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Body language:

Body language is a form of non-verbal communication,

consisting of body pose, gestures, and eye movements.
Humans send and interpret such signals unconsciously.

It is often said that human communication consists of 93%

body language and paralinguistic cues, while only 7% of
communication consists of words themselves however, Albert
Mehrabian, the researcher whose 1960s work is the source of
these statistics, has stated that this is a misunderstanding of
the finding. Others assert that "Research has suggested that
between 60 and 70 percent of all meaning is derived from
nonverbal behaviour.

Body language refers to any kind of bodily movement or

posture, including facial expression, which transmits a
message to the observer. Every part of the human body, either
in motion or stillness, conveys a meaning which depends upon
the physical, social, and cultural context of the action. The
message may be deliberately intended, expressed in some sort
of accepted code — as when a person points, shakes a fist, or
nods the head — or they may be involuntary gestures of
response, as when someone grimaces or cries aloud in pain.
Types of Body Language:

1. Facial Expression
2. Eye Contact
3. Gestures
4. Head, Body language and Posture
5. Appearance

Facial Expression:

A facial expression results from one or more motions or

positions of the muscles of the face. These movements convey
the emotional state of the individual to observers. Facial
expressions are a form of nonverbal communication. They are
a primary means of conveying social information among
humans, but also occur in most other mammals and some
other animal species.

Humans can adopt a facial expression as a voluntary action.

However, because expressions are closely tied to emotion,
they are more often involuntary. It can be nearly impossible to
avoid expressions for certain emotions, even when it would be
strongly desirable to do so; a person who is trying to avoid
insult to an individual he or she finds highly unattractive might
nevertheless show a brief expression of disgust before being
able to reassume a neutral expression. The close link between
emotion and expression can also work in the other direction; it
has been observed that voluntarily assuming an expression
can actually cause the associated emotion.

Some expressions can be accurately interpreted even between

members of different species- anger and extreme contentment
being the primary examples. Others, however, are difficult to
interpret even in familiar individuals. For instance, disgust and
fear can be tough to tell apart.

Because faces have only a limited range of movement,

expressions rely upon fairly minuscule differences in the
proportion and relative position of facial features, and reading
them requires considerable sensitivity to same. Some faces are
often falsely read as expressing some emotion, even when
they are neutral, because their proportions naturally resemble
those another face would temporarily assume when emoting.

Eye contact:
Eye contact is a meeting of the eyes between two individuals.
In human beings, eye contact is a form of nonverbal
communication and is thought to have a large influence on
social behavior. Coined in the early to mid-1960s, the term has
come in the West to often define the act as a meaningful and
important sign of confidence and social communication. The
customs and significance of eye contact vary widely between
cultures, with religious and social differences often altering its
meaning greatly.

The eyes, along with eyebrows, eyelid and the size of pupil
convey our innermost feelings. Eyebrows and eyelids raised
and combined with dilated pupil tell us that the person is
excited, surprised and frightened. On the other hand, eyebrows
with upper and lower eyelids closed and combined with
constricted pupil tell us that the person is angry or in pain.
These are most familiar eye patterns. Along with these eye
patterns, eye contact and eye movements are also meaningful.
Looking at somebody fir a long time shows the in ten city of
our interest in him. If the eye contact is brief, or we take our
eyes off the person very soon, it indicates nervousness or
embarrassment on our part. Off course, eye contact and eye
movements convey-their meaning in combination with facial

A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication in which

visible bodily actions are used to communicate particular
messages, either in place of speech or together and in parallel
with spoken words. Gestures include movement of the hands,
face, or other parts of the body. Gestures differ from physical
non-verbal communication that does not communicate specific
messages, such as purely expressive displays, proxemics, or
displays of joint attention. The language of gesture allows
individuals to express a variety of feelings and thoughts, from
contempt and hostility to approval and affection. Most people
use gestures and body language in addition to words when
they speak. The use of gesture as language by some ethnic
groups is more common than in others, and the amount of
such gesturing that is considered culturally acceptable varies
from one location to the next.

Although some gestures, such as the ubiquitous act of

pointing, differ little from one place to another, most gestures
do not have invariable or universal meanings, having specific
connotations only in certain cultures.

It is important to note that gestures are not used individually

but in relation to another person, and acquiring meaning at
particular times. That particular time, in an interpersonal
situation, may be at the beginning, middle or end of a
communication event. Speaking, for example seems to be
necessarily linked with gesturing. It has been observed that
intensity of speech is directly associated with the size of a
gesturing. The greater the gesture, the louder the speech.
Speech and gesture go together, and therefore have to be
properly co-originated. In the absence of speech-gesture-co-
origination, we experience, confusion and discomfort.

Head, Body shape and posture:

In any face-to-face communication or meeting or interview the
way we hold our head is very important. Everybody is aware of
the age old saying, ”Hold your head high”. It’s a sign of owner
and self respect, confidence, integrity and interest in the
person/persons before us. A head bent low, depending upon
the situation, would show modesty, politeness or diffidence. On
the other extreme a head drawn to far backwards or stiffly held
straight up indicates pride or haughtiness.

Behavioral scientists have studied the shapes of our bodies

and have broadly in the following three types:

1. Ectomorph : thin, youthful and tall

2. Mesomorth : Strong, athletic, muscullar and bony

3. Endomorph : fat, round and soft

We cannot do much about the shape of our body, but we can

no doubt put it to effective use. Both our body shape and
posture affect what we think about ourselves, how we relate to
others and how other’s relate to us or respond to our moves.
Mostly we act spontaneously, weather we meet a friend to
participate in a meeting. But we do become self-conscious
while appearing for an interview or making a presentation. On
such an occasion we try to make the best possible impression.
The effort use if may make the posture awkward.

Appearance, for our purpose, includes clothing, hair, jewellery,
cosmetics etc. all these may seem unrelated to body language.
But on having a closer look we find that they are very
meaningfully related to our face, eyes, gestures, posture etc.

A famous writer has said that a man is recognized by his,

“Dress and Address”. “Dress” does not need any explanation.
By address he means the way a person speaks to other. Every
occasion has its own particulate type of dress. It may be formal
or informal. It normally a pert of an organizations’ work rules to
have a formal suites or combination of jacket and trousers for
the working hours. Certain an organizations’ have a uniform for
all levels of workers. If one changes from the formal dress to
informal or casual he is easily noticed, and his dress speaks
volumes about his attitude to life, to work, to his colleagues
and his own feelings

Effective use of body language:

If Kinesics or body language is so important, the question is –
how to effective use of body language. Following are the some
useful tips regarding this:

1. Mind the body-talk: In our day-to-day communication

we should carefully notice details about the way we

speak, gesture and move. When standing we should keep
our shoulders erect, our body open and weight evenly
balance on both feet. But we should guard against giving
the experience of a ramrod-straight posture. Such a stiff
posture shows rigidity in thought. We should carefully
identify the little things that people do when they are
tense. Some people play their lock of hair or a pen in their
hand. Such behaviour, according to a psychologist,
undermines the straight of what we want to say.

2. Be Carefully With the Hand Shake: in the business

world, hand shake is very important. It conveys curtail

messages about power, status and concern for the people
we meet. The hand shake that really conveys confidence
is form and dry, with strong but not excessive pressure.
Bending the wrist or gripping only the fingers gives wrong

3. Establish good eye Contact: According to Austin,”eye

contact is the most remembered element in forming an

impression of someone. You must acquire the ability to
sustain direct eye contact if you want to be taken

4. Communication at the level of the person before

you: The way we hold our body can show the person
before us where we-and he/they-stand. If we fold our arm
across our chest while we talk, we are closing of
communication. If we tap our foot/feet, it shows that we
are impatient. With young children we should keen or
bend down so that we are able to look into their eyes.

5. We must be ourselves: Maple says, “Non-verbal

messages come from deep inside you, from your sense of
self-esteem. To improve your body language, you have to
start from inside and work outside. If you are comfortable
with yourself, it shows. People who know who they are
have a relaxed way of talking and moving.

Advantages Of body Language

1. Body language is the most easily visible aspect of
communication. It, therefore, helps the receiver of the
message in decoding the message.

2. Body language complements verbal communication.

Specially in face-to-face communication, no message
can be completely sent across without the
accompaniment of facial expressions and gestures.

3. Body language adds intensity to the process of

communication. In the absence of any gestures,
changes of posture, proper eye contact any face-to-
face communication will look bland or insipid.

4. Because people care for body language it goes a long

way to improve the overall atmosphere and looks of
the organization.

Limitations of Body Language

1. Since it is nonverbal communication, relaying on

facial expressions, gestures etc. It cannot be wholly

relied on. Words written or spoken can be taken
seriously, but body language cannot always be taken

2. People belonging to different cultures back grounds

send out different body signals. They are, therefore

liable to be misinterpreted. One has, therefore, to be
very careful in their views and understanding.

3. Facial expressions, gestures, postures. Become

ineffective if the listener is inattentive. It, therefore,
requires extra care in getting the right message.

4. Use of body language is not very effective in large

gatherings. It is effective in face-to-face situation,

that means there are just two or a small number of
participants in the communication.