Body Language

What your body language speaks?

Kinesics communication is communicating by body movement and is the most well-known non-verbal form of communication, although it is not the only way to talk with others without words. Most no. of times we communicate through kinesics and don’t even realize. In corporate world knowledge of kinesics can lead you to the top of food chain and lack of its knowledge can even harm your reputation.

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There are three main parts of kinesics:
• Body language
• Gestures
• Facial signals

Body language
The way that the body is held can communicate many different messages. An open body that takes up a lot of space can indicate comfort and domination, whilst a closed-in body that makes itself small can signal inferiority. Copying of the other person’s body shows agreement, trust and liking.
For example the bosses are supposed to have big cabins where they have lots of space. It shows their dominance in their working space.

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Gesture is communicating through the movement of body and arms.
Ekman and Friesen (1969) identified five types of gesture:

Emblems are nonverbal signals that can generally be translated directly into words. Most people within a culture or group agree on their meaning. A good example is the “A-OK” symbol made with the thumb and forefinger. Because these gestures can be directly translated into words, they are quick to use and unambiguous in their meaning. However, as we noted earlier, culture quickly comes into play when you move outside of your “home” culture. For instance, in many parts of the world this gesture is directly translated as “OK”, but in other places it might be translated as “Zero” or “None”, and in others it is even understood to represent an obscenegesture representing a body orifice. Quite a different interpretation than being OK!

Illustrators are movements that complement verbal communication by describing or accenting or reinforcing what the speaker is saying. People use illustrators to indicate the size of an object or to draw a picture in the air or to emphasize a key word in what they are saying. These might include pointing to an object in the room or pounding on the table. The frequency of use of illustrators may vary by culture, but they are used widely. Use of illustrators can help indicate interest, efforts to be clear or enthusiasm for the topic being discussed.

Affect Displays
Affect displays are nonverbal displays of the body or face that carry an emotional meaning or display affective states. Our gait (bouncing, suggesting happiness for instance, or slouched and shuffling, suggesting depression), and our facial movements (breaking into a big grin, suggesting pleasure, or frowning suddenly indicating displeasure) send a message about our feelings. Affect displays are often spontaneous and thus they may send signals that we would rather not convey based on social norms or our goals for communication. We will explore facial expressions more in a later section.

Regulators are nonverbal messages that accompany speech to control or regulate what the speaker is saying. These might include the nodding of the head to indicate you are listening or understanding something, for instance, and you are encouraging the speaker to continue. Regulars are often associated with turn-taking in conversation, influencing the flow and pace of discussion. For instance, we might start to move away, signaling that we want communication to stop, or we may raise a finger or lift our head to indicate we want to speak, or perhaps show our palm to indicate we don’t want a turn at speaking.

Microsoft Word - Document1

Facial expression
When we communicate with others, we look mostly at their face. This is not a coincidence as many signals are sent with the 90-odd muscles in the face. The way the head tilts also changes the message. The eyes are particularly important, and when communicating we first seek to make eye contact. We then break and re-establish contact many times during the discussion. Eyebrows and forehead also add significant signals, from surprise to fear to anger. When not talking, the mouth can be pursed, downturned or turned up in a smile.

Adaptors are forms of nonverbal communication that often occur at a low level of personal awareness. They can be thought of a behaviors that are done to meet a personal need as one adapts to the specific communication situation. They include behaviors like twisting your hair, tapping your pen, scratching, tugging on your ear, pushing your glasses up your nose, holding yourself, swinging your legs, etc. Given the low level of awareness of these behaviors by the person doing them, the observer is sometimes more aware of the behaviors than the doer of them. Adaptors may thus serve unintentionally as clues to how a person is feeling. Adaptors are not intended for use in communication, but rather may represent behaviors learned early in life that are somehow cued by the current situation and which may be increased when the level of anxiety goes up in the situation.

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