Body Language A Non-Verbal Communications
Body language the conscious and unconscious movements & postures by which your attitudes & feelings are communicated. It is a powerful concept which successful people tend to understand well.
So can you, the study and theory of body language has become popular in recent years.
Psychologists have been able to understand what we ‘say’ through our bodily gestures and facial expressions to translate yourself & reveal underlying feelings & attitudes.
Body Language referred as ‘non-verbal communications’ or ‘non-vocal communications’, the terms ‘body language’ & ‘nonverbal communications’ are broadly interchangeable.
Non-verbal communications is the study of how we communicate face-to-face aside from the spoken words themselves.
Does body language include facial expression and eye movement? – Usually, yes.
What about breathing and perspiration?, This depends on your definition of body language.
Tone and pitch of voice are part of verbal signals, are these part of body language too?, normally not but arguably so, especially as you could ignore them if considering only the spoken words & physical gestures/expressions.
There are no absolute right/wrong answers to these questions. It’s a matter of interpretation.
Nevertheless confusion easily arises if definitions & context are not properly established.
It is commonly quoted that non-verbal communications accounts for up to 93% of the meaning that people take from any human communication.
Care must therefore be exercised when stating specific figures relating to percentages of meaning conveyed, or in making any firm claims in relation to non-verbal communications.
It is safe to say that body language represents a very significant proportion of meaning that is conveyed and interpreted between people.
Many body language experts and sources seem to agree that between 50-80% of all human communications are non-verbal.
Body language statistics vary according to situation, it is generally accepted that non-verbal communications are very important in how we understand each other (or fail to), especially in face-to-face and one-to-one communications, and most definitely when the communications involve an emotional or attitudinal element.
Body language is especially crucial when we meet someone for the first time.
We form our opinions of someone we meet for the first time in just a few seconds, and this initial instinctual assessment is based far more on what we see and feel about the other person than on the words they speak.
On many occasions we form a strong view about a new person before they speak a single word.
Consequently body language is very influential in forming impressions on first meeting someone.
The effect happens both ways – to and from:
When we meet someone for the first time, their body language, on conscious and unconscious levels, largely determines our initial impression of them.
In turn when someone meets us for the first time, they form their initial impression of us largely from our body language and nonverbal signals.
And this two-way effect of body language continues throughout communications and relationships between people.
Body language is constantly being exchanged and interpreted between people, even though much of the time this is happening on an unconscious level.
The people with the most conscious awareness & capabilities to read body language tend to have an advantage over those whose appreciation is limited largely to the unconscious.
You will shift your own awareness of body language from the unconscious into the conscious by learning about the subject, and then by practicing your reading of non-verbal communications in your dealings with others.
Body language is more than body positions and movements, Body language is not just about how we hold and move our bodies.
Body language potentially (although not always, depending on the definition you choose to apply) encompasses as how we position our bodies.
Our closeness & space between us and other people (proxemics), and how this changes facial expressions, especially eyes as to how eyes move & focus.
How we touch ourselves & others, how our bodies connect with other non-bodily things, for instance, pens, cigarettes, spectacles and clothing.
Body language tends not to include the pace, pitch, and intonation, volume, variation, pauses, etc., of our voice.
Arguably this last point should be encompassed by body language, because a lot happens here which can easily be missed if we consider merely the spoken word and the traditional narrow definition of nonverbal communications.
Voice type and other audible signals are typically not included in body language because they are audible ‘verbal’ signals rather than physical visual ones.
Nevertheless the way the voice is used is a very significant (usually unconscious) aspect of communication, aside from the bare words themselves.
Consequently, voice type is always important to consider alongside the usual body language factors.
Similarly breathing and heart beating, are typically excluded from many general descriptions of body language, but these are certainly part of the range of non-verbal bodily actions and signals which contribute to body language in its fullest sense.
More obviously, our eyes are a vital aspect of our body language.
Our reactions to other people’s eyes – movement, focus, expression, etc – and their reactions to our eyes – contribute greatly to mutual assessment and understanding, consciously and unconsciously.
“Massive feeling can be conveyed in a single glance”, like the eyes of two lovers meeting across a crowded room is not only found in old romantic movies, in actual it’s based on scientific fact – the strong powers of nonverbal communications.
These effects – and similar powerful examples – have existed in real human experience and behavior for thousands of years.
The human body and our instinctive reactions have evolved to an amazingly clever degree, which many of us ignore or take for granted, we can all learn how to recognize more clearly if we try.
Our interpretation of body language, notably eyes and facial expressions are instinctive & with a little thought & knowledge we can significantly increase our conscious awareness of these signals: both the signals we transmit, the signals in others that we observe.
Doing so gives us a significant advantage in life – professionally and personally – in our dealings with others.
Body language is not just reading the signals in other people.
Importantly, understanding body language enables better self-awareness and self-control too.
We understand more about other people’s feelings and meanings, and we also understand more about these things in ourselves.
When we understand body language we become better able to refine and improve what our body says about us, which generates a positive improvement in the way we feel, the way we perform, and what we achieve.