This includes your posture, your facial expressions, and your hand gestures. The ability to understand and interpret body language will help you pick up on the concerns, problems, or negative feelings that other people might have. You can also use this in a constructive way to add power to your verbal messages.
Body language refers to the nonverbal signals that you use to communicate your feelings and intentions. It includes actions and mannerisms such as:
- The ability to understand and to interpret body language can help you to pick up on unspoken issues, problems or negative feelings that other people might have. You can also use it in a positive way to add strength to your verbal messages.
- All of these are universal to all humans, and people can perform them consciously or subconsciously to convey their thoughts and feelings towards countless things. In fact, body language is believed to constitute about half of what we are trying to communicate.
- However, this can depend greatly on context; for example, a person does not always need to verbally say "no" to communicate that something is wrong or that they disagree with what a person is saying. Instead, they can shake their head from side to side to communicate the same thing.
- Nonetheless, we all use various forms of body language in communication every single day, which is then interpreted by others. If a student is slouching in their chair in class and is making indirect eye contact, this will signal to the instructor that they are bored.
- It can also be used to enhance our verbal communication skills, and these often complement each other very well. For instance, if someone is asking for directions in a store on where to find a product and an employee merely says "over there," this information is not entirely helpful to the customer because it is too vague.
- At that point, the employee can be more specific with the location of the item by stating what aisle or department it is in; however, more often than not they will also gesture and point in the direction that the person should be headed in.
- Even if the employee was not very specific, and they said "over there" while also pointing, it still would be more helpful than the original scenario with no body language at all.
- You may not have realized it until now, but body language plays a major role in your everyday interactions, which is why it is one of the most popular topics within communication studies. In fact, it has been of interest for thousands of years - even the Ancient Greeks interpreted the meanings behind human physical behavior.
- Negative body language includes:
Tense facial expression.
Body turned away from you.
Poor eye contact.
- Positive body language includes:
Relaxed and open facial expression.
Arms hanging relaxed by the sides.
Regular eye contact.