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The Importance of Body Language & the Non-Verbal Communication

The Importance of Body Language & the Non-Verbal Communication



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Published by: Cactus Devils on Oct 08, 2009
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Undeniably communication is an important foundation in the success of any organizations, individualsand even in civilizations. Even primitive people tried to find ways to communicate when things weremuch simpler then and non-existence of standard verbal language. Generally there are varied forms of communication. Each form is valuable and nonverbal communication is being one of them. The most profound nonverbal communication is body language or 
Body language is defined as nonverbal and mostly unconscious communication through the use of gestures, postures and physiologic signs, which act as cues to other people. New research in the fieldof cognitive and affective neuroscience suggests that even the breathing pattern is also part of bodylanguage communication’s aspect.
Understanding Of Body Language
Interest in body language first gained popularity in the early 1970s when Julius Fast wrote the pivotal book, appropriately titled
 Body Language
. Many of his findings have now been backed byneuroscience. Although the first known written work exclusively addressing body language was published in 1644 by
 John Bulwer’s, Chirolgia or the Natural Language of the Hand 
but scientificresearch only began with the 1872 publication of 
Charles Darwin’s: The Expression of the Emotionsin Man and Animals.
Since then, nonverbal communication has been the subject of extensive research.According to a research conducted by Professor Albert Mehrabian of the University of California, LosAngeles, 55 per cent of the message in face-to-face communications results from the body language
(Figure 1).
A person can have the right words and say everything to another person ears want to hear,and say it in a sensuous, elegant, resonant tone. But if the facial expressions are incongruous with whatit said, that person may have well said nothing.
Total Impact Of A Message In Communication
Non-Verbal(Face & Body)55%Verbal(How You Speak)7%Vocal(Voice Dynamics)38%
Figure 1: Total Impact of A Message In Communication
Body Language & Various Forms Of Nonverbal Communication
Body Language As A Language Itself 
Body language plays a key role in helping an individual to form quick impressions. Through bodylanguage, a person can convey a host of feelings without actually speaking a single word. It also caninclude any reflexive or non-reflexive bodily movements that an individual uses to convey message tooutside world. As a result, body language truly is
a language
in and of itself.Human beings are genetically programmed to look for facial and behavioral cues and to quicklyunderstand their meaning. The body language really can reinforce or contradict verbal messages because a person’s body discloses
 Action speaks louder than words
is an indicator that body language is the literal translation to this statement.The body language target point is a concept referring to wheel-like vortices, which, according totraditional medicine, are believed to exist in the surface of the etheric double of man. They are verysimilar to the
as used in Yoga. In Yoga the Chakras are said to be "force centers" or areaswhere energy permeates. They are points on the physical body, the layers of the subtle bodies in anever-increasing fan-shaped formation (the fans make the shape of a love heart). The Chakras arecenters of energy, located on the midline of the body. There are seven of them, and they govern our  psychological properties.The Chakras located on the lower part of our body are our instinctual side, the highest ones, our mentalside. The Chakras can have various levels of activity. When they're "open," they're consideredoperative in a normal fashion. Each one of the Chakras and one of the main body gestures relate to oneof the body language target points and ideally contribute to our being. Our senses would work together with our feelings and thinking, anytime there is a gag between what we think, feel or say, the bodylanguage sends a signal to us and to the environment. For example, one of the most basic and powerful body-language signals is when a person crosses his or her arms across the chest. This can indicate thata person is putting up an unconscious barrier between themselves and others. If you try to understandthe meaning of this gesture you will we see it is a gesture that is indicating we are protecting our chestagainst a possible attack, just like in animal behavior.
Importance Of Body Language
The ability to understand body language is a powerful tool that will help us connect with others,express what we really mean, navigate challenging situations and build better inter or intrarelationships. Researchers have succeeded in identifying a lexicon of feelings and their corresponding postures. Anyone with enough information can effectively read people’s feelings through their bodylanguage. Learning to interpret body language is not a hard task; you just need to know the familiar  postures in body language and their associated emotional states, and then link them together.The ancient Greeks and Romans were well aware of the importance of immediately determining whowas a friend or foe or 
knowing before whom they stood 
. The survival of their civilization dependedupon it. Likewise, every major religious doctrine discusses this concept. The Hebrew Talmund and theMuslim Al-Quran both discuss the value of recognizing specific traits within people that can affect an
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Body Language & Various Forms Of Nonverbal Communication
individual inter or intra personal relationships. This inscription is present in most synagoguesthroughout the modern world as it was in ancient times.
Conceptualization of Nonverbal Communication & Overview of Categories
Although every day we respond to thousands of nonverbal cues and behaviors, generally it can bederived as the following:
Facial Expressions
Facial expressions are responsible for a huge proportion of nonverbal communication. The human faceis extremely expressive, able to express countless emotions without saying a word. While nonverbalcommunication and behaviour can vary dramatically between cultures, the facial expressions for happiness, sadness, anger, and fear are similar throughout the world.
Gestures are woven into fabric of our daily lives. Gestures can be either ambiguous or unambiguous.Deliberate movements and signals are important way to communicate meaning without words.Common gestures include waving, pointing, and using fingers to indicate number amounts. Other gestures are arbitrary and related to cultures or regions.
Vocalics / Paralanguage
Paralanguage deals with vocal cues, more accurately referred to as the nonphonemic qualities of language. These include accent, loudness, tempo, pitch, cadence, rate of speech, nasality and tone,insofar as these convey meaning. Vocalics is sub-divided into several categories:
Vocal characterizes include laughing, crying, yawning and so on. These can be associated withculture, such as the different ways various cultures accept the practice of belching.
Vocal qualifiers such as volume, pitch, rhythm and tempo also associated with culturaldistinctions. In Arab culture, for example, speaking loudly connotes sincerity, whereas in NorthAmerica it often is interpreted as aggressive.
Vocal segregate such as “uh”, “mmmm”, “uh-huh” also differ among various cultures and time.
Vocal rate deals with the speed at which people talk. Another factor that offers variousinterpretations.
Chronemics deals with the use of time as an element of communication. Chronemics considers the useof monochronemics (doing one thing at a time, emphasis on schedules and promptness, getting to the point quickly) versus polychronemics (doing several things at a time, emphasis on people and thewhole of relationships). Monochronemics practice or conversation is common in Northern Europe and North America. Meanwhile, Latin American, Asian and Mediterranean cultures are more likely to use polychronemics conversation.
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