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Solomon Konovalov
Solomon Konovalov

Body Language Extra Quality

There are many books and websites that offer advice on how to use body language to your advantage. For example, they may instruct you on how to sit a certain way, steeple your fingers, or shake hands in order to appear confident or assert dominance. But the truth is that such tricks aren't likely to work (unless you truly feel confident and in charge). That's because you can't control all of the signals you're constantly sending about what you're really thinking and feeling. And the harder you try, the more unnatural your signals are likely to come across.

Body Language

What you communicate through your body language and nonverbal signals affects how others see you, how well they like and respect you, and whether or not they trust you. Unfortunately, many people send confusing or negative nonverbal signals without even knowing it. When this happens, both connection and trust in relationships are damaged, as the following examples highlight:

If you want to communicate effectively, avoid misunderstandings, and enjoy solid, trusting relationships both socially and professionally, it's important to understand how to use and interpret body language and improve your nonverbal communication skills.

Body language refers to the nonverbal signals that we use to communicate. These nonverbal signals make up a huge part of daily communication. In fact, body language may account for between 60% to 65% of all communication.

Body language can tell you when someone feels anxious, angry, excited, or any emotion. It may also suggest personality traits (i.e., whether someone is shy or outgoing). But, body language can be misleading. It is subject to a person's mood, energy level, and circumstances.

Body language is a type of communication in which physical behaviors, as opposed to words, are used to express or convey information. Such behavior includes facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space. The term body language is usually applied in regard to people but may also be applied to animals.[1] The study of body language is also known as kinesics.[2]

Body "language" must not be confused with sign language. Sign languages are literally languages: they have (their own) complex grammar systems, and they also are able to exhibit the fundamental properties that are considered to exist in all (true) languages.[3][4] Body language, on the other hand, does not have a grammar system and must be interpreted broadly, instead of having an absolute meaning corresponding with a certain movement, so it is not a language, and is simply termed as a "language" due to popular culture.[5]

In a society, there are agreed-upon interpretations of particular behavior. Interpretations may vary from country to country, or culture to culture. (On this note, there also is controversy on whether body language is universal.) Body language, a subset of nonverbal communication, complements verbal communication in social interaction. In fact, some researchers conclude that nonverbal communication accounts for the majority of information transmitted during interpersonal interactions.[6] It helps to establish the relationship between two people and regulates interaction, yet it can be ambiguous.

Whilst facial body language can be interpreted as a sign of genuine emotion, a lack of it may suggest a lack of sincerity. For example, a lack of wrinkles around the eyes suggests a potentially fake smile. At one point, researchers believed that making a genuine smile was nearly impossible to do on command. When someone is smiling joyfully they wrinkle around their eyes. When someone is faking it, they do not. If someone is trying to look happy but really is not, one will not see the wrinkles. More recently, however, a study conducted by researchers at Northeastern University found that people could convincingly fake a Duchenne smile, even when they were not feeling especially happy.[16]

Studies and behavioural experiments have shown that facial expression and bodily expression are congruent in terms of conveying visible signs of a person's emotional state.[18][19] This means that the brain processes the other's facial and bodily expressions simultaneously.[18] Subjects in these studies judged emotions based on facial expression with a high level of accuracy. This is because the face and the body are normally seen together in their natural proportions and the emotional signals from the face and body are well integrated.

The body language of the head should be considered in conjunction with that of the neck. In terms of general posture, the head should be positioned in a manner which feels natural. Body language conveyed by the head and neck involves various ranges of movement. However, it is important to note that the positioning of the head should not cause the neck to be stretched or compressed for too long a period of time without relief. If the neck is strained in this manner, it may inhibit the ability to use it to convey body language messages effectively. In addition, some researchers and health practitioners have found that there is a relationship between prolonged poor posture of the head and neck, and negative mental states.[20][21] As such, body language which involves the head and neck should not cause strain and seek to be as natural as possible. As with all forms of body language, it is useful to understand as many other connected factors as possible in order to accurately identify the meaning.[22]

Emotions can also be detected through body postures. Research has shown that body postures are more accurately recognised when an emotion is compared with a different or neutral emotion.[32] For example, a person feeling angry would portray dominance over the other, and their posture would display approach tendencies. Comparing this to a person feeling fearful: they would feel weak, submissive and their posture would display avoidance tendencies,[32] the opposite of an angry person.

If a person has adopted the same body posture for too long a period of time, they may look stiff or strained. They may avoid this effect by adjusting their posture regularly, even if only by a small amount.

The posture and movement of the chest is a factor of fundamental importance when considering the messages the body as a whole sends out. In general terms, the relative fullness or shallowness of the chest, especially around the sternum, can be a key indicator of both mood and attitude. When the body language of the chest is assessed in everyday circumstances, it involves an instinctive assessment of these factors of shape and volume.

Touching the chest can indicate different things. A person who places two hands over their heart may do so to emphasise that they are being sincere in what they are saying. Rubbing the chest, especially over the heart, can be a sign of discomfort, possibly from stress and tension. As with other examples of chest body language, it may be related to a person's heart rate.[36]

Similarly to the chest, the posture of the shoulders is an easily observable body language sign. When the shoulders are back with the chest forwards this generally indicates confidence. If the shoulders are positioned forwards with the body hunched then this can be a sign of low confidence or self-esteem; it may also be demonstrative of a feeling of dejection or sadness.[38]Usually if a person is relaxed their shoulders are positioned lower; if they are feeling tense or anxious then they are held in a raised position.[39]

A shrugging of the shoulders, a quick up and down movement, is often given as a sign of not knowing something or being unable to help in some manner.Partly due to their prominent position on the body, strong and flexible shoulders can help to communicate a sense of vitality and natural rhythm. Contrarily, if the shoulders are weak and lacking in mobility, perhaps due to the frequent adoption of a slumped posture, then this can convey the impression that the person is depressed.[40]

Gestures are movements made with body parts (example hands, arms, fingers, head, legs) and they may be voluntary or involuntary.[7]Arm gestures can be interpreted in several ways. In a discussion, when one stands, sits or even walks with folded arms, it is normally not a welcoming gesture. It could mean that they have a closed mind and are most likely unwilling to listen to the speaker's viewpoint. Another type of arm gesture also includes an arm crossed over the other, demonstrating insecurity and a lack of confidence.[7]

According to body language specialists Barbara Pease and Allan Pease everybody does shoulder shrug. They state that the shrug is a good example of "a universal gesture that is used to show that a person does not understand what you are saying. It's a multiple gesture that has three main parts: exposed palms to show nothing is being concealed in the hands, hunched shoulders to protect the throat from attack, and raised brow which is a universal, submissive greeting."[41]

Body language related to breathing and patterns of breathing can be indicative of a person's mood and state of mind; because of this, the relationship between body language and breathing is often considered in contexts such as business meetings and presentations. Generally, deeper breathing which uses the diaphragm and abdomen more is interpreted as conveying a relaxed and confident impression; by contrast, shallow, excessively rapid breathing is often interpreted as conveying a more nervous or anxious impression.[46]

Covering one's mouth suggests suppression of feeling and perhaps uncertainty. This could also mean that they are thinking hard and may be unsure of what to say next.[7]What you communicate through your body language and nonverbal signals affects how others see you, how well they like and respect you, and whether or not they trust you.

Oculesics, a subcategory of body language, is the study of eye movement, eye behavior, gaze, and eye-related nonverbal communication. As a social or behavioral science, oculesics is a form of nonverbal communication focusing on deriving meaning from eye behavior.[48]It is also crucial to note that Oculesics is culturally dependent.For example, in traditional Anglo-Saxon culture, avoiding eye contact usually portrays a lack of confidence, certainty, or truthfulness.[49] However, in the Latino culture, direct or prolonged eye contact means that you are challenging the individual with whom you are speaking or that you have a romantic interest in the person.[49] Also, in many Asian cultures, prolonged eye contact may be a sign of anger or aggression.


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