonal business it is more to a formal relationship where the speech should be loud and use of eye contact is essential to remain the interaction. Finally the public distance is when speakers address groups at public distance. It is necessary to exaggerate on nonverbal communication specially the hand gestures as facial expressions cannot be seen in such a distance. In different relationships the body language used differs as the distance is different from one to another. The nonverbal communication is adjusted to use in different relationship types.

Body language as an influencer

Opening up the body and taking and filling more space shows the power posture which shows a range of confidence and boosting effects. When in an interview or anywhere else using the power pose gives confidence and shows that you are confident and full of energy. This will influence people more on how they feel about you than what you say.

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Avoidance of devices used helps to develop moreconfidence. It is better avoiding using devices before a meeting so that it will help to organize and focus thoroughly.

Facial expressions also mattes a lot in body language, It is necessary to have proper facial expression. Before a meeting go in front of a mirror and image yourself and reset to suit the emotions of the meeting. A genuine smile will stimulate your own sense of wellbeing which will display you are approachable, corporative and trustworthy>

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Gesturing when speaking will aid the thoughts and make a good impression. It is more effective and competent when using hand gestures it is another tool to punctuate what we are saying. When the gestures are meaningful and related to what we say it makes the listener to understand and remember. Gesturing helps to make clearer thoughts and speak in tighter sentences with declarative language.

Leaning forward, nodding, tilting the head shows that you are engaged and paying attention which will encourage the speaker to continue specking.

It is better to keep the hands free when talking to make the speech effective by using hand gestures. It is said that people with their hands held at waist level are more comfortable than hands at chest level

Hand shake is the most powerful nonverbal signal. People remember two times more if you shake hand and people react more openly and friendly to people who shake hands.

Shuffling of feet, fidgeting and winding of feet around each other shows nervousness and anxiety, when in tension people will stretch and curl feet to relieve tension

Body languages of different genders

Male and females doesn’t show much of a difference. There are few noticeable differences in female body language which women do consciously and subconsciously and also it says women tend to be more aware of their body language and others body language cues. Men read body language using different areas of their brains Men and women lie differently. Women lie less about themselves and more to protect others feelings or to make others feel better about themselves. Men lie to appear more powerful, interesting, and successful. They lie about themselves eight times more than they lie about others. Men usually point their toes towards the most important person to him in a group. Men take much more space to claim power in a room or assert dominance.

How to improve non verbal communication

To improve nonverbal communication, should learn to manage stress and pay attention to inconsistencies and show proper gestures to illustrate the message effectively. Should also maintain the proper posture and eye contact to display confidence an interest if not it will be viewed as disinterest or nervousness. In order to communicate effectively it is necessary to be aware of our space as well as others space and also it is equally important to be culturally competent and to know what is accepted in other cultures.

 

References

Goman, C. (2014).10 Powerful body language tips.Available: http://www.amanet.org/training/articles/10-Powerful-Body-Language-Tips.aspx. Last accessed 30th May 2014.

Female Body Language – Science of People. (n.d.). Science of People. Retrieved May 30, 2014, from http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2013/06/female-body-language/

Edwards, V. (2014, January 30). How to Read A Man’s Body Language. The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 30, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vanessa-van-edwards/how-to-read-a-mans-body-l_b_4674615.html

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