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Body Language Essay, Research Paper

Body Language

In most areas around the world, English and Latin are known as the universal languages. There is one language that most people forget, body language. Most body gestures are understandable to people all over the world. For example, most people realize that when a person has their arms crossed they are not very open to what another person has to say. Body language itself is great to analyze as a correspondent of written/spoken language because the roots of a gesture are often much more apparent than the roots for a word. Because body language involves physicality, interaction and communication can occur on a much more basic and primitive level as a means of communication.

All of us are trained in the use of speech, to communicate what we mean in a way that other people will understand. As we are trained to use speech to communicate we also are taught how to position our bodies to express what we are feeling. As children learn from their parents how to speak, they also observe the gestures that their parents use when saying certain words. Communication through body language is in this way somewhat of an unconscious learned behavior. A person’s external body language speaks amplitudes. Your subconscious mind records everything it sees and experiences, including body language and the words it hears, then analyzes their consistency and spits out true gut feelings. That is why you can usually rely on your gut feelings.By observing somebody’s posture, eye movements, and breathing you can gain information about what she/he is doing in her/his mind. You can get the same information by listening to the qualities of her/his tone of voice.

The style you use when speaking is as important as the words you choose to use. When someone has a very sarcastic tone of voice the speaker is often unpleasant about the topic that they are talking about. When a person’s tone of voice is sarcastic, their body language is often sarcastic. For example, when they are saying the sarcastic statement the speaker may roll their eyes. Most people are unconscious of their body language, but it speaks volumes about what they’re really thinking. Everyone uses body language to communicate, whether they are aware of it or not.

Body language is either positive or negative. Some examples of positive body language are relaxed posture, good eye contact, nodding agreement, smiling or adding humor, and gesturing warmly. Negative body language includes a tense body, having you arms folded in front of you, having a hand on your face, fidgeting, placing your arms behind head, leaning back, yawning, exhibiting impatience or distraction, leaning away, and displaying negative facial expressions. When a person is analyzing their body language they should try to appear open and warm, confident, trustworthy, and relaxed. When two people in a conversation exhibit these characteristics, a conversation is sure to go smooth and be successful.

Through life experience we have learned that people often lie with words. White lies are told numerous times in one day by a person. However, facial expressions and other body language tend to be more honest. When a person’s words and body movements are consistent, we feel more comfortable and confident that what that person is saying to us is true. When a person’s facial expression differs from their words, your experience tells you to believe the person’s body language, not the words. Everyone is aware that your body doesn’t know how to tell a lie. Body language, unlike spoken language is indefinite; so you have to be careful about how you interpret it. A certain movement or facial expression may be quite meaningful, or it may mean nothing at all. Therefore, it would not be wise to accuse someone of lying to you just because one of their gestures suggested that they were uncomfortable and lying.

It is impossible for a person to not communicate. No matter what you do, or don’t do, you still declare your emotional state. Each of us reveals our emotional state with non-verbal signals. During courting, and later in a romantic relationship, knowing what the other person is feeling helps you behave appropriately. But, to know what that person is experiencing, you must attack the environment with your eyes, ears, and yes, your inintuition. In relations miscommunication is often the cause of most of the arguments, that includes misunderstanding someone’s body language. For example, a person may get upset with their significant other simply for the look they have on their face when they say something, if something was said sarcastically, or if one person yawned in the middle of a conversation.

If you think about it everything that you think of as communication is actually body language: tone of voice, clearing our throats, rolling our eyes, touching our nose — everything except the words we say. Your eye contact, or lack of eye contact, communicates. Your pauses communicate. Your facial expressions communicate. Your crossed legs communicate. Your posture communicates. Your open hands communicate. Your aroma communicates. In particular, your appearance communicates; hair style, type of eye glasses, accessories, tattoos, and your overall choice of attire. Once again, everything about you is part of your personal communication.

Our bodies can be just as expressive as our tongues. In fact, they’re usually a good deal, clearer, as a physical gesture or reaction will inevitably expose precisely what our spoken words seek to evade. It is essential, then, for people whose work involves frequent interfacing with others, to become fluent in the communication source of body language. Body language reflects accurately one’s emotional and mental state. Non verbal signs are very effective. They have a critical influence on the communicational processes, on the impression one creates, the manner in which she/he is treated by others and her/his performance. Understanding the messages conveyed through the body is of significant importance in order to improve communication skills, to improve one’s personal and professional targets and to increase personal effectiveness in inter-personal contacts.

As we know, nonverbal communication is the way that you use interchangeable sets of

visual, vocal, and invisible communication systems to convey and interpret meaning. There are

many categories that are included in nonverbal communication: “paralanguage, or vocalics;

posture, movement; objects, or artifacts; space, or proxemices; time; and the five senses

(Zeuschner 80).” Vocalicsis when you use volume, tone, rate, pitch, and quality of your voice to

give magnitude and meaning to our words. Proxemics means using space to communicate.

Artifacts are those objects – clothing, jewelry, etc.- taht relay a message about you. Movement

includes your posture, walking style, gestures, eye contact, and facial expressions. Time, also known as chronemics, can communicate attitudes or status. Lastly, there are the five sense

feeling, touching, smelling, seeing, and hearing, all of which express information to you from

Lastly, there are the five sense feeling, touching, smelling, seeing, and hearing, all of which express information to you from others (Zeuschner 80). These components combine together to make up the basic parts of nonverbal communication. When you use these components together they make your communication skills clearer and you relay better messages to others. There have been estimates made about the impact of nonverbal communication on the total communication process. It is said that body language ranges from 65 to 93 percent of communication (Zeuschner 81). Actions that you use to illustrate non-verbal communication are displayed in these six functions of nonverbal communication behaviors:

(1) Substitutuing

(2) Reinforcing

(3) Regulating

(4) contradicting

(5) Managing impressions

(6) Establishing relationships.

The influence of body language is at least as important as verbal communication. It is always present among conversations and other methods of communicating. One of the many examples of body language would be if a male and a female were at a party together. If both people were at opposite sides of the room but they both wanted to talk, they would find other ways to communicate with each other. The girl may notice the guy looking at her. After she has made eye contact with the guy, she might smile at him to let him know that she wants to talk to him. He would then smile back and the two people would walk towards each other and begin to talk.

Realizing the weaknesses in your nonverbal communication can be the key to becoming a successful communicator. “Self-awareness can be developed simply by getting into the habit of noitoring your behavior and taking note of our posture, movements, and objects (Zeuschner 93).” It is a good idea for someone to get outside opinions from peers and authoritative people on what aspects of your communication could use some improvement. Videotaping yourself in real situations will also expose you to your flaws. Once you have made the steps of improvement to your own nonverbal communication, you may begin to realize and analyze the body language of others whom you are in contact with. If you are more understanding of how you portray your own body movements and the body movements of others your communication with others will result in happier, calmer, and more successful conversations with others. This can be beneficial to you not only in your personal relationships, but also in your business relationships.

One more example of how non-verbal communication can be crucial to your life is in the area of a business interview. If there are two people being interviewed for a job, both containing the same crudential

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