BODY LANGUAGE (Part 1)
Julius Fast was the first author who published a book on Body Language in 1971.
- How does the body speak ?
It is unique that like any spoken language, body language also has words, sentences, and punctuation. Each gesture is like a single word and one word may have several different meanings. In a normal conversation only 7% of the message is conveyed through words and about 38% through vocal variety like – tone, pitch, modulation, pace of voice etc. The balance 55% is communicated through body language, using facial expressions, gestures, postures etc.
2. What is Body Language ?
Body Language is a form of non-verbal communication which consists of body posture, gestures and facial expressions, eye movements. Body language shows how our bodies reveal our thoughts, attitudes and desires.
“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about — .” Body Language comes in clusters of signals and postures, depending on the internal emotions and mental states. Body Language is the first language which we use from our childhood. Some symbols we use to send messages without speaking a single word. Body acts as a real ’truth talker’. It speaks much louder than the words.
3. Types of Non — Verbal Communication
4. How does the Body Speak ?
In normal conversation, less than 15% of the meaning is actually transmitted by words. So, atleast 85% of it is conveyed through body or through (non-verbal channel).
5. Components of Body Language
(a) GESTURES. A ’gesture’ is using your arms or hands to convey some meaning to another person.
(i) The Ring or ‘Ok’ Gesture. The ‘OK’ signal means: “Fine” or ” All correct” in most English-speaking countries OR “Zero” or ”worthless” in some parts of Europe.
(ii)The ‘Thumb –Up’ Gesture. In Britain, Australia and New Zealand the thumb- up gesture has three meanings “O.K”, “Fine”, or “good job”/ “Five” in Japan or “One” in Germany.
(iii) Pointing Finger. This hand gesture is an indication of a dominant to –subordinate behavior. An ’aggressive signal’, not liked by many. It can also be used to show directions or pointing out a thing or a person in concern.
(iv) Standard Arm Cross Gesture. This is a universal gesture showing defensive or negative attitude. But I believe that even a confident person displays this kind of gesture.
(v) Open Gesture. Shows frankness.
(vi) Shoulder shrug. Shows that a person does not know, or understand what you are talking about.
(vii) Common Gesture Clusters. The following gestures indicate openness and sincerity: Open hands, Unbuttoned coat or collar, Leaning slightly forward in the chair, Uncrossing arms & legs, Moving closer
Palm Positions — Dominant & Submissive
(b) Stance is how we stand in front of our audience, when we speak or interact in daily life.
(i) The Arm Cross
(ii) Standard Leg Cross Position. Shows nervous, reserved or defensive attitude.
(iii) The 4 ’Leg-lock’ Position. Sign of ‘tough-minded’, stubborn person
(c ) Posture. Posture can convey self-confidence, status and interest. Confident people have a relaxed posture, yet stand erect and walk with assurance. Walking with stooped shoulders projects lack of confidence.
6. Space & Distance — Proximix. Understanding each person’s borders is an important part of communication.
Edwin T Hall’s Zones of Space.
Every person has a natural territory that he / she carries around with him / her. So, one should be careful about how one enters the space of another. Territory also includes the arrangement of our office or home.
(a) Intimate Distance — actual touching to 6 – 18 inches
(b) Personal Distance: 18 inches to 4 feet . This includes the ”hidden dimension” of your ”personal bubble”.
(c) Social Distance: 4 to 12 feet
(d) Conversation Distance.
(e) Public Distance: 12 to 25 feet
(f) Territory :
(i) Intimate — –Touching = 6–18”
(ii) Personal — Close -1½ to 2½ feet & Far — 2½ to 4 ½ feet
(iii) Social — Close 4–7 feet & Far — 7–12 feet
(iv) Public — Close — 12–25 feet & –Far — 25 feet or greater
7. Body language is an important part of Communication. The non-verbal signals displayed by our body can send right/ wrong signals to the receiver. It can support or distort the message. In the second part of this write-up we will focus on the following factors of Body Language :-
(a) Personal Space & using it to our advantage
(b) Examining how Body Communicates from Head to Toe