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body language
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introduction 1
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par one skills and techniques ã
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Û] eye contact 0
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eye grammar 9
uses of eye contact 11
research into eye contact 1J
what our pupils can teach us 14
making beter use of your eyes 1b
exercises and experiments 1ô
W facial expression 18
the range of expressions Z1
faces and first impressions Z4
talking with your face Zb
face facts Zô
smile, you'll feel beter Z8
exercises and experiments Z9
0 head movements J1
talking heads J4
listening heads Jb
it depends on how you look at it Jô
how to use your head J7
nod if you want me to continue J8
exercises and experiments J9
M gestures and body movements 41
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let your body do the talking 9U
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Morris's gesture maps 9J
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peoplewatching 99
ì gesture psychology ôU
how to speak body language U]
exercises and experiments Ud
0ã posture and stance 00
mind-reading through posture Uö
I'm the king of the castle ôU
I'm inclined to like you ô1
posture research ôZ
exaggerated postures ô4
exercises and experiments ôô
00 proximity and orientation 07
seating arrangements 71
why do psychiatrists have couches? 74
status, proximity and orientation 7b
don't come any closer 7b
making interaction easier 78
exercises and experiments 79
07 bodily contact 81
bodily contact and touching 8ô
you need hands 88
hugging and kissing 89
don't push 90
better bodily contact 91
exercises and experiments 9Z
08 appearance and physique 9J
first impressions 9b
you've gota have style 97
soring the men from the women 98
body shape and size 99
people change 101
improving your image 1UZ
exercises and experiments 1UJ
09 timing and synchronization 1 0ã vii
time and tide 107
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good times and bad times 108
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silences and pauses 109
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dovetailing in discussions 110
geting a word in edgeways 111
how to use time effectively 11Z
exercises and experiments 114
1 0 body language and spoken language 1 1 0
supporing what is said 119
speech errors 1Z0
contradicting what is said 1Z0
political body language 1Z0
laugh and the world laughs with you 1ZJ
exercises and experiments 1ZJ
par two contexts 1Zã
1 1 body language around the world 1 Z0
cultural differences 1Z8
non-verbal universals 1J0
negotiating styles 1J1
business as usual 1JZ
what to do when you can't speak
the language 1J4
exercises and experiments 1J4
1 Z body language at work 1J0
occupational body language 1J8
the effective use of meetings 141
atitudes to workmates 14Z
the HLof industrial relations 14J
motivating others 14J
team building 14J
exercises and experiments 144
]ð everday encounters 140
the first five minutes 148
opening and closing conversations 149
viii
how to spot a liar 1bU
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small talk 1b1
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exercises and experiments 1bJ
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14 personal atraction 1 ãã 1
boy meets girl 1b9
take your parners 1ô1
getting on with people 1ôZ
star quality 1ôZ
how to be more attractive 1ô4
exercises and experiments 1ôb
1ã personal development 1 07
establishing rappor 1ô9
self-disclosure 17U
interactive skills 171
synergy 17Z
recording body language 17J
exercises and experiments 17J
conclusion 170
furher reading 179
index
18Z
In this book you will learn a language which everybody knows
already. This is the language of the body. Every time we talk to
someone else the body supplements what we say with dozens of
small gestures, eye movements, changes in posture and facial
expression. The fact that everybody knows this language already
will not prevent you from learning to 'speak' it more effectively.
Hence the reason for this book.
Most people do not realize just how much they use this
unspoken language every time they communicate with another
person. They use it unconsciously. And so do you. It may be that
you, too, do not realize it is possible to use body language more
efectively .. This book will prove otherwise. If you read it
carefully and put its guidance into practice, especially through
the exercises and experiments it contains, you will find yourself
becoming more skilled in the use of body language. And also
more skilled in understanding other people's use of it.
In the last 20 years, a great deal of research has been carried out
in non-verbal communication. Workers from the various
disciplines of psychology, sociology, anthropology and linguistics
have studied aspects of human behaviour that appear to have a
communicative function. A number of subdisciplines have
sprung up - kinesics, proxemics and paralinguistics, for instance
- to provide umbrellas under which various kinds of research
have been undertaken. The result is that we now know a good
deal more than we did about human interaction at the micro
level. In many cases, what was intuitively felt to be true on the
basis of common sense has been confirmed, but in others it has
not. The purpose here is to explore this rapidly developing field
to discover what has been learned and to assess the practical
implications and applications of this new knowledge. We have
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almost exclusively a matter of using language. It is time we took
more serious account of the impact of non-verbal factors in face­
to-face interaction.
This book sets out to explain what is known from research
findings about the skills and techniques of body language such
as bodily contact, proximity, orientation, facial expressions,
non-verbal aspects of speech, and so on. It examines how this
knowledge is applied in a variety of contexts and also how it may
be applied to better effect. The remainder of this introduction
will, therefore, oudine briefly, but in a little more detail than is
possible in a table of contents, the topics that you can expect to
encounter later. Hopefully, this will help to convince you that it
will be worth your while to persevere with your reading of the
book and perhaps also to participate in some of the practical
exercises and experiments which are suggested at the end of each
chapter. In the use of body language, as in many other fields, at
least as much may be learned from doing as from reading about
what others do. But the main hope in providing this oudine is
that, by the time you reach the end of this introduction, you will
have a clearer idea of what is meant by the term 'body language',
what kinds of behaviour it includes and also, fom their
omission, what kinds of behaviour it is not meant to include.
Eye contact and direction of gaze are considered in Chapter 1 .
They are arguably the most potent means of non-verbal
communication we possess. Eye contact maintained a fraction of
a second longer than the individual looked at considers
appropriate can lead to a reaction of physical aggression or, in
another context, be taken as an indication of sexual attraction.
We have to be carefl what we are doing with our eyes.
Chapter 2 deals with facial expressions, including smiling. The
smile is one of the few universals in body language, as is the
'eyebrow fash' of recognition and greeting. Our faces may not
always be our fortunes, but they are certainly where some of the
most powerful non-verbal signals originate.
Head movements and head nods, though stricdy speaking
gestures, are considered separately in Chapter 3. Their role in
social interaction is explained and the importance of head nods
when listening to others is discussed.
Gestures and body movements provide the focal point for
Chapter 4. It is in this area that many researchers have looked
for evidence of the existence of a body language with strict rules
like spoken languages, so far without success. However, as we
shall see, there are some indications that certain gestures in
certain cultures have quite specific and fixed meanings and a
nurber of gesture languages do exist, such as those used by deaf
people, but there are many and obvious differences beteen
these and the way gestures are used in normal everyday life.
Chapter 5 examines the role of posture and stance in body
language. Until recently this was thought to be an area more
suited to treatment in manuals of etiquette and deportment, but
it is now being taken more seriously as an aspect of behaviour
which can be rich in useful non-verbal signals. Posture can, for
instance, be a good indicator of an individual's state of mind at
the time at which communication is taking place.
mChapter 6 we look at proximity and orientation. Like posture,
orientation can tell us a good deal about individuals' attitudes
both to those with whom they are communicating and to the
nature, subject and setting of the communication. The concept of
personal space is explored, together with territoriality in human
behaviour. There is also a brief discussion of the concept of
defensible space and its personal and social importance.
Chapter 7 deals with body contact and touching. The main
distinction that is made between these two is one of intent, for
the former carries the implication of accidental touching and the
latter implies a deliberate act. But the difference is not a rigid one
and it is perhaps only possible to distinguish the two on the basis
of which part of the body is doing the touching; touching implies
that the hands are being used to make the contact.
In Chapter 8, appearance and physique are discussed. Simple
changes to these can have a signifcant efect upon an individual's
abilit to interact successfully with others.
Chapter 9 considers timing and synchronization as aspects of
bodV language. The importance of time in Western culture gives
|! an important role in communication. How well we
synchronize when talking with others can also be a major factor
|H successful interaction.
Chapter 10 considers the non-verbal aspects of speech. What we
>uV can be considerably affected by our use, deliberate or
unconscious, of pauses, 'ers', 'urs', changes in tone, pitch, pace
and accent, to name but a few of the features that are more
important than many people suppose.
3
4 Cultural differences in the use of body language are the focus of
attention in Chapter 1 1 . A attempt has been made here to
highlight some of the more unusual, unexpected and significant
differences, as well as to explore the general nature of cross­
cultural variations in non-verbal behaviour.
Chapter 12 explores the role of body language in occupations
such as nursing, teaching, television interviewing, business and
other forms of contact with the public.
Chapter 13 considers its role in various situations encountered in
everyday life, as well as in attempts to deceive others. A
systematic approach to analyzing oter people's body language
during small talk is suggested.
In Chapter 14, attention moves to the part played by body
language in establishing and maintaining relationships with the
opposite sex. It considers how non-verbal behaviour can be used
to make an individual appear more attractive with better self­
presentation and impression management.
Chapter 15 considers the role of body language in personal
development, with discussion of its role in such areas as
counselling and the development of interactive skills. It examines
how efective use of body language can contribute to personal
growth and the exploitation of human development. maddition,
the role of body language in the development of synergic
relatios (that is, those in which the outcome is greater than the
sum of individual inputs) is explored, together with its role in
establishing rapport, empathy and a sense of togetherness. It also
suggests how non-verbal behaviour can be observed and
recorded for analysis.
m the concluding chapter we review what has been learned and
consider the limitations and advantages of body language as a
means of communicating. Suggestions for frther reading
complete the book and should prove helpful to the reader who
wishes to explore the subject further.
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• eye contact and di rection of
gae are the most potent
means of nonverbal communi ­
cation we possess
• eye contact mai ntained a
fraction of a second longer
than the individual looked at
considers appropriate can
lead to a reaction of physical
aggression or be taken as an
i ndi cation of sexual attraction
• we have to look what we are
doi ng with our eyes.
We begin improving our mastery of body language by looking at
the eyes and at how they are used in the process of everyday face­
to-face communication. We begin with the eyes because they are
the most powerful means of communication we possess, after
words (although sometimes a single glance can speak volumes,
as they say). This power of the eyes is at its greatest, of course,
when two people are looking at each other (which usually means
looking at each others' eyes). This is usually called mutual gaze
or, as we shall call it here, eye contact.
Why eye contact should be so powerful is not clear. Several writers
on non-verbal communcation (an alterative and more accurate
term for body language) have specuated on the possible reasons .
Some have suggested that, fom the cradle, we fd other people's
eyes of compelling iterest and will even respond to sets of circles
that look like eyes because it is through the eyes that we fst have
contact with others. Some have suggested our response to eye
contact is instictive and conected with basic survival patters, in
that youngsters who could secure and retai eye contact, and
therefore atention, stood the best chance of beig fed and of having
their other needs satisfed. Others have suggested that the
signifcance of eye contact is learned and that, as we grow up, we
quickly lear not to misbehave uan adult is watchg us or we lear
that certain kinds of look tell us that people like us (or dislike us).
Whatever the reasons, the power of eye contact in communica­
tion is clear and we shall give most of our attention here to
considering the forms it takes, the uses it can be put to, and how
we can use it more effectively. First of all, though, let u� begin
our study of eye contact with an exercise. It will be helpful, as
you read through this book, if you can find the time to carry out
the simple exercises and experiments described. In this way, you
will learn better body language in the same way you would learn
to improve any other language. Here is an exercise in eye contact
for you to try as soon as a suitable opportunity presents itself.
After it, we shall discuss the kind of results you might have
expected. We shall do this in each chapter so that you will have
plenty of opportunities to put the instruction offered into
practice. You will find it helpful if, as you work through this
book, you record your responses to the exercises in a notebook.
Alternatively, if you have a cassette recorder, you may prefer to
record them on tape. In this way, you will have something to
refer to when you read through the Exercise review, which
follows each major exercise. You will find that this increases the
benefit you derive from your study of body language.
7
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Exercise: what are they looking at?
Next ti me you are in a publ i c place, l i ke a bar or a restaurant,
obsere the other peopl e present as discreetly as you can. Note
how they look at each other when they are tal ki ng. Note how l ong
each period of eye contact is (no need to ti me it -just note whether
the mutual gl ances are shor or long). Do they spend all their ti me
l ooki ng at each other or do they look around at the other people
p
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esent? Do they spend much ti me looking at objects i n the room?
How do they react when someone enters or leaves? What kinds of
people look at each other the most (and least) when they are
talking? How do the paterns of eye contact of people si ti ng side
by side difer from those of people sitti ng opposite each other?
What else do you notice about patterns of eye contact?
If your discreet obserations are noti ced by others, it wi l l be
advisable to abandon them for a whi l e. The reason for thi s is that
people can react in unpredictable ways to being watched. Some
become embarrassed, some will consider you some sor of
eccentric, others may become i rritable and even aggressive. You
mi ght l i ke to speculate on why this should be so. What is it about
being watched that should be so di sturbi ng? Some of the possi bl e
reasons wi l l be suggested i n the next secti on, but you wi l l find i t
useful to consider the problem first yourself before you read them.
Exercise review
So, what did you find out? If the obserations you made were anythi ng
l i ke typical (as i ndicated by the research studies on which this book is
based), you will probably have noticed some of the fol lowing poi nts:
T When people are tal ki ng, they do not look at each other the whole
ti me, but only jn a series of glances.
Z In places l i ke bars and restaurants, some time will be spent in
looking at other people present, especially those who are attractive
or who may be behavi ng oddly (e. g. drunks and those engaged in
disputes with a waiter).
Û Unles the above criteria apply, litle atention will be paid to saf
member of the establishment and even confidential converations
will probably continue uninterrupted when staf are withi n earshot (the
same usually happens i n places l i ke tais and chaufeur-driven cars).
4 When peopl e pay more attention to objects in the room and even
to the decorati on, it may si gnify that they are bored with the
conversati on, are newcomers to the place, or are so fami l iar with
each other (e. g. those who have been married a long ti me) that l ittle
conversation i s necessar (or possi ble).
5 Leaving or enteri ng a room tends to atract atention. Many people
who are a litle embarrassed about wal ki ng alone i nto a bar or a
restaurant tend to forget that this i nitial curiosity is typical and that
it wi l l cease as soon as someone else enters.
Ü Those who are havi ng an intimate, personal conversation may look
at each other more and for longer than those who are not.
Ï People sitting opposite each other will di spl
a
y more eye contact
than those sitti ng side by side. If those si ti ng side by side desire
more eye contact they wi l l turn to face each other.
Ü You will probably not have been conducti ng this exercise for many
mi nutes before someone has noticed what you are doing or i s at
least aware that you are not behavi ng normally.
Some of the possi bl e reasons why peopl e find it disturbi ng to be
watched by someone else are:
T The watcher may have the i ntention of harmi ng them i n some way.
Z Being watched makes you ask yourself why you are being watched,
which makes you self-conscious and therefore undermi nes your
self-confidence.
Û The watched may feel they ought to recogni ze the watcher and if
they cannot this may disturb the pattern of their interaction with
others.
4 They may thi nk the watcher is sexually atracted to them and may
not find him or her attractive, which would make them want to
avoid eye contact. They would find this dificult, and therefore
embarrassing or i rritati ng, if the watcher continued watchi ng.
5 They may be bei ng rather si l ly, as people ofen are when wi th loved
ones or friends, and may feel that the watchi ng stranger wi l l
assume they are always l i ke that. Thi s mi ght be a blow to thei r
i mages of themselves B i ntel l igent and sophisticated people.
Ü They may take the watchi ng as a sign that the watcher wants to join
thei r group and group members ofen do n
o
t welcome newcomers
as this afects the structure of the group. The smaller the group, the
stronger this feel i ng may be (witness the popular proverb, 'Two' s
company, three' s a crowd').
Eye grammar
Now that we have completed our first exercise, let us examine
some of the forms eye contact can take and some of the rules that
govern its use. Eye contact can be long lasting (as when to
lovers gaze into each other's eyes) or it can be short (as when
looking at someone we know does not like being stared at). It
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can be direct (a bold, full-frontal gaze) or indirect. It can be
intermittent (the kind we use in conversation simply to check
that the other person has understood us) or continuous (as in a
stare).
There are rules about where we can look at each other and for
how long. Try looking at someone's genital region or down a
girl's low-cut dress and you will soon realize that you have
broken a rule. Many people will find it embarrassing just to read
that last sentence, let alone try it out, so rigid is the rule under all
but the most exceptional circumstances.
Too much eye contact can be very unsettling for most people.
Staring is usually considered impolite, at the very least. The only
people who seem to be able to use a frank, open stare are young
children, in whom it may even be regarded favourably as a sign
of a healthy curiosity about the world.
It is nearly always tolerated in children, but some mothers
(especially of middle-class backgrounds) may tell children of
school age that it's rude to stare. It is almost never tolerated in
adults and those who stare are ofen regarded as mentally
defcient or socially dangerous and threatening in some way. A
continuous stare is an easy way to unsettle or provoke someone.
Most of the rules of eye grammar (as is the case with all other
forms of body language) are dependent on the context in which
eye contact occurs. Some, however, are universal- that is to say
they have similar applicability in any context, at any time,
anywhere in the world (or almost anywhere). The main ones,
according to Michael Argyle (see Further Reading at the back of
the book) and other researchers, are:
1 Too much eye contact (as in staring or frequent glances at
another person) is generally regarded as communicating
superiority (or at least the sense of it), lack of respect, a threat
or threatening attitude, and a wish to insult.
2 Too little eye contact is interpreted as not paying attention,
being ipolite, beig isincere, showing dishonesty, or being
shy.
J Withdrawing eye contact by lowering the eyes is usually taken
as a signal of submission.
4 A person will look at another a lot when:
• they are placed far apart
• they are discussing impersonal or easy topics
• they are interested in the other and their reactions
• they like or love the other person JJ
• they are trying to dominate or influence the other
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• they are extrovert
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• they are dependent on the other and the other has been
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unresponsive.
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5 A person will look at another very little when:
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• they are placed close together
• they are discussing intimate or dificult topics
• they are not interested in the other's reactions
• they don't like the other person
• the other person is of higher status
• they are introverted
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• they are suffering from one of certain forms of mental
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illness.
People will communicate with each other more effectively if their
interaction contains the amount of eye contact they both find
appropriate to the situation.
Uses of eye contact
A number of the uses that we make of eye contact have already
been mentioned, but there are others. Broadly speaking, most of
the uses can be grouped into six categories. We establish eye
contact when we are:
1 Seeking information.
2 Showing attention and interest.
J Inviting and controlling interaction.
4 Dominating, threatening and influencing others.
5 Providing feedback during speech.
6 Revealing attitudes.
Let us examine each of these categories a little more closely. The
kind of information we acquire through eye contact consists of
such things as clues about whether or not someone is telling us
the truth (liars tend to avoid eye contact unless they are very
brazen); whether someone likes us or not; whether the other
person is paying attention to or understanding what we say;
what a person's state of mind is (people who are depressed or
introverted, for instance, tend to avoid eye contact); and whether
a person recognizes us or not (here, eye contact will be used
together with facial expression to arrive at a decision).
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As soon as we look at someone, they know they have our
attention. If we look at them for longer than a few seconds, they
will infer that they also have our interest. Eye contact plays a vital
role in one aspect of showing attention and interest - in sexual
attraction. Consider the problem of indicating to a stranger that
you are sexually attracted to her (or him) if you are unable (or too
shy) to look at her. We shall consider the part played by all
aspects of body language in sexual attraction in Chapter 14.
When we look at someone, we invite them to interact with us. If
this iQteraction takes place, eye contact is then used in a number
of ways to control the nature and duration of the interaction. It
plays a major role in synchronizing what happens between two
people.
Not only is there more looking at the other when listening than
when speaking, but eye contact also signals the end of an
utterance when one speaker is, as it were, handing the floor over
to the other. When we greet people we not only look at them but
also move our eyebrows up and down quickly once. This
'eyebrow flash' as it is called occurs worldwide in a variety of
cultures as an indication of recognition and greeting (see Chapter
2) . When eye contact is broken, another pattern is seen.
Individuals habitually break gaze to left or to right - that is,
when they look away, they look to something else to the right or
the lef of the speaker. There is some evidence to suggest that left
breakers tend to be arts rather than science-trained and to be
visualizers with strong imagination. Right breakers tend to be
science-trained and to have less visual imagination. Further, if
people are posed verbal questions they will tend to break gaze to
the right and downwards; if they are asked spatial questions they
will tend to break to the left and upwards, though this tendency
is not as marked. Winking can also be used to control interaction
to indicate that something is not to be taken seriously or to show
a friendly attitude toward the other.
Long, unflickering looks are used by those who seek to dominate,
threaten, intimidate or otherwise influence others. Many people
do not like to feel dominated or threatened so that, if this kind
of behaviour occurs in situations like negotiations or interviews,
it can have an adverse effect on the outcome.
Feedback is important when people are speaking to each other.
Speakers need to be reassured that others are listening and
listeners need to feel that their attentiveness is appreciated and
that speakers are talking to them rather than at them. Both sets
of requirements can be met by the appropriate use of eye contact.
The efects of eye contact in interpersonal communication are
explored in the exercises at the end of this chapter.
Attitudes are often revealed by the willingness, or otherwise, of
one person to provide another with opportunities for eye contact.
People who like each other engage in more eye contact than those
who do not. Aggression, an extreme form of dominance, may be
signalled by prolonged eye contact - the phrase 'eyeball to eyeball
confrontation' conveys what is involved here. Shame, embarrass­
ment and sorrow are usually characterized by the deliberate
avoidance of eye contact. Other emotions, too, have typical eye
behaviour. When people are excited, their eyes tend to make
rapid scanning movements. When they are afraid, their eyes
appear to he frozen open, as if not to miss the slightest movement
that may bring danger nearer. When people are angry, their eyes
narrow, often into little more than slits. Sadness is expressed by
looking downwards as well as by reducing eye contact, and this
seems to happen almost universally.
Research i nto eye contact
It is not part of the purpose here to discuss research methods,
and those who are interested in exploring the subject of eye
contact in more detail should read Gaze and Mutal Gaze by
Michael Argyle and Mark Cook (Cambridge University Press).
But it is interesting to note that experiments have shown that
people, especially children, will respond even to very simple
drawings of eyes in much the same way as they respond to eyes
themselves. Eye movements when perceiving stationary objects,
or when reading, follow similar patterns to those used in the
perception of people. There are cultural variations in eye
contact, as we shall see in Chapter 1 1 . A good deal of evidence
has accumulated to indicate that greater eye contact leads to
greater liking - you can actually come to like someone more by
engaging in more eye contact with them.
There are considerable individual differences in the amounts and
types of eye contact employed (as, for instance, between intro­
verts and extroverts, or men and women) and there is the
consequent need to note the context carefully before attempting
too free an interpretation ·of the precise meaning of a particular
pattern of eye contact. Patterns of eye contact change with certain
kinds of mental illness and this may become a diagnostic tool in
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the future. Even when people are talkig on the telephone, and
therefore canot see each other, eye movement patterns have
many similarities with those in face-to-face communication.
In these and other areas, research into eye contact and eye
movement behaviour is revealing that the communicative uses of
the eyes are many and varied. The eyes are coming to be seen as
much more than 'windows to the soul' and it will be useful at this
point to consider some of the secrets of the eyes that we are only
now beginning to learn.
What our pupi l s can teach us
Two intriguing facts about eye behaviour have been discovered
in recent years. One is that when we see something interesting
our pupils dilate. The other is that we like people with dilated
pupils better than those with contracted pupils.
The first fact was the result of research carried out by Eckard
Hess and reported in his book The Tell-Tale Eye (Van Nostrand
Reinhold). In his experiments he showed people a set of five
pictures: a baby, a mother and baby, a nude male, a nude female.
and a landscape. He measured pupil responses to these pictures
and found that men's pupils dilated most to the nude female
(except for homosexuals, whose pupils dilated most to the male
nude). Women's eyes dilated to the male nude, but dilated most
to the mother and baby. His researches established that these
pupil changes equated to people's interest in the various pictures.
Hess also showed people two pictures of the face of an attractive
girl. The pictures were identical, but in one the pupils had been
retouched to make them appear larger. Almost everyone asked
thought the picture with the enlarged pupils was more attractive,
but very few were able to say why. It seems, therefore, that while
we respond to pupil changes, we are not aware of their effect on
our responses at the conscious level (see Figure 1 . 1 ) .
Pupil responses have also been used to measure attitudes towards
various things, such as products advertised or political candidates:
the more favourable the attitude, the more dilated the pupils. It is
also possible to measure changes in attitude by measuring changes
in pupil responses over time. Because pupil changes are not within
our conscious control they provide a very reliable indication of
interest, atraction and a number of diferent attitudes.
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llgBf0 J.J both faces are smi l i ng. but to most peopl e the one on the l eft
appears col d and i nsi ncere
what do you thi nk?
Maki ng beter use of your eyes
How can we use the kind of information given in the last few
pages to improve our use of this aspect of body language?
Firstly, we can become more observant. We can, without making
it too obvious, pay a little more attention to where other people
are looking and for how long. We can be particularly observant
about any changes in pupil size. This can clearly be done only
with people we are physically close to. We can note the amounts
of eye contact that the diferent individuals we meet seem to
prefer. And we can remember that we can ofen tell things about
others' real thoughts and feelings from how and where they look
that they would never think (or dare) to put into words.
Secondly, we can engage i more eye contact in order to promote
greater liking of ourselves by others and to produce other positive
responses.
Thirdly, we can remember that, on most occasions, a direct,
open gaze is preferable to any hint of avoidance of eye contact or
tendency to look quickly from one thing to another (which may
he interpreted by others as shifiness on our part).
Next, we can use all the information given above to increase our
sensitivity to the kinds and amounts of eye contact appropriate
|H different contexts and avoid the extremes of staring or a total
refusal to meet someone else's gaze.

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We can develop positive attitudes towards other people since this
will, quite unconsciously and without any effort, promote a
more effective use of eye contact on our part. We can develop a
more outgoing approach to other people for the same reason. If
you like people and go out of your way to mi with them, this
does seem, quite naturally, to produce a better use of eye contact.
Finally, we can use the information given in later chapters about
other aspects of body language to enable us to integrate better
use of eye contact into much more effective deployment of all
our non-verbal and verbal communication skills.
What you should do now is to set some time aside over the next
few days for practising the various uses of eye contact explored
in the exercises which follow.
Exerci ses and experi ments
J Look at me when I ' m tal ki ng to you
With a person you know wel l , in an encounter, provide them with B
much eye contact as you can without embarrassing them. Do they
appear to take this as a signal that you want to carr on talki ng and
prolong the encounter? You should find that they do.
.
2 Stari ng down
Stare at someone unti l they l ook away. Select someone you know
well enough to conduct this experi ment with but do not tell them
about it i n advance. Do not select a stranger as staring can easi l y be
i nterpreted as aggressive behavi our and may well provoke
aggression i n return. Consider how you feel as you perorm thi s
experiment. Ask your subject how he or she felt during your stari ng.
How l ong, approximately, was it before your subject looked away? If
you are able to tr thi s experiment with a number of people you
should not onl y be abl e to explore i n more detai l your own feel ings
about staring but shOuld also be able to col l ect quite a lot of useful
information about the nature and efects of staring generally.
3 Look i nto my eyes
Select someone you know well and l i ke ver much. Persuade them to
sit down with you and look i nto your eyes for about a mi nute. Then
di scuss what you both experienced duri ng the experiment.
9 Does'she/he l i ke me?
Select an atractive stranger at a pary, ni ght club or other pl ace
where it is socially acceptable for strangers to approach and talk to
each other. Tr to deci de from their eyes alone, as you chat casually
(if the music allows), whether or not they l i ke you. How does their
wi l l i ngness (or otherise) to engage i n eye contact afect your
estimate of how much they l i ke or di sl i ke you? Obsere other coupl es
and tr to assess the nature of their relati onshi p from the amount and
type of eye contact they engage i n. How easy or dificult i s it to select
just one aspect of body language for obseration i n this way?
J 7
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In this chapter V0U willieam:
• about faci al expressions,
i ncludi ng smi li ng
• the smile i s one of the few
universals in body l anguage,
as i s the 'eyebrow flash' of
recognition and greeti ng
• our faces may not always be
our forunes, but they are
cerainly where some of the
most powerul nonverbal
si gnals origi nate.
The study of facial expression has a long history. Charles
Darwin, of The Origin of Species and Voyage of the Beagle
fame, published the first serious scientific study, Expression of
the Emotions in Man and Animals, in 1 872. But physiognomy
had exerted many pseudo-scientific minds before that. Several
people tried to prove that facial appearance was a reliable
indicator of a variety of human traits such as intelligence,
criminality, emotional stability and even insanity. They failed, of
course. It simply is not possible to use the face as a reliable
predictor of very much at all. What can be done, however, as
present research indicates, is to use facial expressions (that is, the
face in movement rather than as a static object) as a means of
gaining a better understanding of what others are communi­
cating. In body language, the expressiveness of the face is second
only to that of the eyes.
We gain a good deal of our information about people's emotional
states from the expressions on their faces. Their attitudes towards
us can be clearly seen, according to whether their expressions
show pleasure or displeasure, interest or boredom, fear or anger.
Ofen the face is the frst part of a person we look at and so
expressions are used very much in greetings. One universal
phenomenon we shall be considering in this chapter is the 'eyebrow
fash', as one researcher has termed it. We shall see that facial
expressions are very powerfl in controlling the type and amount
of communication which takes place beteen idividuals.
We shall also see that we make personality and other judgements
about people on the basis of what we see in their faces. People
with attractive faces are often credited with having a number of
other attributes - which they may or may not possess. Combined
with the more effective use of the eyes, facial expressions can
take us an important stage further in our quest for mastery of
body language.
Exerise: smile 0 it kills you
Most of us wi l l have seen, at one ti me or another, a small notice of
the humorous kind that people worki ng in ofices and some places
where the publ i c are sered ofen di splay, which states: ' Be
dificult if you must, but smi l e if i t ki l l s you. ' The notice makes an
essentially serious point. It is that you can tolerate a l ot of
awkwardness in someone if they show by their face that they
genui nely do not wish to be awkward without good cause. Put
another way, if people show by their faces that they are doing their
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best to be pleasant to others, they wi l l be allowed greater extremes
of dificult and di sruptive behavi our than those who are unpleasant
in both action and manner.
The exercise for this chapter, then, i s that you should atempt to
practise the message in the notice. For the next week at least greet
everone you encounter i n the course of your work with a pleasant
smi l e, as if genui nely pleased to see them. You do not have to
mai ntain an inane grin on your face. It i s suficient for this exercise
that you at least meet people with a smi l e.
Note the reacti ons of others to your acti on. LO they return the
smi le? Does the encounter appear to proceed beter or worse than
it would normally do? Does anyone appear to be surprised? Or
suspicious? Does the encounter last longer or is it shorer than it
would otherise be?
Of the people you meet several ti mes duri ng the week, does there
appear to be any change taking place in the relationshi p between
you? I s there any diference i n the responses of men and those of
women? Or i n those of the young and those of the old? Or those
of superiors, col l eagues and subordi nates? Or those of fel l ow
workers in the organizati on and those of customers or cl i ents?
Note your own reactions. Did you find the exercise easy or difi cult?
Did you feel at all silly i n carring it out? I f so, why? Did you find your
atitudes to people changing at all? Did you find yourself spendi ng
l onger wi th peopl e you di sl i ke? Did you find yourself di sli ki ng them
any less? How do you feel when others smi l e at you?
Tr to keep a written or taped record of as many of the reactions
as you can.
Exercise review
Let us now consider how the exercise has gone, if i ndeed it has gone
at al l typically. You will i n al l probabi l ity have noticed some at least of
the fol lowing points:
T Most people wi l l have returned your greeti ng smi le.
Z Most encounters wi l l then have proceeded more smoothly than
they would normally have done.
Û Some peopl e, especially those with whom you have a relati onshi p
of mutual di sl i ke, wi l l have been surprised - but perhaps not
unpl easantly - by your new approach. Some, however, wi l l have
reacted with suspi ci on and wi l l have thought to themselves
'What's he [or she] up to?'
4 Encounters wi l l probably have tended to last rather longer than they
would otherise have done. People tend to allow a pleasurable
activity to be prolonged and will tr to shoren an unpl easant one,
for fairly obvious reasons.
5 You may well have found that, where you have met cerai n people
several times duri ng the week, your relationshi ps with them have
i mproved i n some way.
Ü Women tended to respond qui cker and more favourably than men,
if you are a man. If you are a woman, the reverse wi l l probably be
true.
Ï Young peopl e wi l l have tended to respond more readi l y than older
people.
Ü Subordi nates and colleagues wi l l have generally responded beter
than superiors, though even here your more positive approach wi l l
not have gone unnoticed and may well pay of later.
Ü Customers and cl i ents wi l l probably have responded much more
readily than fel low workers. It is in such ' publ i c contact' (as it is
ofen cal l ed) that positive actions such as smi l i ng are pari cul arly
i mporant.
Now, how about your own reactions? Some points you may have
noted are:
T Afer some i nitial awkwardness, you should have found the
exercise quite easy to carr out.
Z You should not have felt si l l y duri ng the exercise. I f you di d,
perhaps you were not following the i nstructions closely enough.
Maybe you were i ncl i ned to grin or to keep the smi l e on your face
a l ittle too l ong.
Û You shoul d have found your attitudes to others i mprovi ng and
becomi ng more positive.
4 You may well have found yourself spendi ng more ti me with peopl e
you di sl i ke and you might even have found yourself di sl i ki ng them
just a l ittle less.
5 You must l i ke it when others smile at you, surely? Wel l , remember
that they will feel just as pleased when you smile at them.
The range of expressi ons
When you consider how many muscles there are i n the human
face, it is not surprising that the range of facial expressions we
can produce is very wide. There are many subtleties in changes
of expression which can be shown - consider, for instance, the
great variety of smiles possible between the Mona Lisa's partial
ZJ
Z smile and an open grin. However, in communication, facial
expressions are most commonly used to express a degree of
emotion and there are a limited number of these most of us can
in practice recognize with any reliability.
Two American researchers, Paul Eckman and Wallace Friesen,
have discovered that there are six principal facial expressions
which are used to show when people are happy, sad, disgusted,
angry, afraid and interested (though the last is not really an
emotion) . They have found that these are about the only
emotions most of us are likely to agree about when we see others
expressing them. In this case, we might usefully look a little more
closely at each of the six.
Smiles, though wide-ranging, can be categorized as: slight smiles,
normal smiles ( of the kind we hope you were using in the last
exercise) and broad smiles. In a smile, the mouth is usually
closed, but in open smiles the teeth can be showing. A broad
smile with the teeth showing will usually be called a grin and
grins can be classified as closed (with the teeth together) and
open (with the teeth parted) . Smiles are normally used as a
greeting gesture and generally to indicate varying degrees of
pleasure, amusement and happiness, though in some contexts
they can show aggression, sarcasm and other negative feelings.
The converse emotional area, sadness, has no such single
expression to typify it. Sadness, disappointment and depression
are usually revealed by lack of expression and by such things as
turning down of the corners of the mouth, a downward look and
a general sagging of the features. Extremes of sadness will be
characterized by the appearance of tears, trembling of the lips
and attempts to shield the face fom view.
Disgust and contempt are shown by a narrowing of the eyes and
a grimacing mouth, which becomes more pronounced with
increasing strength of feeling. The nose will also probably be
wrinkled up and the head turned aside to avoid having to look
at the cause of the reaction.
Ager is most commonly characterized by steady gaze at the
source of ofence, frowning or scowling and a gritting of the
teeth together. Some people go pale when angry, but others go
red - and even a purplish colour - in extreme anger or fury. The
whole body posture will be tense, as if ready to spring into
immediate offensive action or attack.
Fear has no single expression to betray its presence. It may be
shown in wide open eyes, an open mouth or by a general
trembling which affects the face as much as the rest of the body.
There may even be signs of perspiration and a paleness of
colouring.
Interest is ofen indicated by what is called the 'head cock' -
holding the head at an angle to the subj ect of interest. Interest may
also be shown by eyes that are wider open than normal and a
slightly open mouth (especially common in children who have
their interest taken by something) . When people are seated, the
chin may be propped by the fngers if they are listening attentively.
llgBf0 ¿.J can you correctl y i denti fy each of the emoti ons i l l ustrated above?
(a) happi ness, (b) sadness, (c) disgust/contempt, (d) anger, (e) fear, (f) i nterest
Z3
These are j ust some of the many facial expressions to be watched
for and noted in building up mastery of this aspect of body
language ( see Figure 2. 1) .
Faces and fi rst i mprssions
It is said that the most critical period i n an encounter between
to people is the first five minutes ( one writer has even suggested
it is as little as four minutes) . The impressions formed in this time
will tend to persist and even be reinforced by later behaviour,
which will tend to be interpreted not obj ectively but in the light
of these first impressions. We tend to note the occasions on
which our first impressions of people were mistaken and had
later to be revised because there are so few of them. Since the face
is one of the first features we notice about a person it can clearly
play a vital role in the process of establishing relationships with
others.
A gesture which appears almost universally at the beginning of
the greeting phase ( especially when meeting people we know
well) is the eyebrow flash. This consists of a rapid up and down
movement of the eyebrows, with an accompanying smile, and it
seems to show the person we are about to talk to that we are
pleased to see them. In the case of people we know, it seems to
operate as a gesture of recognition. It is widely used in both
advanced and primitive societies.
When we first meet someone and look at their face, probably the
first j udgement we make is whether we like them or not; whether
we fnd them attractive or unattractive. A good deal of evidence
has been accumulated about what are generally regarded as
attractive facial features. People shown photographs of a number
of other people will usually agree on which are the handsome
men and the beautiful women. Features that are commonly stated
as contributing to attractiveness are well cut and styled hair, a
high forehead, clear eyes, a smooth complexion, even teeth and a
general symmetry of features (although research has shown that
no-one's features are perfectly symmetrical) .
But i n these first few minutes we do more than simply decide
whether or not we like someone. We make j udgements about
their character, personality, intelligence, temperament, personal
habits, working abilities, suitability as a friend or lover, and so
on. All of this is done on the basis of very little information about
the other - and yet we are more ohen right in these judgements
than we are wrong. Ask yourself how ofen you recall changing
your first impression of someone and compare this with the total
of all the people you have met. Alternatively, over the next week
keep a record of all those you meet for the first time. In a couple
of months' time review the record and decide in how many cases
you had to change these first impressions. Chances are there
won't be many ( see also Chapter 13) .
Tal ki ng with your face

Next to the eyes the face is the most powerful means by which
we communicate non-verbally. We use it - and others rely on it
2
for indications - to show how rewarding we are as individuals,
to express our emotional state of the moment, to indicate how
attentive we are to others, and so on. A smile tells people we are
pleased to see them, a frown warns them off. A downcast look
tells them we're not feeling too happy, a raised eyebrow and a
twist to the mouth shows we are in playfl mood. A head cocked
on one side shows we are listening. We shut our eyes and the
lecturer at the front of the class knows we have switched off.
We can say quite a lot with our faces. We can use facial expressions
to comunicate when words are inappropriate. Someone says
something out of place and we try to show in our faces that they
have commited a fau pas. m a noisy factory, words are totally
useless but a fiendly gri gets the message over.
Facial expressions can, however, be used to reinforce the impact
of verbal messages. A mother scolds a child and her face tells her
offspring that she really is displeased this time. A group of shop
stewards tell the management their reaction to the latest pay
offer and the set of their j aws tells the management to go away
and come up with something better. At an official gathering, two
totally opposed individuals make polite conversation, but their
frosty faces betray their mutual animosity.
It is clear from what has been said so far that the face's main role
in our use of body language lies in the expression of emotions. As
we saw earlier, there is a limited number of emotions that can be
reliably recognized by observers of the face. Nevertheless, the face
undoubtedly has a contribution to make, not only to the
expression of any emotion but also to the expression of any degree
of emotion - no matter how subtle. Tis is a point which will
apply to the degree that many other parts of the body contribute
to our use of body language, and we should not mislead ourselves
into thinking that many messages are simply and clearly conveyed
by one part of the body alone. Most messages are context­
dependent when it comes to flly understanding them.
Another aspect which deserves consideration is how far artefacts
contribute to non-verbal messages. Such artefacts can include
moustaches, beards, spectacles, ear-rings and the use of make­
up. Since such things change our appearance we need to take
into account their efects upon how others will perceive us. For
instance, moustaches will often be taken to indicate greater age
than a clean-shaven upper lip, which may be a reason for their
popularity with young men. Beards may be taken as a sign of an
independent mind which resists pressures to conform. Spectacles
often lead to individuals being credited with greater intelligence
than they actually possess. Ear-rings, if worn by men, may be
interpreted as a sign of efeminacy, though some boys currently
wear them as a defiant gesture of emerging masculinity. A girl
who wears heavy make-up risks ( often unfounded) conclusions
concerning her moral standards.
From this we can see that we do not always send the non-verbal
messages we intend to send. The more we are aware of such
pitfalls in the unspoken language of the body, the better we shall
be able to use it.
Face facts
Research into facial expressions has not only explored their role in
expressing emotions; it has also examned their role in revealing
personality, attitudes towards others, sexual attraction and
attactiveness, the desire to communicate or initiate interaction,
and the degree of expressiveness when communicating. It has also
produced some other rather interestig fndings.
Facial expressions can be afected by a person's state of health.
It has been found that before a woman undergoes childbirth her
face shows more signs of anxiety and stress, though those who
have had a child already usually show fewer signs. People who
have ulcers frown more than those who haven't. Depressed
patients have been found to smile more widely afer having
electro-convulsive therapy than before it.
Diferent parts of the face are attended to when observers are
perceiving diferent emotions. Fear is usually looked for in the
eyes, as is sadness. Happiness is seen in the cheeks and the mouth
as well as in the eyes. Surprise is seen in the forehead, eyes and
mouth movements. Anger is perceived from the appearance of
the whole face and not j ust from the brows and the colour of the
face as many people suppose.
The expression on te face, when people are comunicatig, is
constantly changing. Amongst the changes new research techniques
have enabled us to ident are micromomentary facial expressions.
These last for a faction of a second, as their name implies, and often
indicate a person's true feelings. For example, a person may be
sayig that he is pleased to see someone and may be smiling but may
reveal hs true attitude with a micromomentary expression of
disgust. Such expressions are too feeting for most people to
perceive them, but they can be capted by the camera. Research
lie this ofers many possibilities of using body language to discover
what others are really tg and feeling.
A number of studies have been made of individuals' abilities to
copy the facial expressions of others. Most were able to copy
better with the aid of a mirror but very anxious individuals
tended to do better without a mirror. Apparently, no one has yet
followed up this research by investigating the practical
applications, for example, in counselling work. Some studies
have also suggested that when individuals copied smiles they felt
happier, which has some interesting possibilities that we shall be
studying in the next section of this chapter.
Differences have been observed in the ways men and women use
facial expressions when communicating. Women tend to laugh
and smile more than men, but more often because they find the
situation slightly uncomfortable than out of greater sociabilit.
People tend to talk less, make more speech errors and smile more
when attempting to deceive others than when being completely
open and honest. Nurses' ability to deceive by the expression on
their faces correlated with their subsequent effectiveness in their
work, as j udged by superiors. Since nurses ofen have to conceal
from ill patients j ust how ill they are, this finding is perhaps not
surprising but it does suggest that people, like nurses, who spend
their working lives dealing with other people should receive
training in the use of body language.
One psychologist has found that people j udge things such as
criminality from the face. A number of photographs of innocent
people were shown and subjects were asked to allocate such
crimes as armed robbery and rape to the appropriate faces. A
Z7
signifcant number of people, for instance, picked out one
unfortunate innocent as a rapist. Research like this tends to make
one uneasy, not only about, say, police identifcation parades but
also about the signals we may unwittingly be sending to others
about our own attitudes, personality and behaviour.
Smi le, you' l l feel beter
Because the smile is probably the most universally used and the
most positive facial expression, it will be useful if we examine it
in a little more detail here. Smiles are used all over the world to
indicate or reflect pleasure or happiness. Even children who have
been blind from birth smile when they are pleased. Smiles are
also used to show reassurance, amusement and even ridicule. We
shall be concerned here with the positive uses to which smiles
can be put.
Smiles are rarely used deliberately, but they can be. Experiments
have shown that if individuals are asked to smile and are then
shown pictures of various events, they report that the pictures
please them and even make them feel elated. If individuals are
asked to frown during the same kind of experiment, they report
experiencing feelings of annoyance and even anger. Research
like this perhaps provides some scientific support for the popular
saying 'Laugh and the world laughs with you'.
Smiles can also be used to mask other emotions. A athlete who
loses to a particularly disliked opponent will still try to smile
bravely to hide his disappointment. A smile may also be a
submissive response to ward off another's atack. Those who
work jn occupations that bring them into contact with the
public, such as receptionists or aircraft cabin crew, are trained to
use smiles to reassure clients and passengers. Smiling may be
used to make a tense situation more comfortable. A smile will
tend to call forth a smile from the other person and thus ease
away the tension.
The best time to test the power of the smile is when you least feel
like smiling, whether through illness or depression. Force a smile
on to your face and keep it there for as long as possible. Each time
the smile disappears, wait a few minutes and then tr again. Within
a short time, you should notice a distinct improvement mhow you
feel. This technique will not always work, but ver ofen it will and
is certainly at least worth a try. Of all the facial expressions that we
use, the smile is the one most worth encouraging in ourselves.
Exerci ses and experi ments
J Good morni ng, world Î
There are two versi ons of thi s experi ment - one for the ti mi d and one
for the bold. The ti mi d should select peopl e they know, the bold can
tr it on anyone they meet. When you go out tomorrow momi ng, do
not smi l e when greeti ng people you meet i n the street. Count how
many smi l e. The fol l owing morni ng smile warmly i n greeti ng at
everone you meet. Count how many return your smi l e. What' s the
diference? The bold will find the greatest diference. It's surprisi ng
how many strangers wi l l smi l e if you smi l e first. I t's as if they want to
al l the ti me but are j ust a l ittle afraid to take the i nitiative.
2 Face exercises
To develop muscle tone (get ri d of flabbi ness and a saggi ng face), tr
each of these exercises for one mi nute ever day:
a Stari ng from the face at rest, grin broadl y, preferably lifing the
eyebrows at the same time.
D Staring from the face at rest, pucker the l i ps i nto a tight round ` L´ .
C Staring from the face at rest, lift the chi n as hi gh as i t wi l l go, raise
your eyebrows and alternately grin and pucker.
Do these exercises i n front of a mi rror if you can.
3 Stop frowning
Whenever you have any concentrati ng to do, pl ace your pal m across
your forehead. If you find you are frowni ng, stop it. If you have to
move your face at al l , tr raisi ng your eyebrows so that your forehead
creases horizontally rather than verically. You wi l l find that one result
of this exercise i s to make you less prone to headaches.
9 Show your feel i ngs
I n front of a mi rror, practise each of the fol lowi ng emotions i n
sequence:
a happi ness
D sadness
C surprise
D disgust
e fear
f anger.
Z
3 I f you can secure the cooperation of someone else, see if they can
i dentify each emotion from your expressi on. Var the sequence to
make the task a l ittle more dificult for them. This exercise will tell you
how wel l you express your feel i ngs. I t wi l l also tell you how good your
parner is at recogni zi ng emotions. You can reverse roles once your
parner has fully grasped the nature of the exercise and you may even
be able to i nvolve others. It can make a useful l ittle pary game, with
poi nts given for accuracy i n recogniti on.
Ü Is your face your forune?
Col lect six photographs of peopl e' s faces, one of which shoul d be a
well known atractive fi l m or ¯star. Show them to as large a number
of peopl e as possi bl e and ask them to rate the attractiveness of each
face on a scale of T to 1 Û. Do you find others' rati ngs agree with your
own? Do they tend to agree on the most attractive face amongst the
six? The exercise shoul d provide some fasci nati ng i nsi ghts i nto
people's percepti ons of others.
6 How many faces?
Study the faces of those you meet. Can they be classified i nto types?
Do si mi lar ones keep croppi ng up? Or i s ever one uni que?
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In this chapter VOU will lear:
• head movements and head
nods are considered
• their rle in social interction is
explained and the i mporance
of head nods when l i steni ng to
other is explai ned.
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If you watch two people talking, you will notice that, in addition
to the movement of their mouths and changes in facial
expression as they talk, their heads move in what may appear to
be quite random ways. Not so. These movements are no more
random than the eye movements and facial expressions we have
already examined. In this chapter we shall consider some of the
ways in which we can use our heads to help us speak body
language more effectively.
The most obvious and perhaps most frequently used head
movement is the nod. Over most of the world it signifies
agreement, affirmation or approval and can therefore be very
useful when verbal language differences make communication
difficult. We shall make a particular study of this.
Head movements are important not only in talking but also in
listening for, as we shall see, if they are used properly they can
help us to communicate more easily and if they are misused they
can quickly afect adversely a relationship with another person. A
nod must not be used when a shake would be more appropriate,
and vice versa. There are times when the head should be bowed
and times it should be held erect.
Head movements can be used as speech markers, in social
acknowledgements, as gestural 'echoes' ( we shall look at this
phenomenon in more detail in the next chapter) , and to indicate
our attitude towards an encounter and how we see our role
within it. They are, then, capable of much greater versatility and
subtlety in expression than might be supposed and there are
many individual movements whose significance and usefulness
to us we shall explore. We shall find that there are many more
ways in which we can use our heads than we ever thought
possible.
We will need to remember not to try to interpret head movements
in isolation. The focus of our attention in this chapter is on how
the head moves - but this does not mean forgetting all about the
effects other elements of body language can have. A good
example is the wink. This may seem to be simply an eye move­
ment, but it is also a facial expression and, since the head usually
moves slightly to one side when winking, it is a head movement.
Only when one is winking surreptitiously will there be no head
movement. In fact, the presence or absence of head movement
can be a crucial factor in interpreting the significance of a wink.
Exercise: on the nod
Because the head nod is such a common movement, it wi ll be useful
for us to base the main chapter exercise on it. Select a conversation
with someone you know wel l. P they talk, nod your head
encouragingly. Do they seem to do more of the tal king or less?
On another occasi on, with the same person, as they tal k do not nod
your head at al l . Do they seem to do more of the talking or less?
Afer each conversati on, record your i mpressions i n your notebook
or on tape.
Repeat the exercise with a stranger and record your i mpressions
i n the same way.
Now, preferably with the same peopl e, nod for half the conversa­
tion and then stop. What happens?
Note down your own feel ings about the exercise. Did you find it
easy or dificult to do? Which pars were the easiest and which the
most dificult?
Consider how other people use nods when they are talking to you.
Obsere interiewers on television, preferably with the sound
turned of. What ki nds of things do you notice about noddi ng
behaviour? Do peopl e nod most when tal ki ng or l istening? Why do
you think this is? Are there any other thi ngs you notice about the
ways people use nods i n face-to-face communication?
Exercise review
Now let us look at what you mi ght have di scovered. The comments
ofered here wi l l also be relevant when we return to the subject of
head nods later i n thi s chapter.
I n the first par of the exercise, noddi ng your head should have
encouraged the other person to speak more and for longer. Refusi ng
to nod should have resulted i n the other person dring up and endi ng
the conversation ver quickly. You shoul d have had the same
experiences when conversing with a stranger, except that you may
have noticed that the stranger stopped tal ki ng qui cker when head
nods are absent than someone you know wel l .
When you were noddi ng for half the conversation and not for the
other half, you should have seen si mi lar responses. The first half of
the conversation will almost cerainly have gone much beter than the
second half. The other person will have conversed much more freely
and easily when you were noddi ng than when you were not.
3
3 As far as your own feel i ngs are concerned, you wi l l almost cerai nly
have felt more comforable and at ease when you were allowed to nod.
I n fact, you may even have found it i mpossi bl e not to nod at times.
I n obseri ng other peopl e's noddi ng behavi our, you shoul d have
noticed that most people nod much more when they are l isteni ng
than when they are talki ng. Television i nteriewers, for i nstance, nod
when they are l isteni ng to interiewees' answers precisely because it
encourages them to open up and talk more fully about the subject.
Noddi ng, as we shall see later, is a major way of showi ng that we are
attendi ng to what another peron is sayi ng.
Tal ki ng heads
As with other aspects of body language, head movements can be
used for a variety of purposes. They can be used to indicate
attitudes, to replace speech and to support what is said. They can
even contradict what is said and if this happens, as in other
forms of body talk, what the head movements say will be
beljeved in preference to the words uttered.
Let us, for example, take the role of head movements in
expressing, whether consciously or unconsciously, a person's
attitudes. When the head is held high and possibly tilted slightly
backward, this is ofen interpreted as being prompted by a
haughty and even aggressive attitude (if accompanied by such
things as a fixed stare, a curl to the lips and an unusually red -
or occasionally white - face) . A lowered head indicates
submissiveness or humility or even depression (if accompanied
by such factors as slow and infrequent low-voiced speech, a
general sagging in posture and an avoidance of eye contact) .
Head movements have an interesting use as speech markers.
Slight head nods, sweeps to one side and chin thrusts act as
stresses, when speaking, to place emphasis on certain words and
phrases. The kind of context in which this type of behaviour is
most readily observed is the public speech, where it is necessary
to have rather more dramatic emphasis than in everyday
conversation. This applies to gestures, too.
The head can be used to point in those situations in which finger
pointing would be considered inappropriate or even rude. The
head is moved to indicate the direction in which one wants
someone to look or move. It is also ofen used by the chairs of
meetings to indicate who is the next person to have his or her
permission to speak.
It is interesting to watch people's heads as they are speaking
(television without the sound is a good medium to use) in order
to observe the small but rhythmic movements made by the head
in accompaniment to speech. If you do this, see if you can, for
instance, match the head movement to the end of a sentence. It
is normally marked by a slight downward movement, with a
slight pause before the head moves again.
Listeni ng heads
3
We have already encountered the use of the head nod in listening
behaviour (in the exercise at the beginning of this chapter) and,
8
because it is of such key importance to our mastery of body
language, we shall return to it at the end. But there are other
behaviours that are important to efficient listening.
One of these is the direction in which the head is pointing. It is
always difficult to accept that someone is listening to us if they
are looking away from us. If they are indeed listening, we expect
that they will at least be looking at us. Why this should be so is
not clear because it is obviously quite possible to be listening
intently even if your eyes are closed and you are facing in the
opposite direction. Nevertheless, listening, like many other
things, it appears, must not only be done but must be seen to be
done.
Aother behaviour is the 'head cock', holding the head at a tilted
angle to the person being listened to ( Figure 3. 1) . It is used very
much by animals, especially dogs, and also by children, who
even use it when speaking to another person whose attention
they are seeking to secure - almost as if they were showing the
other person how he or she ought to be behaving if they were to
exhibit the desired degree of attention.
When we are listening to others we tend unconsciously to copy
their head movements. It is almost as if we wish to demonstrate
a commonality of interest by a commonality of behaviour.
It is also quite common, when listening in a reasonably intimate
setting, to bring the head closer to the person being listened to.
The tete-a-tete ( or head-to-head talk) can even become literally
true in the case of lovers whispering quietly to each other.
Physical closeness is used as an indication of intellectual and
emotional closeness.
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llgBf0 J.J two versi ons of the head cock
When listening in a seated position, the head is often propped by
the thumb and the first two fingers of the hand. This is widely
interpreted by speakers as a sign of intelligent interest. Care must
be taken, however, for if the chin is propped in the palm ( and
especially if the eyelids begin to droop) it may be taken as an
indication of boredom, with both the speaker and what he or she
is saying.
Efficient listening, then, is by no means purely passive. A active
use of the kind of behaviour outlined above can help to show
speakers that they are receivig your full and undivided attention
- or that they are not.
It depends on how you l ook at it
The orientation of your head when looking at people can have a
marked effect upon their interpretation of your behaviour. One
of the reasons that makes it possible for you to look at someone
' out of the corner of your eye' is that, as indicated above, people
will expect the focus of your attention to be where you are
looking. This is not infallible, however, and if the direction of
gaze is too obviously at variance with the direction of the head
or if sideways glances are too long or too frequent they will be
spotted.
Although indirect observation is frequently not a socially
acceptable activity, using head movements to indicate a lack of
seriousness in one' s attitudes may well be. Tilting the head to one
side ( in a similar manner to the head cock described above) can
be used to indicate that what one is saying is not intended to be
taken seriously. It can also be used as an appealing gesture,
particularly by young attractive girls when talking to young men
in a flirtatious or playful manner. It may be used in greetings,
accompanied by the 'eyebrow flash' discussed in Chapter 2, in
order to achieve an extra degree of friendliness in the greeting.
The head can be used aggressively. Thrust forard from the
shoulders, it poses a threat to an opponent and, in the often
horrifying tactic of the teenage hooligan in the form of a
headbutt, it can even be used as a weapon. Less aggressive
people, like politicians making forceful speeches, can use the
head in small sharp downwards movements to add emphasis to
particular words and phrases.
There are sex differences in the use of head movements, as in
many other aspects of the use of body language. Women use the
head cock more than men and are often shown in advertisements
and magazine pictures with tilted heads. Men tilt their heads
forward in a greeting nod more than women. Women are more
frequently observed with the head lowered in a submissive
gesture than are men. It may be that such differences in
behaviour are non-verbal markers in social interaction of
differences in gender. It may also be that, as women become
increasingly liberated, such differences between the sexes will
become less marked.
How to use your head
As we have seen, you can use your head for many more things
than j ust keeping your ears apart. In this section we will review
what we have learned about head movements and highlight
those that we can make practical use of in the future.
First of all, head movements are useful as a means of social
acknowledgement. Men tend to use a nod to signify that they
have seen and recognized someone; women tend to use a head
tilt. There is no reason why these behaviours should continue
unchanged in the fture, but it may be more effective socially to
follow the convention of the company in which you find
yourself.
37
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Head movements can be used to beckon someone in circum­
stances where a shout or even a wave would be inappropriate.
This beckoning movement takes the form of a diagonal throwing
back of the head and may be repeated several times, depending
on the urgency of the 'come here' request.
To express doubt or reluctance, the head is sometimes swayed or
rocked from side to side, as if weighing a request or a
proposition in the balance. To express disdain or haughtiness, it
may be tossed or shaken, in much the same way that a defiant
horse tosses its head. This gesture is probably more frequently
used by women than men. A gesture more commonly used by
men is the head swivel, which takes the form of turning the head
to look at the obj ect or person newly observed. It often occurs
when a man catches sight of, or has his attention drawn to the
presence of, an attractive woman.
Winking, accompanied by a short, sharp downward tilt of the
head to one side, is a useful gesture. It can show that a statement
is not meant to be taken seriously. It can be humorously
conspiratorial, saying 'You and I are in this together' , or, 'This
is a secret between the two of us' . It can simply be used as a
gesture of friendly social acknowledgement.
Head movements can express attitudes and it may be better,
therefore, unless you want to appear humble or submissive, to
hold your head reasonably erect. This will also tend to encourage
good posture.
Nod if you want me to conti nue
The head nod signifies agreement, approval, acceptance,
continuing attention and understanding according to the context
in which it is used. Broadly speaking, the strength of the nod
( that is, the degree of up and down movement) declines through
these categories.
The largest nods usually indicate agreement, whilst the slightest
nods can provide a speaker with feedback on how well he is
being understood. As with other body movements, however, the
further away the speaker is, the greater the degree of movement
has to be in order to be accurately perceived.
The least obvious, and yet in many ways the most efective, use
of the head nod is in showing continued attention. As you
probably found in the exercises at the beginning of this chapter,
nodding fairly frequently ( but not continuously) when someone · 39
is speaking encourages them to speak for longer and to say more.
A number of research studies have quantified this and have
l
shown that the amount of speech that can be generated in this
d
way can be three or four times greater than normal. It is a finding
d �
which is of important practical value to the process of making
interviews and discussions more productive and effective.
I
Refusal by a listener to nod can cause a speaker to dry up
completely without knowing why, apart from experiencing a
vague feeling that the listener was not really attending, even if he
or she was looking at the speaker most of the time.
Training courses in the use of body language should make a
a
particular point of showing these various uses of the head nod.
It is a technique which has an importance quite out of
proportion to its apparent significance. In this it is comparable
to the techniques of using eye contact discussed in Chapter 1 and
is commonly used by a listener in combination with an increased
amount of eye contact.
Nodding is also important, as we have seen, in enabling a
speaker, especially a public speaker, to emphasize particular
words and phrases. Here, it needs to be used with some degree
of discrimination. Otherwise it can, like any other technique of
giving emphasis to statements, lose much of its efect. Too much
repetition removes the impact of any emphasizing technique.
As men tend to use head nods more than women, it may well be
useful for women to practise using head nods rather more.
However, there is some evidence to suggest that women are
thought to be better listeners than men and this may mean that
it is only when speaking that women need to use more head
nods.
Exercises and experi ments
J Head cock
Look for instances where other peopl e use head cocks. Watch young
chi l dren who have not yet leared to speak fluently, if you can. They
seem to make more use of body language, almost cerai nl y because
of their lack of verbal ski l l . I n your encounters with others tr usi ng
head cocks a l itl e more to show interest. Don't make them too
obvi ous or exaggerated or the result wi l l si mpl y look si l ly. You shoul d
fi nd peopl e begi n to speak to you more.
4
2 Tete-a-tete
Look for examples of people tal ki ng with thei r heads touchi ng or ver
close together. I s it only lovers who converse i n this way? You should
find that those who want to prevent others overhearing them keep
thei r heads closer together - for exampl e, businessmen, or a group
tel l i ng di rty stories (note how the latter move apar when laughi ng at
the punch l i ne).
3 Head dance
Watch a ¯discussion programme without the sound and concentrate
on the paricipants' head movements. Note how the sl i ght movements
up, to the lef, to the right, and down seem to have a patern to them.
Note also how the end of a sentence seems to be matched not only
with a pause but also with a downward movement of the head.
9 What can your head say
Usi ng the informati on given i n this chapter and any other sources you
can find, make a l ist of all the messages that head movements alone
can convey to others. But remember, it must be the head alone.
lRtDÎs chapter VOU will lear:
• gesturs and boy movements
prvide the focal point
• ther ar i ndications that
cerain gesturs in cerain
culurs have quite specific
and fixed meanings
• a number of gestur languages
do exist, such B those use
by the deaf.
4Z It is in the use of gestures that our mastery of body language can
achieve real eloquence. Eye contact, facial expression and head
movements, though of vital importance, have certain limtations.
Gestures permit a degree of expressiveness and subtlety that is not
possible with other aspects of non-verbal communication. It is the
use of gestures to convey meanig that most people thin of when
they talk about body language and in this chapter we shall consider
the variety of messages for which gestures can be the vehicles.
Several writers have attempted to classif gestres into categories.
Michael Argyle has suggested that there are fve diferent fnctions
that gestures can serve:
• illustrations and other speech-linked signals
• conventional signs and sign languages
• movements that express emotions
• movements that express personality
• movements that are used in various religious and other rituals.
Paul Eckman and Wallace Friesen have also suggested that there
are five groupings, but their categories are:
• emblems (movements that are substitutes for words)
• illustrators (movements that accompany speech)
• regulators (movements that maintain or signal a change in a
person's listening or speaking role)
• adaptors ( movements such as scratching one's head, rubbing
one's hands or fiddling with obj ects, which tend to cast light
upon a person's emotional state)
• afect displays (movements that more diectly reveal emotions, as
facial expressions do).
However they are classifed, gestures can be used to express a range
of attitudes, emotions and other messages. Mchael Argyle quotes
a number of conventional gestures that seem to have almost
universal meanngs. Examples are shaking the fst to show anger,
rubbing the palms together in anticipation, clapping as a sign of
approval, raising one's hand to gai atention, yawning out of
boredom, patg someone on the back to encourage them, and
rubbing the stomach to indicate huger. Gerard Nierenberg and
Heny Calero suggest that gestures are used in expressing, amongst
many other thigs, openness, defensiveness, readiness, reassurance,
fustration, confdence, nervousness, acceptance, expectancy,
relationshps and suspicion. They show that these gestures are used
even in sitations i which the other person cannot be seen, as
when makig a telephone call or using a tape recorder.
It is this richness of silent communication that we shall now
begin to explore. But first, as in other chapters, let us attempt an
exercise which will put us in the right frame of mind for what is
to come.
Exercise: everday mime
Fi nd a situation that you can obsere where people cannot
communicate with each other by usi ng words, because it i s too
noi sy, because si lence is necessar, because they are too far apar
to hear each other, or because there i s some other barrier to
spoken communicati on. Examples might i nclude a noisy factor, a
¯ studi o, a restaurant, a bui l di ng site, a hospital, a l i brar or an
exami nation hal l . Look for, and note down, gestures used in such
contexts to attract attenti on, to di rect, to tell someone there i s a
telephone call for them, to beckon, to greet and bid goodbye, to
i ndicate passage of ti me, to keep quiet, and to convey any other
messages that gestures can be used for.
What si mi lariti es and differences do you notice? What exampl es of
special codes do you come across? How successful do gestures
seem to be as a means of communicati on? What are thei r
advantages? What are thei r l i mitations?
How useful are gesures when communicating with someone who
does not speak your language? What kinds of needs or requests can
most easily be conveyed by gestures? Which are the most dificult to
express? Which are i mpossible to expres? How well do words
translate into gestures? How well can geturs express emotions?
How well can they exprs or request detaile information?
As a furher alternative, if you can secure the cooperation of a
group of people (for i nstance, if you are a member of a class whi ch
i s using thi s book), you can pl ay charades or a versi on of the game
i n which two teams tr to guess the title of a fi l m, ¯show, radi o
programme or book and get pOi nts for succeeding withi n a ti me
l i mit of, say, two mi nutes. Thi s can be not onl y a good exercise i n
using gestures but also great fun - there i s, afer al l , no reason at
al l why learni ng shoul d not be enjoyabl e.
What ki nds of situations or titles are easies to guess from gestures
alone? Wha kinds of peple are best at communicating through
gestures? Why do some people seem to be incapable of geting a
message over through getures? What are the secrets of successful
charades playing? How do you identif the key elements in situations
or titles for communication through gestures and body movements?
4
4 Exercise review
Where you noticed si mi lar gestures being used i n widely diferent
contexs, you have probably witnessed ' universal' gestures or
conventional gestures of the kind referred to earl ier. You should have
noticed that gestures become more del i berate and even exaggerated
with increasi ng di stance between those i nvolved. You mi ght have
noticed a diference i n the gestures used i ndoors and those used
outdoors, with i ndoor gestures being more control l ed and subtl e. You
may have noticed diferences between men and women, adults and
chi l dren (a fasci nati ng area for gesture study is of ver young chi l dren
at playgroups) or people i n diferent social classes i n the gestures
they use; that the gestures used duri ng daytime difer from those
used at ni ght, as do gestures used at work and those used in l ei sure
contexts.
You wi l l probably have found that peopl e at work seem to have their
own codes for the meanings of gestures. This is especially noticeable
i n places l i ke ¯studios, where si lence on the par of non-parici pant
studi o floor staf is essential . You may have concluded that gestures
are useful but that their usefulness has cerain l i mitati ons. The
advantages of gestures are that they assist communi cation where
people cannot speak to each other easi ly, they can act as a kind of
convenient shorhand and they can add an interesti ng degree of
expressiveness to everday social interacti on. Thei r restri ctions are
that the amount of information they can convey is l i mited, cerain
thi ngs cannot be communi cated by gesture alone (try expl ai ni ng your
name and address by gestures alone), and i n cerai n contexts they
can simply be unsuitable (for exampl e, to warn someone of
i mpendi ng danger). If you have been able to obsere peopl e of
different languages tring to converse, you wi l l almost cerai nl y have
noticed that they rely heavily on gestures.
Si mpl e, basic needs with which everone i s fami l iar (l i ke hunger and
thi rst) are easier to communi cate than compl ex or sophisticated ones
(such as the locati on of the best ni ght cl ub or a pari cul ar brand of
product which is not on di spl ay). Some messages may be so long and
involved as to defy communicatio
n
by gesture at al l . Generally
speaki ng, nouns and verbs translate more easi ly i nto gestures than
adjectives, adverbs and other words. Gestures are probably most
useful i n expressi ng attitudes and emotions, which is true for most
other aspects of body language.
If you played charades or the title-guessing game, you probably
found that situati ons or titles whi ch contain reference to acti on or
movement were easi er to communi cate by gesture than those
referri ng to abstract qual iti es (l i ke truth, j ustice, democracy and bel i ef
or to stati onar objects (l i ke house, road, fence and chair - you
usually need to gesture the shape of thi ngs l i ke thi s, which is cheati ng
a l i ttle). You probably found that outgoi ng and sociable peopl e are
better at this kind of game than the shy and reti ri ng, though ofen the
latter have hidden talents which only need bringing out. Some people
are so self-conscious they cannot communi cate i n this way at al l . This
book should help such people to relax, even if they don't actually do
any of the exercises. The secrets of successful charades pl ayi ng and
porrayal of titles are to concentrate on actions and movement, then
on shapes, then on those elements si mi lar to other activities that can
be easily conveyed by gestures (such B getti ng the 'Tale' across by
gesturing a waggi ng tai l i n Ï8ÌÐ OÍÏWO LlllÐS - ' City' is an exampl e of
a ver dificult word to convey, but most people will guess it if they get
the first three words).
Let your body do the tal ki ng
Any part of the body can be used to make a gesture. We have
already considered the use of the head ( see Chapter 3) . If here we
work our way down the rest of the body, we shall be able to
identif most of the other gestures and body movements that
have communicative value.
This aspect of body language is usually called kinesics. This is a
term coined by an American researcher, Ray Birdwhistell, who
was one of the first to �tudy body-motion communication when
serious interest in it began in the late 1 940s. A kine is the smallest
observable unit of body movement and kinesics refers to the
scientific study of gestures and other body movements.
The most common shoulder movement is the shrug, which
usually conveys the messages 'I don't know', 'I don't care' , 'I am
doubtful', or 'What can you do? ' ( i. e. this situation is really
hopeless) . It is an up and down movement of both shoulders and
may be accompanied by appropriate facial expressions and head
movements. A single shoulder being shrugged usually means,
'Take your hand off my arm ( or shoulder)' or 'Leave me alone' .
The chest can be puffed out as a gesture of pride or achievement
but it is commonly only used in a humorous and self-mocking
way. Someone who used it seriously would probably be
considered conceited.
4
% The stomach can be sucked in as if to say, 'I am really fit' or 'I'm
not as fat as I look' . Even though men do tend unconsciously to
hold their stomachs in when in the presence of an attractive girl,
this gesture is also used only half-seriously.
The pelvis and the buttocks can be used to make gestures, but
most of them are interpreted by others as sexual invitations and
are often considered obscene. Perhaps if you need to use such
gestures as invitations it is a sign that your mastery of body
language is, to say the least, unsophisticated.
The arms, hands and fingers are used for a great variety of
gestures, and we will look at some of these in a little more detail
in the next section. We shall be selective for it would simply not
be practicable to consider all the possibilities. One interesting
hand gesture, however, is steep ling. In this the tips of the fingers
are placed together in what resembles an attitude of prayer
except that the palms are kept well apart. Nierenberg and Calero
quote this as a gesture which signifies confidence, or at least a
desire to make a listener think one feels confident.
Legs can be crossed or uncrossed and many writers have tried to
put all kinds of messages into these gestures. It may be an
exaggeration to suggest that when a woman crosses her legs and
pulls her skirt down to cover her knees she is cutting off the
possibility of an approach, but it is interesting that women will
usually sit with their legs crossed even when they customarily
wear j eans or trousers. Men seem to be quite happy on occasion
to lounge around in an open-legged posture.
Feet can be interesting. When they tap or twitch they can be
examples of leakage, that is, a person is trying to conceal some
attitude or information from others and is not quite succeeding.
Someone who plays poker regularly may always know when one
of his friends has a good hand because, despite having the
traditional give-nothing-away poker-face, his foot twitches.
Such leakage usually occurs in the lower half of the body,
probably because we take more trouble to control things like
facial expressions.
Another interesting phenomenon is the gestural echo. Watch a
group of people conversing and note how, when one person uses
a gesture, others will use it later. As we shall see in the next
chapter, something similar happens with posture. It also
happens, incidentally, with words during conversations.
Morri s's gesture maps
Desmond Morris was a very popular writer on the subj ect of
non-verbal communication. He and a team of researchers from
Oxford University published a guide to the origins and
distribution of 20 selected gestures. From information gathered
from 40 places across Europe, they were able to identif how
commonly each of the gestures occurred and what meanings
were attached to them. Their findings indicate how important it
often is to know the context in which a gesture is used before
trying to interpret its meaning. They also show that a gesture in
one part of Europe can sometimes have the opposite meaning
from its usual meaning in another. Some of these are illustrated
in Figure 4. 1 .
The first gesture Morris's team studied was the Fingertip Kiss. In
this, the tips of the fingers and thumb are kissed and then the
hand is moved quickly away from the mouth and the fingers
spread out. It is symbolic of the mouth kiss, which is a gesture
used all over the world to show affection. The gesture is most
commonly used to indicate praise in Spain, France, Germany and
Greece. In Portugal, Sardinia and Sicily it is used as a greeting.
Its use is relatively rare in the British Isles and in Italy.
A gesture which appeared to have a common meaning all over
Europe was the Nose Thumb, in which the thumb is placed on
the end of the nose and the fingers are fanned out and sometimes
waggled. It is generally used as a gesture of mockery or insult.
The Fingers Cross, in which the first and middle fingers are
twisted around each other and the remaining fingers are held
under the thumb, in contrast, has several meanings. Its main
purpose is as a gesture of protection. When someone tells a lie
they will cross their fingers ( sometimes using both hands) in the
superstitious belief that this will prevent the wrath of the gods
falling on them for their deceit. This meaning is most common in
the British Isles and Scandinavia. In Turkey, the gesture is used
to break a friendship. Elsewhere it is used to indicate that
something is good or OK, to swear an oath, or as a symbol for
copulation.
The Eyelid Pul, in which the forefinger is placed on the
cheekbone and pulled down to open the eye a little wider, means
'I am alert' in France, Germany, Yugoslavia and Turkey. In
Spain and Italy, it means 'Be alert' . In Austria, it was found to
signal boredom.
47
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The Nose Tap, in which the forefinger is tapped on the side of
the nose, conveys complicity, confidentiality or an instruction to
maintain secrecy in the British Isles and Sardinia. m Italy, it
means 'Be alert' . If the tap is to the front of the nose, it can mean
'Mind your own business' in the British Isles, Holland and
Austria.
The gesture maps that Desmond Morris and his team constructed
for their 20 selected gestures were, to say the least, fascinating.
But they can have a practical value as well. For instance, one
gesture, The Thumb Up, is widely used to request lifts by hitch­
hikers the world over. If they are travelling through parts of
Belgium, Sicily, Sardinia, Malta or Greece, however, they should
be aware that it may be interpreted as a sexual insult.
Peoplewatchi ng
Many other people have carried out observations and research
into gestures since at least 1600, and the study of gesture can be
said to date back to Ancient Rome, with Cicero's De Oratore.
People have been watching other people and recording and
interpreting their gestures for a very long time indeed.
Recent research has been more scientific and systematic. Much
of it has focused on what happens when body language is not
used normally. Psychiatric patients, as one of their symptoms,
exhibit variations of non-verbal behaviour which, by the very
fact of being unusual, reflect a useful light on what is customary
in everyday social interaction. From such clinical studies the late
Albert Scheflen, a distinguished American psychiatrist, identified
what he called quasi-courtship behaviours. These are behaviours
which are normal in the courtship by one person of another, but
which mentally ill patients often use inappropriately towards
their therapists or other patients; they can, however, also be
observed in everyday life when one person is attracted to
another. Courtship readiness is usually signalled by such things
as high muscle tone, reduced eye-bagginess and j owl sag,
decreased slouch, and less stomach and shoulder sag. Preening
behaviours can be observed - these include stroking one's hair,
straightening one' s tie or other clothing, and re-applying make­
up. There are also actions of appeal or invitation such as
flirtatious glances, leg-crossing to expose a thigh, and so on.
49
M Other research has identified a phenomenon known as gestural
synchrony. As a person speaks, his or her bodily movements keep
pace in a kind of dance with the rhythms of speech. Listeners'
movements also dance to the same 'tune' , as it were, as the
speaker's. mmentally ill patients, this rhythm is missing - another
illustration of how we only notice the existence of something
when it is not there: conspicuous by its absence, in fact.
Ekman and Friesen noted that certain gestures accompany certain
attitudes. A rotating shrug of the hands accompanies feelings of
uncertainty and confusion. A hand toss goes with the expression
of feeling unable to control one's behaviour. Repetitious foot
sliding is noticeable when patients are admitted to psychiatric
institutions whereas, on leaving, foot gestures are generally more
varied and active.
One research team found that where people are active, with
many non-verbal movements, they will be rated as warm, more
casual, agreeable and energetic. When the same people are still,
with few movements, they will be considered more logical, cold
and analytic. It is interesting to note the equation of movement
with energy. Clearly, if you want to give an impression of drive
and enthusiasm, say, in an interview, you can do it by increased
use of gestures.
Some interesting studies have been made of regularities in the act
of taking leave of someone. In the last minute or so of an
encounter, the person seeking to end it breaks eye contact, leans
forward and nods frequendy. The peak of such activity occurs in
the last 15 seconds before standing. If one is not then released
from the encounter a degree of frustration is experienced because
it means the whole procedure has to be gone through again. A
clearer example of the importance of attending to others' signals
would be dificult to find.
Gestur psychology
The kinds of gestures that individuals use can be related to, and
can vary with, other psychological factors. For instance,
personality has a marked effect upon the numbers and varieties
of gestures used. Also, we use gestures to enable us to make an
assessment about the kind of personality an individual has.
One piece of research has reported that a majority of women who
sit with their knees and feet together with legs extended have a
personality associated with a desire for neatness and orderliness
in work, a liking for making plans, a dislike of change and un­
certainty, and a preference for organizing life according to a rigid
schedule. Another has shown that authoritarian personalities
tend to use less bodily movement than anti-authoritarians.
Daughters without fathers have been found to use more self­
touching gestures than those with fathers. Daughters of divorcees
show more forward lean, more arm and leg openness, and make
more than three times as many gesticulations or expressive hand
movements as girls who lost their fathers before the age of five.
One researcher has found that when individuals are listening to
a physically handicapped speaker they make fewer and smaller
gestures than normal. This may be caused by some uncertainty
about how to interact with a disabled person.
As far as sex differences in gesture behaviour are concerned, it
has been found that men make more seating position shifts than
women. If put through two interviews, men in the second
interview make smaller gestures and move their feet less. For
women, the reverse is true. The reason may be that men feel
more at ease in the second interview whereas women find a
second one more stressful than the first.
Some research has shown that, where two people in conversation
use the same kind of gestures and body movements, they will
perceive themselves as being similar and will like each other
better. From this kind of study it may also be concluded that,
where people are trying to communicate, similarities in gestural
styles may be helpful. Such similarities can provide a background
of rapport which may not even be consciously noticed.
Open and positive gestures and body movements are more
infuential when seeking to persuade someone to your point of
view. Openness and confdence in movement are consistently
rated by participants in experiments as being more active,
positive and potent than closed or hesitant gestures and body
movements ( see Exercise 4 on page 56) .
How to speak body l anguage
From what has been said so far in this chapter about the various
ways in which gestures are used in self-expression, it will be clear
that there are ways of using gestures and body movements to
greater efect.
õJ
õZ When using any particular gesture, you should consider the
context carefully to be sure the gesture is appropriate for it. Bear
in mind that people from diferent parts of the world may
understand a gesture to mean something very different from
what you intend. Avoid gestures which are open to misinter­
pretation. Women crossing their legs, and revealing an expanse
of thigh in the process, can ofen convey meanings they certainly
do not intend. Gestures, especially of the lower part of the body,
may provide an observer with leakage of true feelings you may
prefer to conceal.
A usefl gesture when attempting to convey a degree of confdence
or assurance is steepling, provided it is not done too obviously or
artificially. Gestural echoes can be a usefl way of idicating a
general sense of identity or sympathy with a group, provided it
does not become too obvious an attempt at mimicry.
You should try to be as observant as possible of other people's
gestures: like all forms of body language they can provide a very
informative accompaniment to what is actually said. Much
about a person's personality and attitudes can be inferred from
how active they are in gesturing.
Quasi-courtship gestures can be useful in telling you what your
relationship is with a member of the opposite sex. Watch for
signs of a lack of synchrony between speech rhythms and body
rhythms as this may offer clues to a person's emotional stability
and general mental health. Be sensitive to others' gestures when
it appears the end of an encounter is approaching. There is
usually little purpose to be served by refusing to release someone
who clearly wants to take his or her leave.
Open gestures and body movements can be a useful way of
communicating warmth, trust and friendliness. As we saw
above, they are particularly useful when seeking to persuade
someone to change their mind or to pursue a course of action
they might not otherwise have followed. Words may be the
primary persuaders, by advancing facts and logical arguments,
but the role of body language in this process should not be
underestimated. Negotiators, bargainers and salesmen, for
instance, ignore it at their peril.
Exercises and experi ments
J The poker player
Obsere a group of people playi ng poker or some other card game.
Tr to arrange it so that you can see at least one player's hand. Watch
for gestures and body movements when a player gets either a
paricularly good or a pari cul arly bad hand. Tel l -tale behaviour wi l l
probably be easiest to obsere when playi ng for reasonably
si gnificant money stakes. Alternatively, obsere si mi lar behavi our i n a
casi no. List all the tel l -tale gestures you spot, together with a count of
the frequency with whi ch each occurs. Does any i ndivi dual have a
paricularly characteristic tell-tale gesture?
2 More everday mi me
Obsere situati ons in which words are an inadequate means of
expressi on. Examples might be when two people are ver much i n
love, when someone has sufered a bereavement, is especi al l y
grateful for assistance or a favour, has won a l ot of money, has won
a sporing contest or race, or is del i riously happy. List the gestures
that are used to communi cate the feel i ngs being experi enced. How
efective are the gestures and body movements used i n suppl e­
menti ng any words spoken? Why are words al one so i nadequate i n
many such situati ons?
3 Sign languages
Using whatever sources are avai lable to you (the local l i brar,
practitioners you happen to know, or any ¯ programme you have
seen, for instance), find out somethi ng about deaf-and-dumb language
or American I ndian sign language. How many of the signs are self­
explanator? How many might be useful when communicati ng with
someone who does not speak your language?
9 We never close
Practise open gestures, such as uncrossed l egs, unfol ded and open
arms, palms-outward gestures and the l i ke. How do others respond?
How do you feel about using such gestures? You should be abl e to
communi cate with others without feel i ng you have to have your arms
folded and your legs ti ghtly crossed before you feel comforabl e or
·safe'.
ô
õ Ü Male and femal e
Obsere other peopl e i n a variety of social situations. List as many
exampl es as you can find of gestures that are used excl usively by
men and excl usively by women. Are there any exclusively ' gay'
gestures? Also l i st gestures that are predomi nantly used by men or by
women. What ki nds of gestures appear to be used equally by men
and women? What about New Men? Or Gi rl Power?
6 Gestural favouritism
Obsere your fri ends' gestures. What is each one's favourite gesture
(i n the sense that they seem to use it more ofen than any other)?
Head scratchi ng? Chi n (or beard) stroki ng? Ear pul l i ng? Nose
touching? Arm fol di ng? Wrappi ng one leg ti ghtly round another i n a
ki nd of double leg cross? Licking the l i ps nerously? Do you know
what your own most characteristic gesture is? You could always ask
your best fri end to tell you.
In this chapter VOU wili leam:
• the role of postur and stance
in body language
• posur C Da good indicaor
of 8 individual's stte of mind
a the time a which communi­
caion is taking place.
5 Gestures and postures are closely related and indeed at least one
writer, Warren Lamb, has taken the view that they are
inseparable and has explored what he calls posture-gesture
merging. For convenience, however, we shall treat posture
separately. There are advantages in focusing on each aspect
separately, as we have already done in previous chapters, in the
same way that one can with spoken languages.
Postre tends to be ignored somewhat as far as its communi­
cative value is concerned. It has traditionally been associated
with classes in deportment at finishing schools for young ladies
and with walking around a room with a book balanced on the
top of one's head. But it has a much more significant role to play
than this. Not that deportment is unimportant, but it is only one
aspect of the use of posture.
We each have a repertoire of postures that we characteristically
use though these repertoires are quite limited. It is possible for us
to recognize people we know at a distance from the postures they
typically use. Posture can be a clue to personality and to
character. The person who usually holds his body erect ofen has
a quite diferent temperament from the person who slouches
about with rounded shoulders.
There are three main kinds of posture: standing, sitting (with
which may also be included squatting and kneeling) and lying
down. There are many variations on these, depending upon the
different positions of the arms and legs, and the various angles at
which the body may be held. One American researcher, Ray
Birdwhistell, has produced a very complicated classification of
possible postures, but some are used only in particular cultures
( like the Japanese bow on greeting) and any particular individual
will have a narrow range of preferred postures.
These preferred postures recall a person's past. People who have,
at some time in their lives, gone though prolonged periods of
depression, for instance, still stoop and sag even years after they
have recovered and resumed normal lives. It may be that changing
postural patterns is an important part of the process of changing
attitudes and of improving the ability to establish positive,
communicative relationships with others.
Exercise: walking tall
You may already be the ki nd of person who regularly maintains an
erect posture and, if you are, you mi ght decide to omit thi s
exercise. But the vast majority of readers who do not wi l l find it an
interesti ng, reveal i ng and beneficial one.
Te essence of the exercise is that for the next week you shoul d walk
with your body erect, your shoulder straight and your head held
high. Don't stretch yourself up arificially, but don't allow your body
to sag, your shoulder to become rounded or your head to hang. The
easiest thing to do is to look ahead rather than down at the ground,
to keep your shoulder back and your stomach i n. You should not
put too much efor into this, only as much as is necessar.
Afer you have practised moving about l i ke this for a few days,
consider how you feel . Do you feel any diferent? Do you feel more
positive and confident? Do you feel more relaxed? Do you feel
physically fitter? Do you find you are moving about a l ittle more
qui ckly? Do you notice more of what is goi ng on around you? Do
you find yourself thi nki ng quicker and more clearly? What else do
you notice about yourself?
Consider also how other people react and respond to you. Do they
seem warmer and more friendly? Do they seem more ready and
wi l l i ng to interact with you? Do you find yourself geti ng more of
your own way in encounters with others? Do they comment at all
upon your beari ng and comporment? Are there any negative
responses to your more erect posture? Do you notice any other
changes i n other peopl e's behavi our towards you?
P i n previous exercises, you should note or record as many of
your own and others' responses to these questions as possi bl e.
Exercise review
If you have not been accustomed to moving around with an erect
posture, you will probably have noted a number of things fom
this exercise. It is quite likely, though not inevitable, that you will
be beginning to feel rather more positive and confdent in your
everyday activities. It is possible that, paradoxically, although you
have been trying to maintain an erect posture, which may well
have required a little efort and concentration at first, you have
found your new posture more comfortable and relaxing. You will
probably feel fitter physically and will tend to be walking a little
more quickly, without feeling that you are hurrying.
õ7
5 You will certainly be noticing more of what is going on around
you and you may find yourself reacting more quickly. Your
thinking generally may be clearer and more precise, as well as
faster. Ay other changes you have noticed in yourself should
mostly be welcome and positive ones.
As far as the reactions of others are concerned, you should be
finding that they appear to be responding to you with greater
warmth and friendliness and that they are more willing to
interact with you. You might find that your point of view is
accepted more readily and more often ( this may partly be
because an erect posture is commonly used by naturally
dominant individuals) . Ay comments that have been passed on
your newly assumed posture will tend to be complimentary
rather than derogatory. If there have been any negative
comments, they may have been that you were slightly overdoing
the posture. This is something you need to guard against in
carrying out exercises like this.
Mi nd-readi ng through posture
No one wants to suggest that you can tell the details of what
someone is thinking simply from observing their posture. It is
possible, though, to tell a great deal about their state of mind;
whether they are hopeful or depressed, confident or shy,
dominant or submissive, and so on. For instance, those who are
feeling hopeful, confident or dominant will generally adopt more
erect body postures than those who are feeling depressed, shy or
submissive. Posture observation is thus a useful activity,
particularly before an encounter begins, as it can guide us in
determining what might be the most productive approach to
make to another person. Postures also have the advantage that
they can be accurately observed at some distance, unlike, for
example, facial expressions, where a greater degree of proximity
is necessary.
Positive attitudes towards others tend to be accompanied by
leaning forward, especially when sitting down. Negative or
hostile attitudes are signalled by leaning backwards. An
unsympathetic attitude towards another person can be shown by
arms folded across the chest. If the arms are held loosely down
by the sides of the body, this is usually interpreted as openness,
accessibility and a general willingness to interact.
õ9
1
Z
D
lÌgBf0 0. T what do these postures tel l you about the peopl e concer ned?
6 Like other aspects of body language, postures have patterns and
thus contain an element of predictability. One psychiatrist has
found that a patient can adopt a particular posture every time he
talks about his mother and a quite different one every time he
talks about his father.
It has been found that, when people are standing around talking
in groups, those who are really 'in' the group have quite different
postural patterns than those who are not quite so favoured.
Outsiders typically stand with the weight on one foot, whereas
insiders will lean forward a little with head tipped forward.
Albert Mehrabian, of whose work we shall be learning more
shortly, made some interesting discoveries about posture. A
relaxed attitude in an encounter, for instance, is signalled by
asymmetrical arm and leg positions, a sideways lean, loosely
held hands and a backwards lean of the body. This posture is
most frequently used when an individual regards others present
as being of equal or lower status to himself. It is used more by a
man in the company of women. Less relaxed postures are used
when the others present are disliked.
Probably one of the most interesting of Mehrabian's findings (for
men, at any rate) is that women, when sitting, adopt an open-arm
posture in the presence of someone they like. If the arms are
folded across the bosom, this indicates lack of relaxation and
usually accompanies indiference or dislike.
I ' m the ki ng of the castle
In the signalling of status, threat and aggression - in a sense all
increasingly extreme versions of the same behaviour - posture
has an important role to play. At its simplest, high status can be
signalled by an upright posture and its opposite, submissiveness
and humility, by a slouch or a generally sagging posture.
Equality of status is ofen indicated by matching postures - that
is, the participants in an encounter show remarkable similarity
in the postures they adopt. If one person stands with his hands
in his pockets, the other will, too. If one sits leaning back in a
chair with one leg crossed over the other, with the ankle lying
across a knee in an open leg-cross, then the other person will
echo this posture.
Lower status is often shown by bowing the head, closed body
positions (as if to protect oneself from attack) and holding the
body to make it appear smaller ( and presumably therefore less of
a threat) than it actually is. It is as if people of lower status want
to show the world that they are smaller, weaker and more
defensive than their higher status brothers and sisters.
Where high status is indicated by an upright posture with the head
held high it may be that, as if to show that this high status is not
necessarily a theat, the hands will often be clasped behind the
back. But the threat may not disappear altogether, for the head
may be held with the forehead out in front ( as if the individual is
threatening to butt anyone who seriously challenges his position) .
Aggression and threatening behaviour normally consist of a
progressively exaggerated exhibition of high status or dominant
behaviour. Hands may not be held behind the back, but may be
held by the side with the fists clenched in readiness. And the
forehead ( or sometimes the j aw) may j ut out more obviously.
Sometimes, however, a relaxed posture can have an aggressive
purpose, especially in contexts where an upright posture would
be expected (as in a disciplinary interview) . Extreme relaxation
of posture may be used to signify a rej ection and total lack of
respect for authority. Nevertheless, it is mostly common for
posture to be tense both when threatening others or being
aggressive towards them and when being threatened or at the
receiving end of aggressive behaviour. Certainly, it is more
usually the case that a tense individual is more to be feared than
a relaxed person. Someone who is tense is clearly closer to taking
physical action than someone who is relaxed.
I ' m i ncl i ned to l i ke you
Albert Mehrabian has made some interesting discoveries about
the relationship between posture and liking. For instance, he
found that when people like each other they tend to lean towards
each other. This appears to be the case whatever the degree of
liking, fom mild acceptance of another's continued presence to
the closest inter-personal intimacy.
A sideways lean when seated was found to be an index of
relaxation and moderate degrees of lean showed friendliness.
Men showed the least sideways lean and the least body relaxation
with other men whom they dislied intensely. Women, however,
ôJ
ôZ showed the most sideways lean with other men and women
whom they disliked. In women who were sitting down, placing of
the arms and legs in an open posture conveyed liking for older
and younger individuals but not for those of the same age. A
arms akimbo position was much more likely to be used in the
presence of individuals of lower status than in the presence of
those holding higher status. This was also true for a raised head,
relaxed hand and body postures, and sideways lean when seated.
Sexual invitation can be indicated by posture. Women may lean
forward and bring their arms closer in to the body so that this
presses their breasts together and deepens cleavage. Men,
especially younger men, typically stand with the thumbs hooked
over trouser waists or hooked into trouser pockets, with the fists
very loosely clenched.
Ekman and Friesen found that, whilst facial expression gave
more information about emotions, posture showed the degree of
intensity. Other researchers have found that postures say a lot
about a person's emotional state. The extremes can be seen in the
postures of some mental patients. Depressives droop, are listless,
sit brooding and looking downwards. Manics (the opposite of
depressives) are alert, erect and their bodies show a high degree
of tenseness in posture.
Some of these findings are difficult to interpret. Why, for
example, should open postures when used by women indicate
liking in the presence of older and younger people but not for
those of the same age? It is not clear. It may be that there is an
undiscovered defect in the experimental procedure. Certainly
with posture, as with all other aspects of body language,
continuing research is necessary to explain and establish any
unexpected findings and to clarify those which seem to def a
proper explanation at present.
Nevertheless, it seems to be pretty well established that leaning
forward with a relaxed posture is one way of showing someone
that you like them. No need to bend double, of course: here, as
elsewhere, balance is necessary (in this case literally as well as
metaphorically) .
Postur research
In addition to the findings that have already been reported,
posture research has unearthed some other and not immediately
obvious discoveries. One such is the extent to which participants ô
in an encounter copy each other's postures. This postural echo
means that if one person clasps his hands together or crosses his
l
legs or folds his arms, others will follow. The tendency is
¥
especially marked where there is a high degree of rapport W
between the individuals concerned.
&
Conversely, there can be postural conflict, in which people i
deliberately adopt postures diferent from those assumed by
¥
others. This is usually done to emphasize differences and to place
'distance' between one person and another. Postures can also be
used to mark the boundaries of an interaction. Arms may be
placed in such a way, and legs stuck out, to show that this is a

group and that intruders will not be welcome. Sometimes it may
be done so that, short of physical violence, it is impossible to
enter a group. This can be particularly noticeable in pubs and
cafes frequented by groups of young people.
Albert Scheflen observed that in quasi-courtship behaviour
postural shifs occurred which were similar to those seen in real
courtship sequences. This behaviour occurs commonly when
people of the opposite sex are conversing. Grooming ( stroking
the hair or straightening the tie) is followed by the adoption of
an appropriate positioning (face to face or side by side) . In the
subsequent conversation, breasts may be stuck out, pelvises
rolled, hands placed on hips and other sexual postures adopted,
even though the situation is not an overtly sexual one. This may
be so marked that there may even be verbal disclaimers from one
or other person to indicate that the behaviour is not meant
seriously.
Other shifs in posture are used to mark stages in conversation.
For example, when there is a change in topic from a general
subj ect to a more intimate or private one, there will also be a
change in posture which brings participants closer together.
There are even shifs in posture during sleep to mark the stages,
such as moving from dreamless sleep into the kind of REM
( rapid eye movement) sleep which accompanies dreaming. These
shifs in posture are so regular that they are predictable and
follow a pattern. Understandably, it is an area which has
received a good deal of research attention.
A interesting area of research into posture ( and, indeed, gesture)
is associated with its absence - or, rather, with the absence of
these patterns. It seems to be the case that those few amongst us
who possess what one may call 'presence', or an air of distinction
ô and high status, exhibit very few changes in posture and use very
few gestures. This low peripheral movement, as it is termed, is the
kind of behaviour that can readily be observed on J when
members of royalty and when senior statesmen are being shown.
Research has also been carried out into the relationship between
posture and personality factors. Folded arms in a kind of self­
wrapping posture indicate withdrawal and a desire for self­
protection, especially of the breasts. It is, therefore, more
common among women than men. Talking with the shoulders
held in shrug position and with the palms facing outward
indicates helplessness and inadequacy.
Exaggerated posturs
Posture refects a person's body image (compare the postures of
two young girls, one of whom is ashamed of her breasts and the
other of whom is proud of them) and has an important part to
play in self-presentation (one can use posture as an aid in
deliberately proj ecting a particular personality) . Posture has
always, therefore, been of considerable interest - as have
gestures - to those involved in dramatic performance and public
speaking. In these activities, posture frequently has to be
exaggerated in order to be easily observable by an audience. It is
useful, then, to observe actors and politicians because this can
help in identifing the postures ( and, indeed, other aspects of
body language) which are appropriate or inappropriate to
various situations.
Exaggerated postures can also be observed in the behaviour of
those who are drunk. Here, though, there is little to be gained
through emulation since most people will react negatively to the
behaviour of drunks. They will not wish to be associated in any
way with them. Witness the words of the old song:
You can tell the man who boozes
By the company he chooses,
And the pig got up and slowly walked away.
Adopt the posture of one who is drunk and you will soon find
out who your friends are.
Exercises and experi ments
J Have you the i ncl i nati on?
Next ti me you are sitti ng tal king to someone you know wel l , tr
leani ng sl ightly towards them. You shoul d notice that thi s encourages
them to talk more, makes them feel you are more interested i n what
they have to say and generally results i n a more satisfactor
encounter. Then, on an occasion afer that, tr leani ng back and away
from them. You shoul d notice that they tend to talk less, feel you are
less interested in them and show si gns of not being compl etely happy
with the way the encounter i s being conducted.
2 I am your mi rror
Obsere how, i n encounters in everday life and on ¯,the paricipating
individuals copy or echo each other's postures. Compare situations in
which echoing is present with those i n which it is not. You should fi nd
that, where there is evidence of echoi ng, the interaction proceeds more
smoothly, there appears to be a beter relationshi p between paricipants
and the whole event looks more natural. Converely, where echoing is
absent, you should notice signs of friction, more disagreement and a
general sense of peopl e being i l l at ease. If you tr to use postural echo,
it is i mporant that you do it as unobtrusively as possible. If you change
your posture immediately the other person changes his or hers, this will
be more of-puting than if there is no postural echo at all. Tey may
even feel that you are consciously tring to mi mic them, which they wi l l
fi nd ver unsetl i ng.
3 Sit up strai ght
Tr sitti ng up reasonably straight i n some encounters and del i berately
sl ouchi ng i n your seat i n others. Note the reactions of others to thi s
behavi our. You shoul d find that they respond more positively, wi th
greater warmth and fri endl i ness, make the encounter l ast l onger and
seek furher encounters, when your posture is upright than when it i s
slouched, but not if it i s too rigi dly upright.
9 Who's drunk?
Obsere the behavi our of peopl e who are drunk and note how the
behavi our of others changes towards them. Some peopl e will be
tolerant and even a l ittl e amused, but most will tend to avoid contact
if they can and shoren it if they can't. Why i s this? Specul ati on on the
possi bl e reasons may shed l i ght on the i mporance of posture, si nce
ôõ
ôô those who are drunk are usually unabl e to control their posture even
with great effor. I f a person i s genui nely drunk it i s almost i mpossi bl e
for them to hide it, though it may be easi er i f they sit down.
Ü Puti ng on an act
Obsere publ i c speakers and actors and note instances when
changes i n posture appear to be exaggerated beyond what i s normal
i n everday l ife. Exampl es might be a pol itician suddenly leani ng
forard towards hi s audi ence i n the mi ddl e of a speech or an actor
del i berately turni ng his back on another. Why is there a need for
exaggeration of posture or of postural changes in contexts l i ke these?
Tr to identify as many possi bl e reasons as you can. Some are:
• the distance between speaker and l i stener is greater and
exaggerati on i s necessar for the sake of clarity
• dramatic perormances of any kind rely upon a cerain amount of
exaggerati on for purposes of emphasis
• many of those engaged i n acting out a rol e tend to be the ki nd of
people who customarily exaggerate their posture (as well as other
aspects of body l anguage) to some exent.
6 Come on
In encounters, practise closed postures by crossi ng your legs,
crossi ng your arms i n front of the body, turning your body away from
the people you' re speaking to, and usi ng posture to prevent others
entering an interacti on. Then practise the converse of these: open
postures. Make greater use of open-palm posture, faci ng peopl e and
leaning towards others sl i ghtly. Note both how others react diferently
to open posture and also how you feel about being more posturally
open towards others. You shoul d find that there is a cl ear preference
in most situati ons, both by yourself and by others, for openness.
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In this chapter V0U will learn:
• about prximit and orientation
• orientation can tell us a good
deal about i ndividuals
• the concept of peronal space,
together with teritorial it in
human behaviour
• the concept of defensible
space.
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We have already encountered, in Chapter 4, one of the sub­
disciplines of non-verbal communication, kinesics, or the study
of body movements. Another sub-discipline is proxemics, or the
study of the use of space when communicating. How close we
are to people and whether we are facing towards them or away
can affect the interaction which takes place in significant and
often predictable ways.
Edward Hall, who coined the term proxemics, defined four
zones in the use of space.
• From zero to one and a half feet ( 0-0. 5 m) he called the
intimate zone, in which people are actually touching or are
easily able to touch each other.
• The second zone is personal and extends from one and a half
to four feet ( 0. 5-1 .2 m) and here people are able to shake
hands or are, at most, no more than arms' length from each
other.
• The third is the social-consultive zone and runs from four to
ten feet ( 1 .2-3m) . It is most commonly used in everyday
encounters of a social or business nature.
• The final zone he called the public zone and this extends from
ten feet (3 m) outwards.
Hall further sub-divided each zone into close and not close areas.
Learning to use space more effectively will help us to take an
important step forward in our developing mastery of body
language. We shall consider five main aspects:
• the effects of different kinds of seating arrangements upon
face-to-face communication
• horizontal, vertical and asymmetric orientations
• how status is shown by proximity and orientation
• what happens when people come too close
• some of the ways i which we can use proximity and orientation
to make interaction with others easier, more comortable and
more effective.
One interesting experiment carried out by James Baxter and
Richard Rozelle illustrates the often dramatic effects of changing
the distance between people when they are communicating. They
selected two groups of people, one to be subj ected to very close
face-to-face interviewing by someone playing the role of a police
officer and one to undergo a lesser degree of proximity. They
called these two situations severe crowding and mild crowding.
The interview in each case was in four two-minute parts. The
'policeman' asked each person about the contents of his wallet.
For both groups, the officer remained four feet ( 1 . 2 m) from the
individual during the first two minutes. At the beginning of the
second two minutes, he casually moved forward until he was
about two feet ( 0. 6 m) away. In the third two minutes, he moved
to within a few inches with the severe crowding group, but
remained at two feet ( 0. 6 m) with the mild crowding group. In
the last two minutes, he moved back to the two feet ( 0. 6 m)
distance with the severe crowding group and simply remained
where he was for the mild crowding group. He was told to
maintain eye contact with all his interviewees in all parts of the
interview.
Those who were in the severe crowding group reacted very
differently from normal when the 'policeman' was at his closest
to them. Their speech became disrupted and disorganized. There
was an increase in eye movements and gaze aversion. They
adopted positions which enabled them to place their arms and
hands between themselves and the interviewer. They ofen held
their hands clasped protectively at crotch level like footballers
waiting for a free kick to be taken and were generally much more
nervous and restless when the interviewer had invaded their
personal space by approaching too closely. This demonstrates
the power of proximity and shows that, like other aspects of
body language, we need to increase our sensitivity in using it.
Exercise: competition verus coopertion
Fi gure Û. 1 shows a table and si x chairs. The `A´ i ndi cates that a
person you are about to meet is sitti ng there. What you have to do
i s decide whi ch chai r you woul d occupy in each of the fol l owi ng
situations:
a You are goi ng to pl ay a game of chess with thi s person and it i s
i mporant for you to wi n. Pl ace an A on the seat you choose.
D You are going to help the person complete a crossword puzzle.
Place a B on the seat you choose.
c You are going to i nteriew the person for a job i n a smal l , fri endl y
organizati on. Pl ace a C on the seat you choose.
Now, on Fi gure Û.Z pl ace an A for the other person and a L for
yourself on the seats you woul d consider most appropriate if you
were going to conduct a formal di sci pl i nar i nteriew.
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Exercise review
Accordi ng to the research that has been done, you are most l i kely to
have pi cked cerain positions for each of the situations posed in the
exercise.
For a, you wi l l probabl y have pi cked the seat i mmediately opposite
the person agai nst whom you were to pl ay a game of chess. As we
shal l see later, we tend to sit opposite peopl e we are competi ng
agai nst. It may have somethi ng to do wi th the fact that we l i ke to be
i n a position from whi ch we can see everythi ng an adversar does.
For D, you will probably have chosen the seat next to the person you
were to help (that is, the seat to the right of the one marked X. We
tend to sit al ongsi de people if we are i n a cooperative rel ati onshi p
wi th them. There i s, perhaps, not such a great need to keep an eye on
what someone i s doi ng when we are not competi ng against them.
For c, you probably selected the seat di agonal l y to the lef of the
person, at the end of the table. Agai n, as we shal l see, such diagonal
seating arrangements have been shown to be pari cul arly useful for
i nteriewi ng situati ons.
When you were sel ecti ng positions for a di sci pl i nar i nteriew, the
chances are that you pl aced yourself at the opposite end of the table
from the person you were to repri mand. It i s probably natural to want
to di stance oneself from what is l i kely to be an unpl easant task. It
may, however, be that the diagonal seati ng arrangement used for
other kinds of i nteriews may take some of the edge off the situati on.
Look at the exercise agai n and tr to vi sual ize the interacti on that
would take pl ace in each possi bl e combi nati on of seats. You shoul d
feel that the diagonal arrangement ofers the best compromise
between the overly formal and the too casual . I f you do not feel this
way at the moment, perhaps you will change your mind when you
have read through the rest of the chapter.
Seati ng arrangements
Where people choose to sit in the various situations in which
they find themselves reveals certain predictable patterns of
behaviour. But where they choose to sit may not always be the
best position for them to achieve what they wish to achieve. For
instance, a lecture room will tend to fill up from the back
forwards. Yet, people have presumably gone along to hear what
someone has to say: it would, surely, be better to occupy a seat
at the front rather than the back.
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Similarly, many people adopt absurdly formal seating arrange­
ments for interviews - arrangements that can be shown to inhibit
rather than encourage the very thing that is supposed to take
place, that is, the fullest and freest possible exchange of
information and views. Individuals who go into bars and other
social settings in the hope of meeting someone they can talk to
will often seek a seat in a corner or in some other position from
which they can observe. These are not, however, positions that
others are likely to be drawn to - far better to place oneself
boldly in the centre of movement and activity: most likely a seat
at the counter in a bar or at a table near the counter if those seats
are all occupied.
Albert Mehrabian, whose work we have encountered before,
made some interesting suggestions for those who find themselves
alone in a public place, perhaps in a strange city, and who wish
to leave the possibility of talking to someone else open. Fairly
obviously, sitting with your back to other people present will
tend to preclude such a possibility. Sitting facing may well be a
little daunting, not only for the person taking up such a position,
but also for the people already there. Sitting at an angle offers a
good compromise. It prevents too much initial closeness and it
does offer the chance of j oining in a conversation at a later stage
if this becomes appropriate. In fact Mehrabian suggested a zig­
zag design for bar and cafeteria tables and counters, which he
feels would encourage such increased contacts ( see Figure 6. 3) .
As you can see, this provides a very flexible arrangement in
which groups of people can converse, while at the same time
leaving it open for people to keep themselves to themselves if
they wish. If the seats are on swivels, this increases the fexibility
of the arrangement.
In a cafeteria of the traditional design with square or slightly
oblong tables, an 'adj acent sides at right angles' arrangement is
favoured by people who wish to talk to each other. People who
do not wish to talk tend to sit opposite one another if the tables
are square. If the tables are oblong, and where there are, say, two
seats at either side of the table and one at each end (as in the
exercise you did earlier) , people who wish to talk will sit either
directly opposite each other or diagonally across the corner at
one end. People who do not wish to talk will sit either at the ends
or diagonally opposite each other on each side.
lÌgBl0 0. J mehrabi an' s zi g-zag desi gn for cafeteri a tabl es
As we saw i n the exercise, those whose relationship with each
other is competitive will tend to sit facing each other. Those whose
relationship or task is a cooperative one will tend to sit side by
side. Not only are these positions naturally taken up by most
people in such situations, they can be used to encourage the kind
of behaviour desired. That is to say, if you place people opposite
each other they will tend to compete: if you place them side by
side, they will be much more likely to cooperate. This finding has
useful implications for deciding seating arrangements at places of
work and in meetings and conferences. It is interesting to speculate
on what the efect might be in, say, industrial negotiations if a
seating arrangement other than the traditional across-the-table
one were to be used. It is also fairly clear that Kg Arthur's round
table, givig equality to all the participants, anticipated some of
the recent research into non-verbal communication.
m interviews, the positions whch are characteristically taken up
are not always the best available. As we saw earlier, for discipl
interviews, people will tend to sit opposite each other and as far
away as the size of the table will permit. There are still many people
who will adopt the same positions in other kinds of interviews,
such as job selection, counsellig and performance appraisal. Yet
the research tat has been done suggests that, sice the purpose of
most iterviews is to obtain or give information and opinions, the
diagonal position at the comer of a table is preferable when there
are only to people - interviewer and interviewee - involved.
Generally speaking, it is better to have an informal seting than a
formal one. Sitg i comfortable chairs wit a low table leads to
the exchange of more iforation than the kd of formal setng
in which the interviewers sit along a sort of 'top table' and the
interviewee sits at a separate smal table in font of it.
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74 Why do psychi atrists have couches?
Orientation is usually defined as the degree of the angle between
a line j oining one person to another and the direction in which
the person under consideration is facing. Thus, when two people
are facing each other directly, this is 0°. It has been found that
the further apart two people are, the more likely it is that the
angle of orientation will be 0°.
Orientation may also be symmetrical or asymmetrical. A
symmetrical one means the people involved are face to face, back
to back, or their angles of orientation are the same (that is, both
are, say, a third or a half tum away fom each other) . A
asymmetrical orientation is one in which the angles are diferent,
as when one person is facing directly, but the other is half-turned
away. Asymmetrical orientations permit closer proximity than
those which are symmetrical, especially when both are facing.
Back-to-back orientations make communication difficult because,
even though verbal messages may still be understood, the fact of
not being able to observe each other's body language means a
large part of the total message has been removed. Mehrabian has
calculated fom his own researches that as much as 93% of the
message in a face-to-face encounter is non-verbal, leaving only 7%
for the verbal ( we shall return to this point in Chapter 1 1 ) .
Orientation can be horizontal or i t can be vertical. In the
horizontal plane the main concern is whether the orientation is
facing or not. In the vertical plane, the interest is in whether the
person concerned is higher up or lower down than another.
Being higher up than another person, or even simply being taller,
significantly affects the interaction which takes place.
People behave diferently when lyig down than when standing up.
People lyg down tend to remember more, generally. Memory
recall is a negatively accelerated function of time, that is to say, more
is recalled in the frst few minutes. People will be more imaginatve
and refective when lyig down, but less receptive to action. Wen
standing, thought tends to result more readily in action, but is less
responsive to new suggestions and to close examnation of a topic.
Decisions are made faster and more strongly when standing. Tis
may account for the suggestion made by at least one authority on
management techniques that daily action conferences by managers
should be taken standig, up rather than the more normal sittig
round a table. And the fndings about how people remember more
and are more refective when lying down may have some bearing on
the answer to the queston with which we started msecion.
Status, proxi mity and ori entati on
In considering positioning as an aspect of orientation, It IS
interesting to note how status is both conveyed by positioning
and can be conferred by it. It has been noticed, for instance, that
people who sit at either end of the table in a j ury room are most
ofen elected foremen: the 'head of the table' position is, then, a
reality and is quite clearly associated with higher status. It has
also been observed that senior people align themselves on the
right-hand side of a chosen leader, which means that the term
'right-hand man' may be based on what actually happens.
Being higher up, for instance on a rostrum or simply by being
taller, puts a person in a dominating position. Leaders tend to be
taller and this is emphasized by the relatively few well-known
historical leaders who were on the short side. However, it has
also been somewhat confusingly observed that leaders tend to sit
down whilst others stand.
In some interesting experiments, the behaviour of people
entering offices has been studied for what it can tell us about
how we signal our status to others. It was observed that low­
status individuals tend to stay near the door on entering. Those
of higher status approach the desk. Those of equal status will
come in and sit down next to a person's desk. Friends are met by
the individual whose offce it is coming out from behind the
desk.
Proximity and orientation, then, can be used not only to indicate
status but also to seek its being accorded to us by others. Although
it is not the only factor to be considered, it is nevertheless an
important one.
Don't come any closer
Robert Sommer has defined what he calls personal space as that
area around each of us which we do not like others to enter
except by invitation or under certain special circumstances. We
carry this personal space around with us wherever we go. It
extends rather further in front of us than to the sides and is least
behind our backs.
In crowds, we are prepared to accept less personal space than
normal. One researcher has estimated that in dense crowds we
have six to eight square feet ( 0. 5-0. 75 sq. m) each, whereas in
loose crowds we have about ten square feet ( 1 sq. m) each.

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Someties our personal space is deliberately invaded by others for
a particular reason. mthe experiment reported at the beginning of
this chapter, the severe crowding by the interviewer is similar to
tactics often used by police interrogators. American policemen are
sometimes trained to sit close to a suspect, with no table or desk
beteen them. They gradually move their chair forward during
the interrogation so that afer a time one of the suspect's knees is
j ust between the policeman's knees. Such closeness, when
uninvited, is almost always perceived as threatening.
Lovers will accept greater proximity fom each other, but even here
it is interesting to note that they almost always close their eyes
when kissing. Since they approach very close and gaze into each
other's eyes for much of the time, there would seem to be no logical
reason why they should close their eyes for the most enjoyable part
of the interaction. It may be that even in this instance some illusion
of personal space, made by closing the eyes, is necessary.
Sommer's studies have shed an interesting light on human
territorialit. m his studies of the kd of space people need for
reasonably peacefu livig, he has found that certain housing desigs
are more likely to lead to trouble with neighbous than others. Te
idea has been developed of defensible space. What mmeans is that
we each need an area in which to lve that we can protect agaist
unwanted intrusion by others. B fats are too small, too closely
placed, and tend to throw people together too much, ths wlead to
tensions, which may very quicky develop into open hostilit and
agressive behaviour. However, Sommer mentions that people in a
place le Hong Kong seem to have adapted to restictions on space
reasonably well. He tells us that the Hong Kong Housing Authority
buds low-cost accomodation on the basis of about 35 square feet
(3.25 sq. m) per person. When he asked what the efect would be of
increasig the alowance, he was told 'With 60 square feet ( 5. 5 sq. m)
per person, the tenants would sub-let. '
m preventing violations of personal space, orientation can often
be used as a territorial marker. We are reluctant to pass between
two people, so facing the person we are interacting with· will
deter invasions of our mutual personal space. It is possible to sit
at an angle in such a way as to close of an interaction to
intruders, by stretching the legs out so that others will be
reluctant to cross over them. In fact, the angle of orientation can
regulate the degree of privacy in a conversation. People who are
exchanging confidences will often turn away from the general
interaction in order to discourage intruders.
If personal space is violated, people will move away from the
intruder but maintain their direct orientation towards each
other, as if to remind the intruder that his or her presence is not
welcome and that they will resume their former positions as soon
as he or she has had the good sense to move on. Sometimes, if the
intruder persists in remaining, people will change their orienta­
tion away from the intruder in order to emphasize their rej ection
of the invasion.
A number of other interesting observations have been made of
the use of orientation as a non-verbal communication tool. For
instance, during arrivals and departures orientation will often
take status into account, as in the frequently observed
phenomenon of people backing away from high-status people
before turning. This may either have its roots in the long­
established tradition of backing out of the presence of royalty, or
it may be that that particular custom arose out of a natural
deference to status.
People who have a conspiratorial relationship with others will
tend to approach from the side, literally 'sidling' up to a fellow
plotter. It is surprising how often this activity can be observed at
political meetings and conferences, together with the kind of
turning away fom the general interaction mentioned earlier.
Orientation in crowded conditions can exhibit interesting
variations from normal behaviour. People in lifts, on public
transport and at football matches will usually avoid a direct
orientation. In situations in which the crowding is so severe that
the body cannot be turned away, the head will be. This is
perhaps most frequently observed in commuter trains and on
other mass-transit systems where people are so crowded together
that they are touching. Another phenomenon often observed on
underground tube trains is that people will sit rigidly, making as
few movements as possible, and fxedly staring into space,
avoiding all eye contact with others.
Both men and women use a direct orientation for disliked high­
status men ( to keep a close eye on what they might do to threaten
them? ) but use an indirect orientation for low-status women
(partly turning away from someone who is perceived as not
being very important? ) . It seems to be the case that where the
threat potential is highest, the orientation is the most direct. It
can be interesting to observe how differently people orientate
themselves to the boss and to the cleaner or j anitor.
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When women are talking together, they will stand closer to each
other and will use a more direct orientation than when men are
talking together. This is but one of the many differences between
the sexes in the use of body language. Such individual differences
and cultural differences will be apparent in several of the
chapters in this book.
One phenomenon which shows some unusual behaviour is in the
case of people regarding others as non-persons. A non-person is
anyone we act towards as if they were not there. Examples of
such behaviour might be:
• doctors discussing hospital patients when those patients are
present
• diners conversing and ignoring waiters
• people in their pyj amas or night-dresses opening the door to
postmen and milkmen and feeling no embarrassment in doing
so.
Someone who is a non-person or a 'fly on the wall' has a unique
opportunity to observe human behaviour which is denied to the
rest of us.
Making i nteraction easier
The more direct the degree of orientation, the more attention is
normally being paid. If an indirect orientation is used, this will
usually mean the involvement in the conversation is less. In such
a case, there may be occasional turns of the head towards
conversation partners j ust to show that one has not switched off
altogether. If you turn your back on someone, this will stop a
conversation dead. This may well be why it is ofen regarded as
the height of rudeness to do this. Facing another and turning the
head away or looking over the other's shoulder at other people
present has the same effect, though it may take rather longer. In
a group of three, a strange kind of divided orientation is ofen
observable. In this, the upper part of the body may point
towards one person and the lower to the third. There has been
the suggestion that if this were not done the third person would
feel lef out.
All of this should serve to indicate that you can use orientation
to invite or to avoid interaction with others. Generally speaking,
a direct orientation will invite interaction. Ofen, you can use an
indirect orientation as you approach other people so as to
remove any possible stranger threat and to permit easier retreat
if they indicate they do not wish to talk to you, without loss of
face. If approach is allowed, you can switch to a more direct
orientation at an appropriate point.
It is worth noting that mutual gazing increases with an indirect
body orientation. As we saw in Chapter 1 , increased eye contact
will enhance the possibilities of successfl interaction.
So the balance of orientation with other aspects of body language
needs to be carefully watched for encouraging others to interact.
It is something which can be used to help us to communicate non­
verbally more effectively with others. It is thus another useful
weapon in our armoury which we should not neglect.
Exercises and experi ments
J Who is the boss around here?
Tr to obsere a large open-plan ofice. See i f you can determine, on the
basis of how space is allocated and how people prent use proximity
and orientaion, who the high-status i ndividuals are. Do they sit i n some
degree of isolation from the other? Do they have larger desks? Do they
have more cirulation space around their desks? Do they tend to sit at
one end of the room or i n the middle? What other territorial marker can
you identif? How do the others approach the desks of superior? How
do superior coming in from other deparments behave? An ideal
opporunity for carring out this exercise would be if your obseraion
point overooke a organization's ofices.
2 Lateral thi nki ng
Li e down on a couch, sofa or settee and try thi nki ng about your l ife as
a chi l d. After five mi nutes, stand up and conti nue your thoughts. Do
you, i n fact, find it easi er to recall when l yi ng down? Then, standi ng
up, reflect on what has happened to you duri ng the day (clearly you
wi l l need to atempt this exercise i n the eveni ng). Then lie down and
conti nue your reflecti ons. Do you fi nd it easier to reflect when l yi ng
down, as thi s chapter has predicted?
3 Are you siti ng comforably?
If you can, enl ist the help of another person or of two or three others.
Conduct an i nteriew (as if, say, you were applying for a job) in the
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various seati ng arrangements suggested in this chapter. Whi ch
seems to be the most productive? I f you cannot do thi s, watch some
i nteriews on televi si on wi th the sound turned down, and obsere
from the use of proxi mity and orientati on which seem to be
progressing most satisfactorily. Are they the ones with the greatest
degree of i nformal ity or those where the orientation is formal? I f you
can videotape the proceedi ngs and then pl ay them back with the
sound turned up, so much the better.
9 Come and tal k to me
The next time you are i n a place (l i ke a bar, cafeteria or cl ub) where
people l i ke you habitually come to meet other people, tr using
proximity and orientation i n the ways suggested in this chapter to invite
others to interact with you. MlOL the easiest way will be to place yourself
i n or near to the centre of activity i n the chosen place. You may also tr
placing yourself deli berately on the peripher of events and obsere the
diferences in the ways people react.
Ü Social orienteeri ng
Study the vari ous soci al situations i n whi ch you find yourself i n the
course of a day and tr to identify whi ch is the most appropriate
degree of proxi mity and orientation i n each case. Record your
obserations i n your notebook or on tape. When you review them, tr
to do it lying down. How do your reactions compare with your
obserations on exercises i n previous chapters when you were not
lying down? Have you i dentified any ways of i mprovi ng your use of
proximity and orientati on which were not discussed i n this chapter?
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In this chapter V0U will ieam:
• about body contact and
touching
• the main disti nction that is
made between these two is
one of i ntent, for the fonner
carries the i mpl ication of
accidental touching and the
later i mpl ies a del i berate act
• the diference is not a rigid
one and it is only possible to
disti nguish the to on the
basis of which par of the
body is doing the touching.
ôZ Touch is probably the frst of our senses to develop. The baby in
the womb cannot see, smell, taste or hear ( though the last may
not be true) . Once born, touch becomes a most important sense
and it is through it that much of our earliest experience of
communicating with others comes. Research has shown that
where babies ( and other young animals) are deprived of touching
by others their development is stunted, not only socially and
emotionally but physically.
Touching can have a powerful effect on how we react to a
situation. Even if we are touched accidentally or unintentionally,
we can still be significantly affected by it. Mark Knapp reported
an experiment in which, as library cards were being returned to
students, the library assistant touched the hands of some in
passing the card over, but not of others. In all other respects,
behaviour was kept constant. The only thing that changed was
whether or not touching occurred. Once outside the library, the
students were asked to rate the library assistant and the library
generally on a rating scale. Those who had been touched,
especially the females, j udged the assistant ( and the library) more
favourably than those who had not been touched. And this was
true both for those who were aware of having been touched and
for those who were not. Such is the power of even a fleeting,
barely noticeable touching experience.
We use touch in many ways, though perhaps not in quite as many
as we might, for ours is not a society which encourages adults to
touch each other. We are too quick to place a sexual connotation
upon touching and ours is not a very liberated society even now,
sexually speaking. But we do use various forms of touching, to
encourage, to express tenderness or sympathy and to show
support.
Touching is more likely to occur in some situations than in
others. People are more likely to touch:
• when giving information or advice than when receiving it
• when giving an order rather than responding to one
• when asking a favour rather than granting one
• when trying to persuade rather than being persuaded
• when at a party rather than at work
• when expressing excitement rather than listening to someone
else's excitement
• when listening to someone else's worries rather than expressing
their own.
One study found that 60% of people greeting or saying goodbye
at an airport were touching. As one might perhaps expect, longer
embraces were observed more fequently in departures than in
arrivals. A number of studies have also found that touching is
more often initiated by men than women.
Further findings will emerge as we look, in this chapter, at the
kinds of bodily contact there are, what they mean and how we
can make better use of them in developing our body language
skills. It is an area in which we shall have to take more than usual
care, because you cannot be closer to people ( at least physically)
than when you are touching them. This can make it dangerous
to make mistakes. But we should still find that we can identif
ways of using bodily contact to better effect.
Exercise: who's touching who?
Usi ng drawi ngs l i ke those i n Fi gure Ï. 1 , in which the body is
di vi ded i nto vari ous pars, conduct a brief surey amongst your
friends and acquai ntances to see where they allow other peopl e to
touch them. Tr to ask an equal number of males and females. Ask
them to identify the pars they would expect to be touched by their
mother, by thei r father, by a same-sex fri end, and by an opposite­
sex friend. Record the responses on the fi gures by means of tal l i es
(see page ÛÛfor exampl e). Make larger drawings of your own if thi s
wi l l hel p.
Exercise review
Thi s kind of research was first carried out by Sidney Jourard and has
been conducted by many other peopl e si nce. The results are nearly
always pretty much the same. A typical set i s given i n Fi gure Ï.Z and
you should compare your own fi ndi ngs with them. As you can see,
most peopl e (except, perhaps, homosexuals) al l ow much more
touchi ng of most pars of the body by opposite-sex friends than by
anyone else. The exception i s the amount of touching of cerai n pars
of the body permitted to mothers. Why do you thi nk the same amount
i s not permited to or expected from fathers? Why is there such a
diference between same-sex friends and opposite-sex friends? I s
the reason purely sexual ? You might l i ke to specul ate on the answers
to these questi ons as no one really knows the answers.
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Bodi ly contact and touchi ng
Haptic i s the name ofen given to describe touching behaviour.
But it might be worthwhile making some distinctions between
bodily contact and touching. In the main, bodily contact refers to
actions which are accidental, unconscious and made by any part
of the body. Touching implies that the actions are deliberate,
conscious, and made primarily by the hands. The terms are not
clearly defined in this way, however, in the literature on body
language and perhaps it is in any case too fine a distinction for
our purposes here. We shall use both terms, but usually touching
will carry the connotation of a more active involvement of the
person doing the touching .
Several kinds of contact have been identified. Michael Argyle
tells us that some of the following are most common in Western
cultures:
1yc oltoucmnz ¡æs olthcbodyìnvolvcd
ìncludc
Patting Head, back
Slapping Face, hand, bottom
Punching Face, chest
Pinching Cheek
Stroking Hair, face
Shaking Hands
Kissing Mouth, cheek, hand
Licking Face
Holding Hand, arm
Guiding Hand, arm
Embracing Shoulder, body
Linking Arms
Laying-on Hands
Kicking Bottom
Grooming Hair, face
Tickling Anywhere
Richard Hedin has placed the various types of touching into
categories ranging from very impersonal messages to very
personal messages:
1 Functional-professional such as a golf pro with a student, a
tailor with a customer, a doctor with a patient.
2 Social-polite such as handshakes, hand clasps.
J Friendship-warmth such as a friendly pat on the back or a
shoulder embrace.
4 Love-intimacy such as touching a loved one's cheek or a
lover's kiss.
5 Sexual arousal such as the mutual touching which accom-
panies love-making.
Desmond Morris identified twelve steps which Western couples
pass through on the way to sexual intimacy. Occasionally a step
may be missed out, but they almost always occur in this order:
1 Eye to body
2 Eye to eye
J Voice to voice
4 Hand to hand
5 Arm to shoulder
6 Arm to waist
7 Mouth to mouth
8 Hand to head
> Hand to body
1Û Mouth to breast
1 1 Hand to genitals
12 Genitals to genitals
What the various kinds of touching mean, however, depends on
several factors:
• which part of the body touched the other person
• which part of the body is touched
• how long the touch lasts
• how much pressure is used
• whether there is movement after contact has been made
• whether anyone else is present
• if others are present, who they are
• the situation in which the touching occurs and its mood
• the relationship between the people involved.
All in all, the determination of meaning for touching is a
complex affair - j ust as complex as for any other aspect of body
language.
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Touching implies a bond between the toucher and the touched.
It follows, therefore, that the main variations in how we respond
to being touched depend on the closeness of the relationship
between ourselves and the other person. There is a very close
connection between touching and liking. Indeed, the Human
Potential movement ( originally a California-based group of
social psychologists and others) believed that touching leads to
liking. Touching can lead to liking, but not in isolation from
other aspects of body language. You should not assume that if
you go around touching people they will necessarily like it. Far
better to use other body language skills to develop the relation­
ship and let greater bodily contact occur naturally as a part of
this process.
Attitudes towards touching can vary considerably. Some people
for whom various forms of bodily contact (embracing, hugging
and kissing) are a normal part of family life tend to have more
positive attitudes than those for whom it is rare. You have to
find out through observation the kinds of contact people feel
comfortable with before you increase the various forms of even
non-sexual fondling. Sexual touching is a very dangerous area
for everyday experimentation and, because of the possibilities of
misinterpretation, is best left alone. If it hapens by mutual
consent all well and good, but the best advice is: when in doubt,
don't touch.
You need hands
There are some reasonably safe areas in which bodily contact
can be increased. In greetings and farewells, as we have already
seen, bodily contact is often a normal part of the occasion.
Handshakes are particulaIly common and, if they do not occur
spontaneously, they can often be introduced without any
awkwardness or embarrassment. They can take many forms,
from the limpest-wristed holding out of a hand and allowing the
other person to hold it weakly and briefly to the strongest and
most vigorous shaking of the other's hand, which has even been
known to produce an expression of pain on the part of the
recipient. Most people seem to prefer handshakes which are on
the firm side rather than the weak. Weak handshakes seem to be
associated in men with effeminacy and a general ineffectiveness
of personality. Women may get away with a weaker handshake,
but even here, if the handshake is too weak, it may be perceived
as being ofered insincerely and reluctantly. You should remember
that the purpose of a handshake is to greet someone or bid them
farewell or to cement an agreement. It needs to be fairly positive,
warm and friendly if it is to come anywhere near to doing its j ob.
Hands are also used for more prolonged holding than occurs in
the handshake. Desmond Morris included hand-holding in what
he called 'tie-signs', or behaviour which indicates the existence of
a personal relationship. Other examples are the 'body-guide' , in
which the hand is used to guide someone in the direction in
which you want them to go by means of light pressure on the
person's back, the 'pat', in which a person is patted on the arm,
the shoulder or the back, and embraces of various kinds.
The hands can be used in self-touching. Some common forms of
this are stroking the chin, grooming the hair, scratching the head
and rubbing the nose. Such actions often occur during moments
of stress. Observe a car driver who is being 'tailgated' ( that is, the
driver behind is far too close for safety at the speed being
travelled) . Very often, drivers in this situation will scratch their
heads or their eyebrows or the side of their face. If you doubt this
and consider that such actions are simply because the driver has
an itch, try to observe drivers on motorways. You will find a
noticeable increase in self-touching during moments of tension
and stress such as occur in tailgating. Do not do the tailgating
yourself, though, for obvious reasons.
Huggi ng and kissi ng
There i s a school of psychological thought which attributes
many of our contemporary personal and social problems to the
fact that, as adults, we do not indulge in hugging and being
hugged as much as when we were children. If only we could get
back, they argue, to a situation in which we hugged each other
as freely as children do, we should all be much happier for it.
There may well be some truth in this, but it is dificult to see how
it can be achieved. Perhaps we could each make a start by
hugging those closest to us a little more often.
The same may well apply to activities like cuddling and tickling,
though once again the guiding principle as to what is possible is
what is appropriate. There are, afer all, those who enj oy bodily
contact and respond to it readily and those who are reluctant to
become involved in much touching and tend to shy away from
it. People are usually put into two categories: touchers and non­
touchers. There is some evidence that there is an association
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with gestures, with touchers preferring open gestures and non­
touchers tending to use closed gestures.
Another diffculty in extending the frequency of activities like
hugging and kissing is the relationship between bodily contact
and status. This affects all touching behaviour. It is easy enough
to hug and kiss a child, but it would be impossible to extend this
to one's superior at work. It is easy enough for a doctor to give
a nurse an encouraging pat on the back or to touch a patient; it
is much more difficult for a nurse to do the same to a doctor or
for a patient to touch a doctor. Again, exceptions are small
children and also, perhaps, the very old.
Stroking and caressing are touching behaviours reserved for tose
whose relationship is a close, usually sexual, one. meveryday life
we tend to have to substitute verbal stroking for physical stroking.
Eric Berne, the founder of transactional analysis, saw such
'stroking' as wishing someone well or hoping they would 'have a
nice day' as being very important in improving interpersonal
relationships. Between strangers, it is indeed probably better that
such 'stroking' should be verbal rather than non-verbal.
There is one activity, however, in which touching is not only
generally permissible but actually encouraged. That is in dancing
( that is, ballroom dancing and not disco dancing in which the
participants rarely, if ever, touch) . Dancing can be a preliminary
to later intimacy or it can be indulged in entirely for its own sake.
Those who feel in any way deprived of touching experiences can
remedy the situation in any dance hall - provided, of course, that
they know the dance steps.
Kissing experiences are less easy to generate because of their
more frequent sexual associations. In some families and social
groups, it is customary for members meeting or departing from
each other to exchange a brief kiss. In others, there is hardly any
kissing at all, even during lovemaking.
Don'tpush
Aggressive behaviour ofen involves bodily contact, though much
aggression can be expressed verbally. According to Michael
Argyle, aggression is the inate response to attack, fustration and
competition for resources. Usually threat displays are much more
common than actual bodily contact. A built-in appeasement
mechanism seems to prevent us from going so far as to damage
each other, uless provoked beyond our limits of tolerance.
Amongst children a great deal 'of apparently violent play can
occur more often among boys than girls. Young men may often
be boisterous with each other, sparring and generally indulging
in horseplay. Lovers can engage in playful pinching, an activity
which frequently becomes a form of sexual foreplay. Such
activities may even be ways in which we can get aggressive
tendencies out of our systems.
It would clearly be better if we could react to aggressive situations
in the same kind of way that we react to uninvited bodily contact
in such places as tube trains, where we respond to the inevitability
of contact not by fighting it but by turning our heads away from
the immediate source of contact. Turning the other cheek may,
afer all, have a practical day-to-day application.
Beter bodi ly contact
From all of this we can perhaps extract some ways in which we
can improve our performance in what we have already identifed
as a highly sensitive area of body language which is faught with
dangers for the careless and the unwary. We can develop a firm
( but not too firm) , friendly handshake which will give others some
reassurance in interacting with us. We can engage in the social kiss
in those situations in which it is appropriate. For deciding which
situations are appropriate we have to develop our sensitivity to
touch receptiveness on the part of others. Carrying out some of the
exercises at the end of this chapter, j ust as carrying out the
exercises in other chapters, will help you build up a general
sensitivity to the use of all the various aspects of body language.
A old saying runs that the best way to knock a chip of a person's
shoulder is to pat hm or her on the back. This has more than a
metaphorical application for, as we have seen, patting on the arm,
shoulder or back can be a gesture of encouragement or support.
Ofen, this is j ust what people with 'chips on their shoulders' need,
as such 8 attitde is fequently the result of being ignored or
undervalued in some way. Similarly, fiendly or protective arms
round shoulders can be ways in which we can show people that we
are on their side. You should remember that, in the right
circumstances, touching can promote ling. As the study quoted
at the begining of the chapter showed, touchg can also produce
favourable reactions fom others and is thus a means of infuencing
the judgements and even the actions of others. Touchng is
appropriate when congratulatig others on some achievement or
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success. Usually, this is i the form of pats on the back,
handshaking or hugging. Touching can often be used legitimately
to atract attention, especially fom someone whose attention is
clearly elsewhere. It can also be used when guiding people.
Exercises andexperi ments
J Don't touch me
I n a cae, rrant, bar or other public place, obsere people's touching
behaviour. Tr to identif the touchers and the non-touchers. Are there
diferences in other aspects of each group's use of body language?
2 Give me a hug
The next ti me i t is appropriate, hug someone whom you know wel l but
who you woul d perhaps not thi nk it necessary to hug in order to
communi cate your afection for them. Exampl es mi ght be mother,
father, sister, brother, wife, husband or other close relati on. What are
your reactions to thi s exercise? What was thei r response?
3 Who is it?
Enl ist the cooperation of one or two friends. Ask one of them to bl indfold
you and then direct you to another person. Tr to identify that person by
touching their face and head only. How easy is it to do this? Get the
others to take it i n tums to carr out the exercise. Discuss your
responses to the activity. Can you find any general rules for identifying
people by touch? How do people feel about being identified in this way?
9 Shake hands, pal
Duri ng the course of a day, tr gi vi ng the peopl e you meet diferent
kinds of handshakes when you meet them. What are thei r. reacti ons?
Do you feel that peopl e prefer a stronger or a weaker handshake?
How do you react to the handshakes you receive from others? What
i s your own preference as far as handshakes are concerned?
Ü Hol di ng on longer
On those occasi ons when you fi nd yourself i n physical contact with
others whom you know wel l , i n the form of handshakes, hugs, kisses
and so on, tr mai ntai ni ng the contact for sl i ghtly longer than usual .
How do you feel about doi ng this? How do other peopl e respond?
In this chapter VOU will lear:
• about appearnce and
physi que
• simple changes to these can
have an efect upon an
i ndividual's abi l it to interct
successful ly with others which
is not insignificant.
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We turn now to considering the comunicative value of the way
we look to other people. The size and shape of our bodies and
the way we cover those bodies with clothing of various kinds
exerts a considerable influence over how other people perceive
us and over how much attention they pay to us. These would
seem, at first sight, to be areas over which we can exert little
control but, as we shall see, this is not the case. Indeed, they are
areas in which we have considerable scope for manipulation,
without it appearing as such to those we meet in the course of
our daily lives. Some aspects are completely within our control,
but others are only partly so.
Mark Knapp invited us to envisage a typical American morning
scene. The lady of the house replaces her night-time bra with a
slightly padded uplift bra. She puts on her girdle. She puts on her
face with eyebrow pencil, mascara, lipstick, rouge ( or blusher) ,
eye liner and false eyelashes. There may be many more things to
do before she feels ready to face the world. The man of the house
shaves his face, removes his false teeth from their overnight soak,
gargles, pats on his aftershave and decides what to wear.
There is no doubt that we go to a great deal of trouble to make
ourselves presentable to the world. Very few of us indeed simply
climb out of bed, dress in what we wore the day before and set
out to confront whatever the day has to offer. We clearly realize
that the way we look makes a diference to the way others will
react and respond to us.
Knapp quoted some dramatic, and disturbing, examples of how
our appearance can affect others, and hence ourselves. A j udge
in Italy fined a German woman tourist for crossing her legs in
such a way as to bare a thigh whilst she sat drinking coffee with
fiends at a roadside cafe. A research psychologist found that a
woman hitch-hiker could double the number of lifts she was
offered by adding two inches of padding to her bust. A nineteen­
year-old girl with a face so deformed that people were repelled
by it committed a crime in order to be arrested. The j udge
ordered plastic surgery for her. He felt a change of appearance
would lead to a change of behaviour and reduce antisocial
tendencies.
Appearance and physique may not always make the difference
beteen honesty and a life of crime. Appearance does, however,
need to be taken seriously if we are to further our mastery of
body language.
Exercise: a complete change of clothing
The next ti me you go out social ly, dress i n an entirely diferent way
from the way in whi ch you usually dress. If you are in the habit of
weari ng a sui t and ti e, dress ver casual l y, or vice versa. What
diferences do you notice in the way your fri ends react? In the way
strangers react? Do men react diferently from women? How do
you feel about dressi ng diferently? Does it make you feel
uncomforable or i s it a l i berati ng experience?
Exercise review
You shoul d have found, at the ver least, that you can change your
appearance and other people wi l l tolerate i t even i f they may
comment adversely. At the best, you may well have found that a
diferent style of dress would be better for you in future because it wi l l
enable you to interact more successful l y wi th others. Cl othes can give
confidence if they are selected careful l y with an eye to what i s most
appropriate. Ti mi d people ofen hav
e
a tendency to dress perhaps a
l ittl e too conseratively. If thi s exercise has persuaded a few to be a
trifle more adventurous, it may ver wel l have sered a pari cul arly
useful purpose.
I f you deviate from cl othi ng norms at work, you could well receive
critical comments, not only from your col l eagues or workmates but
also from your superiors. Many compani es have a ' dress code' . Your
boss may even tell you to go home and change i nto your normal work
cl othes. However, if you receive no adverse comment at all, you either
work i n a l i beral envi ronment or i n a job where choice of cl othi ng does
not matter. I f thi s i s the case and you always dress in the same way,
you now know you can be more varied in your choice of atire.
Fi rst i mprssions
As we saw in the last chapter, our first contact with other people
is 'eye to body'; that is, we look first at their bodies before we
establish eye contact. Exceptions there may be to this, but in
general it is true. This means that the first things we usually see
are the clothes they are wearing, and from them we make certain
j udgements.
Clothes may, in moderate and colder climates, be necessary for
protection and may be required by the culture on grounds of
modesty, but they still have considerable . communicative value.
They reveal something about our income, our status, our

% occupation, our personality, and many other things. People can
tell a great deal about us simply fom our choice of clothes from
the great variety available. Even things 'thrown on' in the most
hurried and casual manner still speak volumes. It is no good our
trying to give an impression to others, say of wealth or of
fashion-consciousness, unless our clothes support what we say.
They will certainly give our game away.
Clothes can, of course, be categorized in many ways, but one
basic distinction is whether they are formal or informal. Formal
can include more than tuxedos or dinner j ackets. It includes
uniforms of various kinds and even the business executive' s suit.
School uniforms may be regarded as formal. This reflects
changes in society.
At one time not so long ago lounge suits were thought of as
informal, and invitations to functions which say 'dress informal'
may still mean you will be frowned on if you turn up in well­
worn sweater and j eans. However, in an everyday context,
informal dress usually now means j ust this and also includes
anoraks, open-necked shirts, all kinds of trousers or shorts, and
so on. Women may now also wear these things as well as
j umpers and skirts and dresses of an astonishing variety.
Generally speaking, formal clothes are more common at work
and informal at play, but we tend to choose what we shall wear
on the basis of what is comfortable, what covers our bodies with
appropriate modesty, or what displays our bodies so as to
convey to others the image we have of ourselves. We also have
to take into account the prevailing 'rules' about what is
acceptable. Many clubs and even bars and restaurants will not
serve you unless, if you are male, you are wearing a j acket and
tie. The converse can be observed on continental beaches in
summer when a woman may feel overdressed if she wears
anything more than a bikini bottom.
Fashion is particularly influential in determining what young
people will wear, though nowadays there is no single fashion to
follow. So fashion is no longer the restricting infuence over
choice that it once was. Jewellery and other adornments
complete the effect of the clothes.
We must not neglect the effect of body shape within the clothes.
Our bodies may determine more than the size of shirt or dress.
Advice to the overweight, for example, often recommends
darker colours for the lower part of the body and lighter ones for
the top, vertical stripes rather than horizontal, and so on. It
appears that, with care, even fat can be disguised and so promote
the possibility of achieving a better first impression.
You've gota have stl e
Clearly, then, since how we dress can be manipulated, i t can
become an important element in our communicative style. Our
choice of clothing tells others who we are, or at least it tells them
how we see ourselves. It identifes our uniqueness or, if we are
wearing a uniform, our similarity to others. It shows how we view
our own personality. This is ofen conveyed by colour, where
more introverted people will choose quieter or drabber colours
and the more outgoing will go for brighter and even contrasting
colours. Our clothing will show our age and sex, usually, and may
even give hints about our social class or status and our occupation.
How much we communicate to others through our choice of
clothing can depend on how much we want to communicate.
This may be limited by our physique. It is difficult to dress as an
international j et-setting playboy if you are 50 years old and
weigh 1 8 stone ( 250 lb; 1 14 kg) . It may also be affected by our
mood at the time - sometimes we may wish to be flamboyant
( say, at a fancy dress party) and sometimes to merge with the
crowd. How often all these factors change will influence how
often we change our clothing, quite apart from considerations of
personal hygiene. Some people seem to wear the same sweater
and j eans for ever; others go through several changes a day.
Appearance thus gives some useful clues as to what people we
are meeting for the first time will be like. That is why salesmen
and public relations oficers take so much trouble to be smart in
appearance. Sometimes they overdo it and come over as too
smooth, too bland, too ingratiating. They go over the top and
become Uriah Heeps. The trick is to go only so far as convention
dictates and to avoid too many extra touches like buttonholes,
breast pocket handkerchiefs, too much afershave and so on.
Some interesting studies have even shown that the extent to
which students will accept what a teacher says is affected by his
or her appearance. Those who dress reasonably smartly and
conventionally are more likely to be taken as experts in their
subject than those whose dress is casual and too informal. Most
teachers seem to be unaware of this and place a relatively low
value on appearance.
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Sometimes we need to be able to set aside appearance and
physique and see through to the real message being communi­
cated. We must not allow the medium to become the message.
What is being communicated is more important than how, if
only we can get through to it. However, this is not as easy as it
sounds. Even j uries are influenced by appearance. Well-dressed,
attractive young women get lighter sentences, according to the
research, unless their crime was one in which their appearance
was an asset to them, as in blackmail or confidence trickery.
Soring the men from the women
Even in an age in which sex equality is being actively sought and
'sexist' comments and views are frowned upon, the diferences in
the appearance and physique of men and women are inescapable.
Inevitably, since they exist, they afect the ways in which we
respond to each other non-verbally. We would be less than fair to
ourselves here if we ignored them.
Men tend to be taller and heavier than women. They are
generally stronger and able to carry more. They have longer legs
and larger feet in proportion to the rest of their bodies. They run
faster, are better throwers, and are better long distance runners.
They have broader shoulders and longer arms, bigger chests,
lungs and hearts, stronger skulls and sturdier j aws. They are thus
better protected against physical attacks. They also have deeper
voices, are hairier (though they ofen become bald in later life)
and have a greater tendency to develop a pot belly.
You might think all this would make it an easy matter to tell men
and women apart. But this is not necessarily so. Recent
confusions have been created as a result of an increased use of
make-up by men and a trend for women to wear the same clothes
as men.
Still there are ways in which even women in men's clothing can
be identified as female. There are certain areas of the anatomy to
which we can look for clues: the face, for instance, for women do
not grow beards. Women generally have a wider pelvis, resulting
in what Desmond Morris called the 'crotch gap', a sensible
natural provision for their role as child bearers. They have
slender waists and thicker thighs. Their navels are deeper and
their bellies longer. The breasts usually protrude. They have
rounder bottoms and have more of a hip sway when walking.
One might perhaps ask why we need to be able to detect sex
diferences. mmany everyday encounters, it is true, the sex of the
participants is not really important. In an advanced industrial
society, the roles of the sexes are to a large extent inter­
changeable; it is only when it comes to courtship and mating that
the differences become essential.
We might, in passing, consider two questions:
1 Why are female impersonators so funny? Some would doubt
that they are, but for those who find them amusing part of the
answer lies in the fact that they often exaggerate female
characteristics by making-up too heavily, over-dressing and
having larger than normal artificial busts. Perhaps they are
also a sign that our culture is still a fairly sexist one.
Z Is there a 'gay', or homosexual, appearance and physique?
This is becoming more dificult to answer. It used to be that
gay men had slighter builds and adopted characteristically
female postures and gestures even when they did not actually
dress in women's clothes. Gay women used to wear men's
clothing or clothing that had a distinctly masculine appearance
to it. Nowadays, these distinctions are less pronounced. This
may be an indication that our sexist society is becoming less so.
Body shape and size
It is easier to change your appearance than your physique, but
some changes can be made. It is fashionable today to be slim and
women more than men go to great lengths to reduce their body
size by dieting. Men tend to try to achieve a similar result by
means of exercise, such as j ogging.
There are those who find such behaviour faintly ludicrous. Yet
there can be good reasons for attempting to change, or even
appear to change, the shape and size of your body. It changes
people's perceptions of you and affects the amount of notice they
take of you. Successful slimmers often report an improvement in
their social lives. Even clothing which masks fatness can achieve
a similar result.
Body shapes are generally classified as ectomorph ( thin and
bony), mesomorph ( muscular) or endomorph (fat) . Michael
Argyle reports that ectomorphs are usually perceived by others
as quiet and tense, mesomorphs as adventurous and self-reliant,
and endomorphs as warm-hearted, agreeable and dependent.
Thus, even being fat can have its compensations.
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Changes can also afect your view of yourself. Again, slimmers
often report an increase in confidence and a greater sense of well­
being. People who become fat in middle age can become quite
depressed by the change, especially if they lack the will to do
anything about it. Conversely, those who slim to the point of
anorexia often have a poor self-image and also become
depressed. The trick seems to be to decide on the body shape and
size that is the best combination of what you want and what you
can achieve, to want to attain it suficiently strongly, and then to
set about achieving it in a reasonably resolute manner.
Motivation does, in fact, seem to be the single most significant
factor in determining what kind of change is achieved and for
how long.
People change
Ray Birdwhistell suggested that we learn to be who we are: i t is
not something which is pre-determined and unchangeable. It
accounts for the fact that the people of some regions look so
much alike when it cannot be attributed to shared genes. He
agreed that the set of our eyebrows, our mouth shape, our face
contours and many other aspects of appearance are all learned
from other people we live and mix with. If this is only partly true,
it opens up further possibilities for changing our appearance.
There are changes which appear as we grow older, but perhaps
we can learn to avoid or postpone some of them without going
to extremes. We can often resist sagging of the features, obesity,
stooping and many other changes by proper attention to diet and
exercise.
People often change after a traumatic event in their personal
relationships, and not necessariy for the worse. Afer a separation
or divorce ( and sometimes after a bereavement), some people
suddenly become much more lively and outgoing. Tey may begi
going to dances and socializing for the first time in many years.
One of the paradoxes of life is that older people often try to look
younger while younger people try to look older. Balding men
may begin to wear toupees. Young men may grow moustaches
or beards because these make them appear more mature. There
would seem to be nothing very harmful in such activities. If
others respond positively to such changes and if you feel better
at the same time, they could well have a generally beneficial
efect.
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J 0Z I mprovi ng your i mage
Suppose you wanted to review your appearance and physique
and do something to improve them; how would you start? The
first step would be to do the obvious: look in a mirror. But also
study recent photographs of yourself. Observe yourself in shop
windows as you walk down a street. If you can, videotape
yourself, or have someone else do it. Build up a picture in your
mind and then set about making changes where you feel you
most need to.
You might start by changing your clothing. If you normally dress
formally, try being a little more informal, or vice versa. If you
habitually wear clothes of rather subdued colours, try being a
little more colourful. Try experimenting a little with different
kinds of clothing. If you shop carefully, it need not be an
expensive experience.
You mght change your hairstyle. üyou are completely bald, you
could wear a toupee. Many modern ones are scarcely detectable in
wear. You might change the colour of your hair. It is fast
becomng acceptable even for men to dye their hair. A new look
here can have a considerably uplifing efect upon your personality
and general confidence.
If you are overweight, you could try slimming and taking
exercise. Try it for a specified period, say, three months. It is best
to consult your general practitioner about the best method for
you. There is no need to enrol in expensive slimming clubs unless
you feel you need to be in the company of like-minded others in
order to succeed.
Pay particular attention to your face and skin. Men may try
growing beards or moustaches to see what effect they have, not
only on others' reactions, but also on how they feel themselves.
Women may change their make-up. There are many beauty
books available which contain a wealth of advice on how to
make the most of what nature gave, or did not give, you.
Observe other people to see what trends there are in the various
fashions. You may well see something that would suit you in the
way others dress and present themselves to the world. What do
your friends look like? Have you perhaps allowed yourself to
grow to look a little too much like them? Have you become a
bird of a feather?
There is no need to go over the top and overdo the changes.
Here, as in most things, moderation is the key. What do you
really want to look like? Decide that and then set about it in a
determined and resolute manner.
Exercises and experi ments
J Don't innovate, copy
Cut out a series of magaine pictures which show people pretty much
l i ke yourself i n various ki nds of clothi ng. Cut the heads of so that the
clothi ng wi l l be emphasi zed. Ask several of your fami l y and fri ends to
rate the pictures for attractiveness on a scale of Û to 1 Û. Ask them
what, specifical l y, they fi nd atractive when they give a high score.
Make a l i st of these factors. Tr to i ncorporate them i nto your own
cl othi ng. Are the results benefi ci al ?
Z Endo, ecto or meso?
Cl assify yourself as an endomorph, ectomorph or mesomorph. If you
do not fi t a type easi ly, select the nearest one, or ask a good friend to
cl assify you. Classify your family. I s there a predomi nant fami l y type?
| Íyou are young, look at the older members especially: you mi ght see
what you will look l i ke i n a few years' ti me. Do you l i ke what you see?
Cl assify your fri ends. Are you bi rds of a feather? Does anyone stand
out as the odd one? Do daughters tend to look l i ke mothers and sons
l i ke fathers? What other si mi larities and differences do you notice?
Ü Whose clothes are these?
For each of the fol l owi ng sets of cl othi ng, suggest the age, sex, status
(or social class) and typi cal occupati on of the owner:
a Pi n-stripe sui t, old school tie, bl ack umbrel l a
b Ol d sweater, ol d jeans, old trai ni ng shoes
c Flat cap, brown overal l , grey trousers, black shoes
d Tight yel low sweater, shor skir, hi gh-heeled shoes
e Flowi ng, flower dress, a lot of jewel l ery
Í Glasses, white coat, dark trousers, bl ack pol i shed shoes
0 Sports jacket with leather el bows, crumpl ed trousers, old suede
shoes
h Broderie anglais white blouse, black skir, seamed tights, black shoes
Sungl asses pushed up on to top of forehead, bi ki ni bottom
Bl ack ornate leather jacket, leather gl oves, jeans, leather boots
J03
J0 Use your i magi nation and change the wearers around (Le. gi vi ng a's
cl othes to wearer b; c' s clothes to wearer i , and so on). What are the
efects of doing this?
9 Asking for i nformati on
Dress smarly i n conventional dress. Go to a railway stati on, bus
station or airpor and ask some members of the publ ic for di recti ons
to a pre-selected pl ace. On another day, dress scrufily i n your ol dest
cl othes and conduct the same experiment. What diferences do you
notice i n the ways peopl e respond to you?
Ü Judging strangers
As you go about your dai l y business, obsere the appearance and
physi que of other peopl e. Specul ate on their age, sex, status (or
social cl ass) and l i kely occupati on. What factors do you take i nto
account in maki ng your judgements? If the opporunity arises
naturally, ask to fi nd out how accurate you were.
6 Who is this?
An obese ol d man, wi th the sof ski n and round, di mpled cheeks of a
baby, the jaw l i ne and chi n almost lost in fat, eyes and nose both
di sproporionately smal l , the mouth ri chl y curl ed and hol di ng a ci gar,
on hi s head a bl ack homburg hat, and weari ng a dark, three-piece
sui t.
Answer (do not read unti l you have decided or unl ess you give up - it
is given backwards): LLl HCRUHC NOTSNIW.
In this chapter V0U will ieam:
• about timing and synchro­
nization as aspects of body
language
• the i mporance of time in
Wester culture
• how wel l we synchrnize when
tal king to other.
J0 I n his book The Silent Language, Edward Hall told us of an
assignment he once had as a member of a mayor's committee on
human relations in a big American city. He had to interview
heads of departments to assess whether non-discrimination
practices could be adopted. Special attention was given to
arranging the interviews. Each head was asked to be prepared to
spend an hour or more on the discussion.
What actually happened was that, in spite of the care taken over
the arrangements, appointments were forgotten, he had to wait
for long periods in outer offices, and the length of the interview
itself was ofen cut down to 10 or 1 5 minutes.
What these heads of departments were doing, whether consciously
or unconsciously, was using time to communicate something
which they probably would not have had the courage, or the
rudeness, to express in words. Time can thus be a powerfl non­
verbal communicator.
This aspect of body language (the alternative title non-verbal
communication would, in fact, be more accurate here) is covered
by the term chronemics, or the study of the use of time. Our
interest here in the field is in what it can tell us not only about
- how the use of time affects communication between people, but
also about how we can improve our skill in communicating by
improving our use of time. We shall also consider the role of
synchrony in body language when people are conversing.
Our concept of time is central to our world view. Indeed, there is
almost an obsession with time in our Western culture. We place
a high importance on punctuality and on keeping to a pre­
determined schedule. That is one reason why, in Hall's story,
keeping people waiting is a particularly hostile action. The tempo
of our activities tells others a great deal about us. One simple way
to impress others is to appear to be always busy with lots of
meetings and appointments. A fast pace is more highly thought of
in the West than a slow one. We regard slow-pace people as lazy,
though they may actually achieve more than those who are
forever dashing about but may be getting nowhere.
Exercise: faster communication
Select an activity. Any activity will do, but some of the easiest ones
for this type of exercise are readi ng, writi ng letters or repors,
walking from the stati on to the ofi ce, washi ng the car. Time your
activity. If you choose readi ng, ti me how l ong you take to read your
daily newspaper, say; if you choose writi ng, how long it takes to
write a single leter or repor. Then, over the course of the next
week, time ever si mi lar activity (readi ng the paper, writi ng letters
or repors of about the same length and so on) . Each ti me, afer the
first, make a consci ous efor to speed up just a l ittl e. Do not put
any great efor i nto thi s, si mply aim to achi eve a new ' personal
best' each time and see what happens. The i mporant thi ngs are
to time the activity, to tr to complete the task i n sl i ghtly less ti me
and to keep a record of these ti mes. You wi l l also have to make
sure that each task i s of approximately the same size each time (a
newspaper with the same number of pages to read, leters and
repors of the same length, a journey of the same di stance, etc.).
Exercise review
You should have found that you ca spee up ay activity without
suf ering loss of qual ity i n perorance. Sometimes the increase in
speed can be quite sUbstial. I n readi ng, for instance, it is not unknown
for incr i n spee of 1 ÛÛ%, without loss of comprhension, to be
achieved in this simple way. Te average increase in speed is usually
about ÛÛ%. In writing the possibilities for speeding up, or saving time, B
more l i mited, but it should sti l l be possible to achieve a saving of time on
each let er or repor of about 1 Û%, which is a not insignificant amount of
time. Similar savings should D possible in a wide range of activities,
such as walking from the station to the ofice or washing the car.
I f you have carried out the i nstructions in the exercise faithful ly.
especially with regard to ti mi ng the activity and keepi ng a record (say,
|H a notebook) of your results, you shoul d fi nd that it is possi bl e to
save considerabl e amounts of time not only i n communi cati on but
also i n everday l ife generally.
Time and tide
One way of creating time which you can use either for more
effective commuication or for other activities is, then, to
increase the fow rate. This is a concept to which we will return
in the last section of this chapter, when we will look at 12
techniques for using time more effectively. What we need to
remind ourselves of here, however, is the old adage 'More haste,
l ess speed'. In our search for ways of improving time use in
communication, it is important that we should avoid hurrying.
Hurry can lead to error. We need to concentrate on ways that will
enable us to achieve our obj ective without reducing performance.
1 07
J0 Another fact we must remind ourselves of i s that time i s a finite
resource - that is to say, there is only a certain amount of it
available to us. No matter how hard we try, we cannot squeeze
any more than 24 hours out of any day. When we remember that
we have to allow time for sleeping, eating and other activities,
the amount of time we spend in communicating with others is
probably no more than a very few hours. It has been calculated,
for instance, that the average manager spends about 35% of his
working time communicating with others in various ways. Given
a working day of eight hours, we are talking of a period of
around three hours. Speeding up activities by an average of 50%
can thus release time, which makes i t possible to read three
journals in the time it previously took to read two, or write three
reports, make three telephone calls, and so on, all in the space
previously required for two.
Time creation is thus an activity with a considerable potential for
making it possible to keep pace with an increasingly rapidly
changing world. That is, the pace of change is accelerating and
we must either find ways of keeping up with it or fall behind. But
before we examine these time-creation techniques in more detail,
let us consider some of the other aspects of how our attitude to
time and our use of it affect the nature and quality of our
communication with other people.
Good ti mes and bad ti mes
We are all aware that there are certain times when we feel good
and can communicate with greater ease and enthusiasm and
other times when all we wish to do is isolate ourselves and avoid
all contact with other people. Such feelings are often influenced
by the natural time rhythms of the body. These circadian
rhythms affect everything we do. When they become disrupted -
as, say, in the phenomenon of j et lag - they can cause us not only
to feel under the weather but also to make mistakes and unsound
decisions and to behave irrationally. That is why travellers who
are collecting a hire car when they fly across the Atlantic, for
example, are advised to stay overnight at an airport hotel and
collect the car after a good night's sleep when their body has had
some chance to adapt to a different time zone.
Some people fnd that they habitually operate better at one time
of day than another. Some are at their best first thing in the
morning. Others are better later in the day or even at night. It
does not seem to matter too much which category you find
yourself in, as long as the 'larks' can do their most important
work early in the day and the 'owls' can organize their lives so
that the reverse happens.
Part of this difference, however, is an illusion. Studies of ability
in carrying out tasks at different times of the day suggest that
mid-morning is best, with the early part of the afternoon
showing another peak (though rather lower than the morning' s)
and evenings being the worst time. Nevertheless, if people feel
they are working more productively in the evenings, that may be
a better finding for them than whatever research suggests should
be appropriate. Perhaps it is the relative absence of distractions
in the evening and at night which makes some people prefer
them.
Rhythm, in the form of timing, is also very important in humour.
Observations of comedians can be interesting for revealing the
i mportance of timing. You should watch some on television and
note how they wait for the laughter and applause to die down,
but not out, before continuing with another gag. Those who are
poor tellers of j okes often are so not because the j okes they tell
3|0 not funny, but because their pacing of the j oke and their
ti ming of the punchline are at fault.
Si l ences and pauses
The duration of silences and pauses can have communicative
val ue. Short hesitations, if associated with many speech errors,
can indicate that a speaker is nervous or is telling lies. A long
pause can be an indication that a speaker has dried up. It can
al so, in conversation, show thoughtfulness and an unwillingness
( ) be rushed for a response.
Pauses when people are speaking on television tend to be shorter
than in any other medium. This may be a consequence of the
editorial style which fequently dictates that items in programmes
should be short so that several subjects can be covered in a single
programme. It is only in chat shows, when one interviewer may
t al k to only two or three people in the course of an hour or so,
t hat the pattern of silences and pauses returns to normal. mpolice
and other interrogations, silence is often interpreted as an
admission of guilt, especially if it persists. m other contexts, it
may be interpreted as shyness, as a wilfl refusal to speak or as
i gnorance of the answer to a question.
J0
JJ0 In public speaking, pauses can be used to great efect to wring
either laughter or applause from an audience. In some ways, the
effective public speaker uses the same kind of timing techniques
as the successful comedian, waiting for applause or laughter to
almost die out before continuing. Speakers at conferences will
ofen indicate that they expect applause by pausing. This is
particularly noticeable at a stage-managed political conference.
It is significant, however, that it is ofen only high-status
members of the party who can make the technique work almost
unfailingly.
If you can, tape yourself giving a speech or even simply engaging
in conversation with someone else. In this way, you can see how
you use silences and pauses, how long they typically are and
whether they occur in appropriate places. You may even be able
to identify ways in which you can improve your use of silences
and pauses when communicating with others.
Dovetai l i ng in di scussions
A good deal of research has been carried out by kinesicists ( see
Chapter 4) into how we synchronize our interaction with others.
From a detailed frame-by-frame analysis of films of people
talking to each other, researchers have discovered that we use all
of the aspects of body language we have discussed so far to pace,
control and regulate our face-to-face encounters with others. In
particular, we use eye contact, head nods, body movements and
gestures in a far from random fashion. Indeed, synchronizing
with others produces a rhythmic pattern which some believe is
necessary for successful communication to take place at all.
William Condon was one American researcher who spent many
thousands of hours in the analysis of films. He discovered not
only that people move rhythmically when they are speaking but
also that the listener moves in time with this rhythm. Even when
a listener appears to be sitting perfectly still, his eye-blinks or the
way he puffs on his pipe synchronize with the words he is
listening to. Much of this rhythm is not immediately obvious to
a casual observer, but becomes apparent only when a film of a
conversation is analyzed frame by frame.
Adam Kendon, in a study of the pattern of eye contact between
two people who were conversing in order to get to know each
other, found that there is a pattern of eye contact both at the
beginning and the end of long speeches. As one person finishes
what he is saying, he looks steadily at the other, who immediately
l ooks away and begins saying what he wants to say. Kendon
found that if this did not happen, there was ofen a pause before
the other person began to speak. It is through rhyths as subtle
as these that the whole process of interpersonal communication
is regulated. If it breaks down, as in communication with certain
kinds of mental patient, conversation can become impossible.
Kendon also found that, when someone begins to talk, a listener
will show increased synchrony of body movements, perhaps
even exactly echoing the movements of the speaker, showing
that he is paying close attention. Then he may settle back and
show very little movement at all until he sees that the speaker is
coming to the end of what he is saying, when he will again begin
!O move quite conspicuously. This time, his movements will
adopt the other's rhythm but will not match them. By moving in
this way, he is signalling that he now wishes to speak.
Í!is interesting once again to watch people talking on video, with
the sound turned down, to see if you can detect any of these very
subtle movements which help people to synchronize what they
are saying with what other people are saying. The better you can
ti me and synchronize your contributions to conversations and
discussions, the more successfully you will be able to communi­
cate both non-verbally and verbally.
Geti ng a wor in edgeways
I f you wish to break into a conversaton, it helps if you are a
person of high status. We unconsciously defer to those we
perceive as higher in the social or organizational hierarchy than
ourselves. However, even the humblest of us will stand an
i ncreased chance of being listened to if we use some behaviours
rather than others.
Michael Agyle suggests there are various signals which we can
use to achieve this. If we want to say something, we can, of
course, simply interrupt. But there are subtler methods. Speaking
a little louder than the general level of conversation will often
secure attention for long enough to enable you to begin making
your point. Normal politeness will then enable you to lower the
volume and be allowed to finish it. It is important not to raise the
volume by much, however, because this may be seen by others as
heing as rude as interrupting.
JJJ
J J Z Mg tiple head nods, especially uaccompanied by verbal sigals
like 'yes', 'but' or 'wel', can work. Normally, in lstening, head nods,
as we have seen in Chapter 3, are single or double. Te tiple head
nod is thus interpreted by others as sigalng some other m
attenton. It shows tem, in fact, that we want to speak ourselves.
To prevent someone interrupting you, you can raise your voice.
This acts as a deterrent, but again may be seen by others as
rudeness if the increase in volume is excessive. You can indicate
the same thing a little more subtly by keeping a hand in mid­
gesture at the ends of sentences.
To show that you are willing to let someone else take over the
speaking role in a conversation, or get a word in edgeways
themselves, you have several choices. You can simply come to
the end of a sentence and pause. You can finish by trailing off or
saying 'you know' . You can drawl the final syllable. You can end
on a prolonged rising or falling pitch. You can come to the end
of a hand movement which is accompanying the speech. Or you
can simply look steadily at the other person, as the research by
Kendon indicated.
If, on the other hand, you are ofered an opportunity to speak,
but wish to decline it for the moment, you can simply nod. You
can grunt or make 'uh-huh' noises. You can request further
clarification of the point or you can simply restate what has been
said, which will encourage others to proceed and develop further.
By using signals like these it is possible not only to increase your
effectiveness in conversations and discussions with others but
also to feel that you are getting more personal satisfaction out of
them. Synchonization is satisfing, if you like.
How to use ti me efectively
It will be useful for you to develop your skill in non-verbal
communication by using 12 techniques, drawn from chronemics,
which will help you both to use time better when communicating
and to use it better in a whole range of everyday activities. The
techniques can be briefly described as follows:
1 Increased fow rates. A activity ( say, reading) is timed and
then on subsequent occasions is speeded up slightly until a
point is reached where it cannot comfortably be speeded up
further. Times ( and hence speeds) on equivalent activities are
recorded in a notebook.
Z Deadlines. An activity has to be completed in progressively
shorter times until further improvement cannot be made.
Results are again recorded.
J Flexible perorance stategies. A systematic approach to an
activit is devised and used. The self-training programe
outlied below is an example of a flexible performance strategy.
4 Antcipator scnning. Before a task, or a stage of a task, is
completed, you mor look ahead to the next and plan how to
tackle it. Ts can be seen in many public contact occupatons,
such as ailine check-in proedures, where a skled operator
glances periodically down the line to be ready for nervous or
awkward customers before they actualy reach the counter.
5 Selective perception of cues. This means being able to
identif those cues, or key features of a situation, which are
more important than others.
6 Accurate feedback. This is obtained from the record-keeping
referred to earlier and helps you to avoid repetition of errors.
7 Adequate incubation periods. Some time has to be set aside
to allow what is learned from using these techniques to mull
over in the mind.
U Allowance for imaginative and intuitive responses. When
you 'j ust know' the best and quickest way to do something.
9 Critical incidents and learning periods. Essentially, this
means doing things when you are in the most productive
frame of mind.
1Û Timing and synchronization. Doing things at the most
propitious moments and moving smoothly from one activity
to another.
1 1 Slippage and down time. Having a kind of 'reserve bank' of
activities for spare odd moments or for when unexpected
delays occur.
1Z Critical analysis of performance. You have to study your
records, analyze and evaluate, and see where frther
improvements can be made.
A self-training programme or flexible performance strategy
would typically take this form:
• Select an activity. Time it and assess the quality of the
performance.
• On subsequent occasions, use whichever of the 12 techniques
are appropriate ( you don't have to use them all every time -
be flexible) to achieve improved performance.
• Record in a notebook all results, assessments and other reactions.
• After, say, two weeks, evaluate the progress made.
JJ3
JJ4 • Decide whether it is worth your while to seek further progress
or whether to turn to another activity to progress in.
Using these techniques should result in greater effciency and
efectiveness and the creation of more time for yourself. Time
creation is, you will find, one of the most liberating of experiences.
Exercises and experi ments
J Punctual it is the pol iteness of pri nces
To find out how the people you mix with feel about punctuality, ask them
what time they woul d actually arrive for the following appointments:
a A doctor's appoi ntment at Û.4Û am
D A di nner date with friends flr Ï. ÛÛ pm
C A pary ti med to begin �I d.ÛÛ pm
D A meeti ng with your boss at Z. ÛÛ pm
0 P airl i ne flight schedul ed to depar at 1 1 . ÛÛam
Í Meeti ng a fri end for a dri nk in a pub at Ï. ÛÛ pm
Q An early momi ng radio interiew to be broadcast l ive at Ï. ÛÛ am
h A blind date outside a ci nema at Ï. 1 Û pm
A bl i nd date in a pub at Ï. 1 Û pm
An interiew for a job you would really l i ke to get, ti med for Û.ÛÛB.
2 How do you spend your ti me?
Take a sheet of A4 paper and divi de it i nto rectangles so that you have
a space for each half-hour of the worki ng day from Monday to Friday.
For two sampl e weeks, record i n each space the main activity you
have been engaged i n. What proporion of your worki ng day i s spent
i n face-to-face communi cation with others? An exampl e of a typical
day's record i s given i n Fi gure Û. 1 .
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Û How long is a telephone call?
Over the next week, ti me ever telephone cal l you make or receive and
log them i n your notebook. If you have a watch or cal cul ator with a
timer or stopwatch facility, this should be easy; if you have not, tr to
time cal ls to the nearest mi nute as accurately as you can. What is the
average length of cal l you make? What is the average length of call
others make to you? Which are longer, on average? Tr shoreni ng
calls sl i ghtly, without i n any way appeari ng rude to others. If you can
achieve it, what are the benefits (in addition to lower telephone bi l ls)?
You should find that cal ls can ofen be shorened appreciably without
adversely affecti ng the qual ity of the communication which takes
place. You should also find that this is another i l l ustration of the benefit
of ti mi ng an activity. It makes you aware of what is really happeni ng
and can produce some surprising results.
9 Cuting i n
When tal king with friends, tr using the techni ques for cutting i nto
conversations outli ned in this chapter. What are the results? Do you
find yourself being accorded a greater share of tal king time? Do you
find the experience rewarding? Have you been able to identify any
other techniques for gaining access to conversations and discussions?
Û Worki ng together
Obsere other people tal ki ng, either around you or on televisi on, and
l ook for examples of fai l ure to synchronize. Examples woul d be both
people talking at once for par of the time, long uncomforable
pauses, someone not being able to get a word i n edgeways.
Û Plan ahead
When you are readi ng, worki ng through an i n-tray, deal i ng with a
queue of peopl e, or sering in a bar, try looking ahead briefly to the
next task or par of a task. Do you find it hel pful i n prepari ng for what
| $to come?
JJõ
In this chapter V0U will lear:
• about the nonverbal aspects
of speech
• what we say can be con­
siderbly afected by our use,
del i berate or unconscious, of
pauses, 'ers' , ' urs' , changes
i n tone, pitch, pace and
accent, to name but a few of
the features that are more
i mporant than many people
suppose.
The statistics 36-24-36 will be familiar to many people,
especially those sexist aficionados of the Miss W orId contest.
The figures 55-38-07 will be less well recognized, but they are
perhaps of even greater daily significance. They refer to the
proportions of the impact of a message in a face-to-face
encounter which are accounted for by facial expressions, non­
verbal aspects of speech, and speech itself. In other words, only
7% of the impact is verbal, the remaining 93% is non-verbal.
The verbal element is much less significant than is commonly
supposed.
In this chapter, we shall be concerned with the 38% which is
attributable to non-verbal aspects of speech and with how that
relates to the 7% verbal component. It is an area of study to
which the term paralingistics has been applied.
The non-verbal aspects of speech include many elements. In
deciding how to interpret these aspects, we take account of
volume, tone, pitch, voice quality ( for example, whether it is
nasal, breathy or resonant) , rate of speaking, accent and stress.
We are also affected, as we shall see later in this chapter, by the
nature and number of speech errors.
We infer many things from the voice ( ignoring words spoken for
the moment) . We make j udgements about age, sex, attractive­
ness, social class and educational background. We also use vocal
characteristics in j udging occupations, in deciding whether we
believe or trust someone, and in helping to make our minds up
about whether we like someone or not. Most of us will, for
instance, at some time or other have met an attractive stranger
and been quite drawn towards them, only to be totally repulsed
as soon as they opened their mouths and we heard their vocal
characteristics.
Exercise: trust me
Usi ng a tape recorder, record yourself tri ng to convi nce either a
friend or an i magi nar stranger that you are to be trusted. You
mi ght pretend you are tring to persuade someone that somethi ng
you have to sel l is worh buyi ng, that they shoul d suppor you as a
candi date in a local government electi on, or that you are tal ki ng a
potential sui ci de down from a l edge. I f you can enl ist the
parici pation of another person i n thi s exercise, so much the better.
How do you S the volume of your speaking, the tone, pitch, voice
quality, the rate at which you speak, your accent, and how do you
JJ7
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place stress on the words you use? How does your use of the various
non-verbal aspects of speeh integrate with the verbal aspects or the
words themselves? How successful do you think you have ben?
If someone else is working on the exercise with you, you wi l l be
able to obtai n this ki nd of feedback from them. If you are worki ng
alone, you wi l l have to rely on your own best j udgement when you
play the tape back. By this stage i n worki ng through thi s book, if
you have been doi ng the chapter exercises conscientiously, thi s
should not be too dificult. You shoul d by now be noti ci ng some
i mprovements i n your sensitivity i n usi ng body language.
Exercise review
If you have had reasonable success in conducting the exercise you
should have noticed some of the fol lowi ng poi nts:
T I n order to inspire trst, volume should be neither too high nor too
low. Trst is a relationship in which two people have an eual sus.
It is a two-way process. It is ver dificult to trust somene unl ess you
feel tha they also trst you. Loudness gives an impression of a wish
to dominate, which will mi litate against the cration of a relationship
of mutual trst. A voice which is too sof gives an i mprsion of
difdence or submissiveness, again hindering the establishment of a
relaionship in which both are equal.
Z Your tone of voice has to be neither too harsh nor too smooth.
Harshness grates upon the l i stener and wi l l tend to repel them. Too
much smoothness can make them thi nk they are havi ng the wool
pul led over their eyes and will make them suspicious, the ver
antithesis of trusti ng. You wi l l also need to sound reasonably
confident. It is di fi cult to trust someone who does not sound as if
they trust themselves.
Û You need to avoi d shri l l ness i n pitch. A voice pitched fairly low so
that it has a soothi ng qual ity - but not too soothi ng - wi l l be more
l i kely to be trusted.
4 Voice qual ity whi ch sounds nasal or breathless is not l i kely to i nsti l
the kind of confi dence which wi l l lead to trust.
5 A high speed of speaking wi l l tend to prevent the growh of trst.
Fast talkers are ofen perceived as being just that.
Ü In the United Kingdom, people tend to rate those with 'standard'
accents as more trstorhy and plausible than those who have
regional accents. Research has shown, for instance, that teacher
with what are norally rearde as mi ddle-class accents are rated
by their students as being beter at their subjects, more competent
and more to be relied upon than those with 'working-class' accents.
Ï You may have noticed that placing a l ittle stress on positive words
and phrases rather than on negative ones helps. However, too
much use of stress will have the same efect as too much vol ume
and wi l l communi cate an i mpression of domi nance, or at least a
wish to domi nate.
Suppori ng what is said
Body language i n general can be used to support and give
emphasis to what is said. The non-verbal aspects of speech,
however, have a particularly iportant role in this regard.
Emphasis can be given to important words and phrases, as we
have j ust seen, by increasing the volume and by placing stress on
them. Emphasis can be achieved by repetition of the words with a
similar but slightly stronger repetition of te vocal characteristics
used. If the rate of speech is suddenly raised or lowered, this too
can have an emphasizing effect. The important point to remember
with all techniques to achieve emphasis in communication is that
the more often they are used the less effect they have. To
emphasize you have to be selective. Imagine a piece of writing in
which every sentence had an exclamation mark at the end of it.
Too much emphasis leads to no emphasis at all.
Non-verbal aspects of speech can be used to support the emotion
being expressed. Sadness is usually characterized by low volume,
solemn tone, a deeper voice quality than normal, a slow speed of
speaking and a relatively uniform stress upon the words.
Happiness and elation, on the other hand, are characterized by
higher volume, sharper tone, a breathless voice quality, a high
speed of speaking and more noticeable stress on key words and
phrases.
Punctuation in speech is indicated by some of these elements as
well as by such things as head nods, gestures and breaking eye
contact. Pitch usually falls at the ends of sentences, except with
questions, where it rises. There are usually pauses between
sentences. Pauses can also occur before and afer particular
words and phrases which a speaker wishes to emphasize.
Anyone who is not too sure where to place full stops when
writing can help themselves to some extent by reading aloud
what they have written to see where the marked drops or rises in
pitch, followed by short pauses, occur. These will normally be
where the ends of sentences are.
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Speech errors
Most people find it extremely diffcult, even when reading from a
prepared text, to read without speech errors. As we shall see in
Chapter 13, an increased error rate can be an indication of telling
lies or trying to deceive in some other way. These errors can take
the form of simple mispronunciations of words, such as saying
'dissidence' instead of 'difidence' . Stuttering or stammering
which is not a normal part of a person's way of speaking will be
interpreted as nervousness or deception. Using 'ur', 'er' and 'ah'
or similar noises enables the speaker to pause for thought without
falling silent and thus appearing to have dried up. Often,
however, it is better to train yourself not to make such noises as
silences are more ofen interpreted as drying up by speakers than
they are by listeners. Errors may also take the form of corrected
sentences, unfnished sentences, coughs, omissions and other
variations from the norm.
Contradi cti ng what is sai d
Errors i n speech and other aspects of body language tend to
produce situations in which what is said conflicts with what the
body is doing. A person may be speaking pleasantly to another
but their body language and especially tone of voice may be
frosty. A person might tell his friends that he is not attracted by
an attractive woman and yet be unable to resist frequent long
looks in her direction. You might say to someone that you are
very interested in what they are saying and yet be unable to
maintain eye contact and may frequently look away at other
people. You may say to someone 'I'll murder you' or 'I hate you'
and yet may be smiling as you say it. In all such cases, it is the
body language which will be believed.
This makes it even more important that you should be able to
examine your own use of body language critically . You are
clearly serving no usefl purpose if your body language is contra­
dicting your words at every turn. The situation is immeasurably
worse if you are unaware of it.
Pol iti cal body l anguage
One of the advantages of living i n a democracy i s that politicians
are freely reported by the news media. Their fequent
appearances on television are of most interest to the student of
body language, since it is here that they can be most conveniently
studied. Like football matches, politicians are best watched on
J.The use of close-ups, the ability to use videotape recordings
to watch a piece of behaviour over and over again, and a
reasonably close-to-nature colour system all help to provide an
abundance of information.
When sitting, politicians tend to adopt forward lean. This
i ndicates a desire to cooperate with the listener in discussion.
They often use more eye contact when they are speaking than is
normal - not only to make them appear dominant but also to
gi ve them a better chance of controlling or regulating the
i nteraction between themselves and their interviewers. They also
I|V to have the last word in interviews because they realize not
only the verbal effect of achieving this but also the non-verbal
cffect. We tend to believe that the last word on a subj ect should
be allowed to the person of highest status present.
When they are standing, politicians use gestures so exaggerated
as to put the ham Victorian actor to shame. Demagogues will
saw the air wildly as they rant and rave. They will thump the
table, point accusingly, raise their arms in appeals to the
Almighty and pause dramatically afer a particularly felicitous
phrase for applause. Even quite mild politicians seem to change
personality once they are on the rostrum. It is like the pedestrian,
ki nd and considerate, who becomes the road hog once he or she
gets behind the wheel of a car.
Politicians take great pains to conceal their attempts to deceive
people. They have to deceive people, not because they are
fundamentally less honest than the rest of us, but because they
have to present policies sufficiently different from those of their
opponents to command our support. They know that, once in
office, they will not be able to carry out those policies without
modifications which make their policies similar to those of their
opponents. In other words, in governing the modern state, the
options available to governments are limited. Hence, the
politician who claims to be going to do things differently has a
credibility gap to overcome. It is a gap which few cross
successfully. Those who do make sure that they control the
lower parts of their bodies, which is where the tell-tale signals
will be given. It is not for nothing that the public speaking
politician frequently hides behind a lectern stand or, when
seated, uses a table drape to conceal the giveaway areas.
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Politicians seek to be trusted. They will maintain eye contact
with a frank look. They will have a firm, warm handshake. They
will nod frequently when listening, as if anxious to know the
finest detail of your problem. They will place a protective arm
around your shoulder - and you will be outside the door before
you realize its purpose was to steer you out to make way for the
next supplicant. Above all, they will smile.
The maj or political parties train their principal spokesmen and
women in how to deal with the media and how to present a
favourable image both of themselves and of the party. This
image is established and maintained almost entirely non­
verbally. After all, the words of the policies and the speeches
exist already and if they were inadequate no amount of image
manipulation in the world would help. Politicians have been
known to change their clothing, to change their hair styles, to
sofen the tone of their voices and to alter their posture and
gesture pattern in the quest for a better image.
m the UK there are even differences between the parties. The
typical Conservative male wears a dark suit, shirt and tie, has a
smart hairstyle and polished shoes. His skin is smooth and he has
the air of being well fed. His accent is middle-class and the tone
confident and assured. His gestures are restrained and his posture
either upright or casually asymmetrical. The Conservative female
is similarly conventionally dressed and well groomed. Her voice,
manner and behaviour match the male's perfectly. The Labour
male, on the other hand, has less of an interest in appearance. His
voice may contain any one of a myriad of accents fom upper
crust to working class. Posture is more hunched and gestures
made with less thought for their efect. They tend to stand closer
than their Conservative counterparts and they use the head cock
of interest more. The Labour female is more likely than a
Conservative to wear casual clothes. Her hairstyle may not be
quite as smooth, but more natural. Gestures will be more like the
man, as whose equal she rightly regards herself, and she makes a
great deal of use of the head nod and the head cock.
The body language of minority groups and of demonstrators at
such events as peace marches repays carefl observation. At the
other end of the political activity range is the body language of the
statesman. This is characterized by low peripheral movement,
restraint in upper body gestures, upright postures, restraied head
movements, slight smiles i public and a measured, even pace of
speech. Observe television reports of meetings beteen heads of
states and of the United Nations and you will see how often this
apparent stereotype ocurs. The body language of international
statesmen is becoming as standard as the services and facilities i
international hotels. m fact, political body language al over the
world is assung a sameness - which is discouragig rather than
hopeful. One of the problems of homogeneity is that it tends to lead
people to assume that they are all using the same meaning of a word
or gesture, when this may not be the case. At least u diferences
beteen people are preserved, some care is taken not to assume that
an action means one thing when it might mean something else.
Laugh and the world l aughs with you
Doubt has occasionally been expressed as to whether a laugh is a
piece of non-verbal behaviour or whether it is close enough to
being a word (as other exclamations often are) to be considered to
be verbal. We shall regard it for our purposes here as non-verbal.
Laughter usually follows on from, or may accompany, smiles
and grins. It can be graded from the quietest chuckle or slight
giggle to the most raucous of belly laughs. Laughter is also
infectious. When one person in a company starts laughing, it is
very difficult for the others to avoid following suit. And why
should they? For laughter lifts the spirits.
Since we are concerned here with �inding ways of improving our
use of body language it is worth considering the laugh as an aid
to this end. You should, where you reasonably can, encourage
laughter. If you have the facility to make people laugh, use it; if
you have not, at least encourage those who have. As long as
there is an emphasis on laughing with, rather than at, the results
should be entirely positive and beneficial. All you have to avoid
is an inane, pointless cackle. Friendly, convivial laughter should
not be too difficult to find.
Exercises and experi ments
T Er, ah, ur
Select one or two public speakers, lecturers or speakers on television.
Record the number and types of speech errors they make. Whi ch is
the one that each is most prone to make? You should usual l y find that
nearly ever speaker has a favourite speech error. ' Er' i s by far the
most common.
1 Z3
1 Z4 2 Par pol itical broadcast
Watch several pary pol itical broadcasts on television and see if you
can identif the favourite facial expressi on, body movement, posture,
and so on of each pol i ti ci an. Compi l e a l i st of typical non-verbal
behaviours associated with each pary. Compare and contrast them.
Which paries are most si mi lar to each other in styles? Which are the
furhest apar? I s it possi bl e to tell what a person's pol itical opi nions
are l i kely to be from thei r body language?
3 Keep sti l l
Usi ng a tape recorder and standi ng i n front of a mi rror, record a shor
talk on a subject you know wel l . Tr to make the talk without any body
language at all. I s it possi bl e? If it is, is it easy? You may ver wel l fi nd
thi s exercise vi rual l y i mpossi bl e to carr out.
9 There's a call for you
Obsere peopl e telephoni ng. How cl ose is thei r body l anguage to
what it woul d be if they were conversi ng face to face? Which ki nds of
body l anguage can be communi cated by telephone and whi ch
cannot? Are any non-verbal behaviours more exaggerated when
telephoni ng than i n face-to-face encounters? Do any never occur?
P
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In this chapter V0U will learn:
• about cul tural diferences i n
the use of body l anguage
• some of the more unusual ,
unexpected and si gnificant
diferences.
Body language, as you should be aware by now, is complex
enough when you are dealing with people fom your own
culture, but when you encounter those from other cultures it
becomes fraught with difficulties. Things can so very easily go
unintentionally wrong that we shall find it useful to consider
some of the principal difficulties and some of the ways in which
they can be avoided.
Edward Hall tells of instances in which inappropriate non-verbal
behaviour, coupled with general cultural insensitivity, can cause
poor communication and can even cause communication to
break down altogether. One example describes some negotiations
between American and Greek officials, which had reached
stalemate. Later examination revealed that the American habit of
being outspoken and forthright was regarded by the Greeks as
indicating a lack of finesse, which made them reluctant to
negotiate. Further, the Americans wanted to limit the length of
meetings and to reach agreement on general principles first,
leaving the details to be sorted out by sub-committees. This the
Greeks saw as a device to pull the wool over their eyes, since the
Greek practice is to work out details in font of all concerned and
to continue meetings for as long as necessary.
Another example concerns the use of time. A American attache
new to a Latin country tried to arrange a meeting with the minister
who was his opposite number. A kinds of cues came back that
the time was not yet ripe for such a meeting. The American
persisted and was eventually reluctantly granted an appointment.
When he arrived, he was asked to wait in an outer offce. The time
of the appointment came and went. Afer 15 minutes, he asked the
minister's secretary to make sure the minister knew he was
waiting. Time passed. Twenty minutes, 25 minutes, 30 minutes,
+ámnutes. At this point, he jumped up and told the secretary he
had been 'cooling his heels' for long enough and that he was
'damed sick and tied' of this kind of treatment. His stay in the
country was not a happy one. He had forgotten that a 45-minute
waiting time in that country was no greater than a five minute
waiting tie in America.
Effective cross-cultural communication is so important in the
modern world that breakdowns like these need to be studied for
the lessons they can teach us. They also make it increasingly
important that people who live and work in countries other than
their own should be given training in the local body languages as
well as the local spoken language.
1Z7
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Exercise: Black and White body language
Select five Bl ack men and five Black women to obsere. Also
select five White men and fiv
e
White women. If you cannot fi nd thi s
number, conduct the obseration wi th as many as you can fi nd. I f
you l ive i n an area whi ch is not mul ti raci al , select your subjects for
obseration from television programmes.
Record i n your notebook, or on tape, cl othi ng styles, i ncl udi ng
colours, formality of cl othi ng, patterns, and so on. Record as much
detail B you can about eye contact patterns, facial expressi ons,
gestures, proxi mity and bodi l y contact.
When you have col l ected as much i nformation as you reasonably
can, analyze it. What seem to be the main diferences between
Blacks and Whites i n the use of body l anguage? What are the
si mi larities? What diferences are there between the sexes?
Exercise review
I t is quite possi bl e that you wi l l have col l ected a rich amount of data
which wi l l repay careful analysis and tell you many thi ngs about how
diferent races and diferent cultures interact. Some of the thi ngs you
may have noticed are:
T Whites typically spend about half the ti me i n eye contact and half
the time l ooki ng away; Blacks tend not to look at the other person
when l i steni ng.
Z The facial expressions of Bl ack peopl e are less restrai ned than
those of Whites.
Û Bl ack peopl e use more palms-upward hand movements than
Whites.
4 A l i mp stance and lowered head i ndicate submi ssiveness when
used by White peopl e; when used by Bl acks this i ndi cates that the
i ndividual has switched of and is not atendi ng to the speaker.
5 White peopl e do not touch each other except i n greeti ngs; Bl acks
do more touchi ng, especially of arms and shoulders duri ng
conversati on.
Ü Bl ack peopl e choose more vi vi d col ours and stronger paterns for
their clothi ng than Whites.
Cultural diferences
There is still a great deal of research needed into the precise
nature of the differences in the ways various peoples around the
world use body language. So far, most of the research attention
seems to have focused on the Americans, the Japanese, the Arabs
and, to a lesser extent, certain countries of Europe. Nevertheless,
some interesting findings have been made.
I n research into the use of eye contact, for instance, it has been
observed that Greeks look at each other more in public places,
hoth at those they are conversing with and at other people. In
fact, they feel quite upset if other people do not show an equal
curiosity in them and feel they are being ignored. On the other
hand, Swedes have been found to look at each other less often
than other Europeans, but they look for longer. Arabs are very
dependent on eye contact when conversing. They look at each
other when listening and when talking. They find it very difficult
| interact successfully with someone who is wearing dark
gl asses and whose eyes cannot therefore be seen. The Japanese
l ook at other people very little and tend to focus their eyes on the
other person's neck when conversing.
Americans and the British tend to be relatively restrained in their
facial expressions. Italians, however, tend to be much more
volatile. The Japanese keep a very straight face in public and use
a faint smile in private. They make more use of smiles in
greetings and business and formal meetings than Europeans.
As far as gestures are concerned, probably Arabs and Indians
have the richest vocabularies. The Japanese have formal gestures
for such actions as summoning others to them. They extend the
arm palm downwards and flutter the fingers. To suggest that
someone is a liar they lick a forefinger and stroke an eyebrow. A
number of European gestures have already been discussed in
Chapter 4.
One contrast in posture can be seen when comparing the habit
of Arabs in squatting cross-legged with the Japanese bow.
Bowing occurs in greetings and farewells, and persons of lower
status bow lower than those of high status. Germans often tend
to have a more upright posture than people from Latin countries.
I talians stand closer to other people when conversing; Germans
stand further apart; Arabs stand closer and at a more direct
angle. It is not uncommon at international conferences to see
Americans and Europeans retreating before Arab advances as
each tries to get to the preferred distance from other people. m
Japan, position is often as important as proximity and you will
see traditional families walking in public with the father in front,
then the wife, and the children at the back.
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Latins use touching behaviour more than other races, though
Arabs touch a great deal and men will fequently hold hands,
something which causes amusement to Europeans. Arab females
are not touched at all in public. Japanese touch each other very
little in public, though they have a tradition of bathing together
without there necessarily being a sexual connotation to the activity.
In appearance, some races have quite strict rules. Arab women
must be so well covered by clothes that only their eyes are
showing. Even Arab men will generally be well covered by
clothing. In Japan, uniforms abound. Schoolchildren and students
have a uniform of white shirt and black jacket and trousers ( or
skirt, in the case of girls) . Lift-girls in big department stores wear
uniforms and white gloves. White gloves are also worn by
chaufeurs and private hire taxi-drivers .
Amongst various other non-verbal behaviours which have been
observed is the fact that tone of voice is particularly important to
Arabs. They also make a lot of use of smell and even breathe on
each other when conversing, an activity which Europeans find
disturbing. Emotions can be recognized from tone of voice
across cultures. That is, even if people do not understand the
language, they can tell the emotional state of the speaker.
Non-verbal universals
There are other universally understood examples of body
language - we have already encountered some in Chapter 2, for
instance. Ekman and Friesen found that people of 1 3 different
cultures were able to distinguish accurately between the non­
verbal expressions of j oy, surprise, fear, anger, sadness and
disgust. There are cultures all around the world in which people
smile when they are happy and scowl when they are angry.
Michael Argyle identifed seven elements which commonly occur
in greetings:
• close proximity with a direct orientation
• the eyebrow flash
• smiling
• eye contact
• bodily contact, even in most otherwise non-contact cultures
• the presenting of the palm of the hand, either to shake or
simply to be seen
• a head toss or a head nod in the form of a bow.
Negotiati ng styles
Gerard Nierenberg and Henry Calero have made an extensive
study of body language in negotiations, having recorded 2500
negotiations for analysis. They note the importance of proximity
when trying to negotiate a sale. People will tend to buy more
from someone close to them than from someone who remains at
a distance; hence, many salesmen carry literature and visual aids
with them so that they can approach close to the prospective
buyer. If the buyer reacts by folding his arms or with some other
defensive gesture, the salesman moves away until the buyer's
behaviour relaxes and becomes less defensive.
Signalling a willingness to . cooperate in a negotiating situation
can be achieved in a number of ways. Sitting forward on a chair
can communicate both interest and a desire to agree with others .
Unbuttoning the j acket can signal an opening up to other people.
It can also show interest in what someone else is saying. The
head cock shows interest, as we have seen, so this can also be
used to communicate cooperative intent.
Steepling ( see Figure 1 1 . 1 ) is common in negotiations, especially
when the prospective buyer is considering what is being offered.
It can also be seen in other situations when someone wishes to
signal confidence and high status. But it can, in fact, show
defensiveness and weakness.
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1 3 Drumming with the fingers and tapping with the feet are
behaviours to watch closely in negotiations, as they tend to show
boredom or impatience. These negative reactions can prej udice
the success of negotiations so some action needs to be taken to
remedy them. This may involve getting the drummer or tapper to
speak (most people do not drum or tap when talking) .
Doodling may simply show that a person needs something else
to do as well as listen. More fequently it signals boredom or at
the very least a waning of interest. Something should be done to
involve the doodler in discussion.
Forward lean, head cock, smiling, open gestures and postures are
most appropriate for those who wish to seem willing to
cooperate in negotiations. If the bargaining is to be hard and
nothing is to be given away, then doodling, backward lean,
frowning and closed gestures and postures should communicate
unwillingness to others.
Busi ness as usual
As we have seen, awareness of the passage of time varies across
cultures. Waiting for appointments can be expected not only in
Latin countries but also in the Middle East, as Robert Moran
points out. In the Middle East, persons of senior rank and status
should be recognized first. Arabs like expressiveness and
periodic displays of emotion. Group-style business meetings
with several things happening at once are typical. You should sit
as near as possible to the person you would like to do business
with and should talk about the matters which concern you
amongst whatever other conversation is going on.
In the USA, the obsession with time and schedules means that
punctuality and efficiency are important. Competitiveness is
encouraged. Americans are gregarious at first meeting and are
not too interested in differences in status. A brisk, businesslike
approach is preferred.
Africans like to get to know someone before getting down to
business and the general chat at the beginnings of business
meetings can go on for some time. Time is fexible and people
who appear to be in a hurry are mistrusted. Lateness is a normal
part of life. Respect is expected to be shown to older people.
I n Cha, people do not le to be singled out as unique and prefer
to be teated as part of a team. Women often ocupy important posts
and expect to be treated as equals. Toasts are an important part of
business dinners and you should prepare an appropriate one in
advance. Appointents should also be arranged in advance. Long­
standing relationships are hghly valued and are worth taking tme
to establish. Personal contact is preferred to letters and telephone
calls. Several negotatig sessions w normally be required, as the
( :hinese are another people who do not lie to rush thigs.
I n using body language in particular business situations, there
are pitfalls to be avoided. Robert Moran illustrates this by
dramatic examples. If you wish to summon a waiter at a business
l unch in Western countries, a common way is to hold a hand up
with the index finger extended. In Asia, however, this is the way
you would call a dog or some other animal. In Arab countries,
showing the soles of your feet is an insult and an Arab may also
i nsult someone by holding a hand in front of the person's face.
In the USA, you can signal that everything is all right by forming
a circle with the thumb and index finger and spreading out the
rest of the fingers. But you should remember that in japan the
same gesture means money and in Brazil it is an insult.
We ofen pat children on the head as a sign of affection, but in
I slamic countries the head is regarded as the seat of mental and
spiritual powers. Accordingly, it should not be touched.
We scratch our heads when we are puzzled. In japan, the same
action is interpreted as showing anger. m most parts of the
world, shaking the head means 'No' , but with Arabs and in parts
o| Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Turkey a more usual way is
to toss the head to one side, perhaps clicking the tongue as well.
In japan, a person may move his right hand backwards and
forwards to comunicate a refsal or disagreement. On the
other hand, agreement is shown in Aica by holding an open
palm upright and smacking it with a closed fst. Aabs will show
agreement by extending clasped hands with the index fingers
pointing towards the other person.
Anyone who has to do business overseas should do a little
research before going, to fnd out what main non-verbal pitfalls
need to be avoided. It may make the difference between getting
3H order or not. In a highly competitive world, the businessman
who fails to appreciate the power of body language in business
contexts will fnd himself paying a high price.
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What to do when you can't speak the
language
Whether you are abroad on business or on holiday, finding out
about the body language of the people you will be meeting is a
sensible precaution. But there are one or two other things you
can do to minimize the risk of causing offence and maximize the
chances of having a pleasant and trouble-free stay.
You should use body language that has universal, or near­
universal, currency as much as possible. Smiles, eyebrow flashes,
head cocks, presenting the palm of the right hand in greeting
should all help to ease you through the initial phases of
encounters to the point where you can use other descriptive
gestures to indicate what you want or what you wish to tell the
other person.
Generally speaking, a friendly expression, an avoidance of
aggressive movements and an awareness of the most obvious
body language dangers will help to smooth over awkwardness
and embarrassment. If this is supported by some attempt at least
to learn key words and phrases from the spoken language, there
will be fewer difficulties. It is ofen surprising how delighted
people will be and how warmly they will respond if you have
made some effort to communicate with them on their own terms.
They will ofen be more willing to come forward and meet you
half way. Even those who live in quite formal cultures, like the
Japanese, respond very favourably when appropriate body
language is matched with a few halting words.
Exercises and experi ments
J Foreign fi l ms
Watch one or two foreign fi l ms, preferably where you do not
understand the language. In your notebook, or on tape, record
instances of body language which are unusual , together with what
they mean (if i n doubt, tr to consult a native of the countr for an
explanation). Look paricularly at the use of eye contact, head nods,
gesture, posture, and so on. Listen for tone of voice, speech errors,
speed of speaki ng, pitch and so forh. Tr to watch fi l ms from, say,
France, Germany, Russia, I ndia, and the Far East to get a good
coverage of diferent cultures.
Z Geti ng your own way
Sel ect an everday negotiati on, such as deci di ng what the fami l y wi l l
watch on televisi on, or seeki ng permissi on for ti me off work. On the
fi rst occasion try to get your own way by usi ng negative, cl osed
gestures and postures. On the next, tr positive, open gestures and
postures. Which way is more successful ?
Ü Busi ness body l anguage
Obsere business peopl e talking i n a publ i c pl ace, such as a hotel
l obby or ai rpor l ounge. What are their most frequently-used non­
verbal behaviours? Do they difer i n any way from members of the
general publ i c? Consi der appearance and physique, timing and
synchroni zation and proxi mity and orientati on as wel l as other
aspects of body language.
9 I ' m a stranger here myself
Wi th a group of fri ends who are wi l l i ng to parici pate i n the exercise,
act as if you were a forei gner who does not speak the language. How
do others react to you? What are the most useful forms of body
l anguage? Are any situations i mpossi bl e to deal with?
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In this chapter you will lear:
• the role of body language in
occupations such as
• nuri ng
• teachi ng
• television interiewi ng
• busi ness
• other fors of contact with
the publ ic.
We have now considered all of the main aspects of body
language and how it is used in our encounters with others. We
shall turn our attention at this point to examine a little more
cl osely some of the practical applications of this knowledge for
improving our use of body language in specific contexts. We
begin, in this chapter, by examining how it can be used more
effectively when we are at work. The chapters that follow will
consider its use in everyday encounters, in personal attraction
and developing better relationships with others, and in
contributing to personal growth and self-development.
The kinds of occupations in which body language is most
important are those in which there is face-to-face communication
with members of the public. In these 'public contact' occupations
we can also, for the sake of convenience, include such activities as
nursing, television interviewing, all forms of business activity,
and teaching.
Of all the possible aspects of the use of body language at work
which could be considered, we shall also examine its use in
meetings, in indicating attitudes to workmates, in industrial
relations, in motivating others and in the building up of work
teams. But first, as usual, let us begin with an exercise.
Exercise: anticipator scanning techniques
We have already encountered anti ci pator scanni ng i n Chapter Û.
Here we will devel op our understandi ng and use of it a l ittle furher.
The next ti me you are i n a public place where peopl e are being
sered or attended to i n some way i n sequence (for exampl e a bar,
cafeteria, ai rl i ne check-i n desk or supermarket check-out), study
the people who are working there. Look for examples of
anti ci pator scanni ng (looking ahead to the next person or persons
to be dealt with whi l e sti l l atendi ng to the person at the head of the
queue).
Do those who use antici pator scanni ng techni ques seem to be
better at their jobs than those who do not? Record i n your
notebook or on tape the forms the antici pator scanni ng takes and
the situations i n whi ch it most frequently occurs. What of the
people who do not use it at al l ? How does its absence afect their
work? What else do you notice about the use of antici pator
scanni ng i n publ i c contact situations?
1 37
Exercise review
You wi l l probably have noticed that it is those who use antici pator
scanni ng techni ques who are best at thei r jobs. In some way, the
sni ppets of i nformati on about peopl e yet to be attended to, whi ch
they obtai n from these brief l ooks ahead, enabl e them to change thei r
attitude and behavi our to fi t the needs of the i ndividual customer. I n
bars, it can enable bar staff to sere more than one person at once -
they can be waiti ng for the money from someone who has just
received a dri nk, be prepari ng the dri nk for the next person, taki ng an
order from the next person and identifyi ng the person who wi l l be
sered after that. At ai rl i ne check-i ns, where there is a queue, those
who use anti ci pator scanni ng techni ques wi l l , as they are attendi ng
to one person, make periodi c, brief gl ances down the l i ne. They wi l l
be looking paricularly for nerous travellers who may need a smi l e of
reassurance and for those who are i mpatient at havi ng to queue and
who will need to be treated with additional tact.
What you should now do, if your own job involves publ i c contact with
a sequence of people, is to tr to develop antici pator scanni ng
techni ques for yourself. You shoul d find that it not only i ncreases your
personal effectiveness but also i mproves your sense of job satisfacti on.
Occupati onal body l anguage
Nursing is an occupation in which body language is important
because the people nurses deal with, in addition to feeling
unwell, may be apprehensive about an operation or about their
chances of recovery, or may be worrying about whether
everything is all right at home, and so on. They will be in
particular need of comfort and reassurance.
Effective body language for nurses will include increased use of
eye contact, smiling and other positive facial expressions, head
nods when listening, open gestures, forward lean in posture,
close proximity and direct orientation, increased use of bodily
contact of a supportive nature (hand holding, arm round
shoulder, light hugging, and the like) , neatness in appearance,
attention to synchronization when talking to patients, and the
use of encouraging vocalizations ( 'mm-hmm', 'mmm' , oh' ) .
Television interviewers need to use more eye contact than
average because of their role as listeners rather than talkers.
Facial expressions should concentrate on showing interest and
they should make liberal use of head nods for the same reason.
The head cock will also be useful. Gestures should be kept to a
minimum as these may distract the interviewee. Posture may use
either forward lean or asymmetrical leaning back according to
whether the dominant requirement is to show interest or to put
a nervous interviewee at ease by making the setting more
relaxing. Proximity should be dictated by what the interviewee
appears to feel comfortable with, yet people are often forced
closer together than normal because of camera requirements. A
indirect orientation is thus preferable, though directors seem to
prefer a 00 orientation. There is normally no body contact and
most people who appear on television seem to want their
appearance to be as smart as possible. This is probably because
their public image will be greatly affected by how the viewing
audience, which may run into millions, reacts to them. Attention
to synchronization will be important and non-verbal aspects of
speech will be used to keep the talk going for as long as whatever
time has been allowed, which is usually inadequate for the
proper discussion of a topic.
On the other hand, interviewers who wish to unsettle an
interviewee will deny eye contact, be frosty-faced, give no head
nods, gesture frequently even when the interviewee is speaking,
adopt an over-rigid or over-relaxed posture and a direct or
turned-away orientation. They will also interrupt frequently
with a new question before the previous one has been answered.
The same is true of some job interviewers.
Business people need a different kind of body language. Eye
contact needs to be dominant rather than submissive. Facial
expressions will tend to be neutral, though there will be smiles
on greeting and parting. Head movements will also tend to be
restrained, with head nods and head cocking being subtler than
in most other contexts. A reason for this is that in many
situations businessmen and women have to keep their cards close
to their chests. Body language can so easily give things away, so
it is necessary for them to try to control it as much as possible.
One of the most important lessons the business communicator
needs to learn is to adapt his or her use of body language to that
of the people with whom business is being done. What was said
in the last chapter about differences according to culture should
be of particular interest.
Other occupations have their special requirements. Receptionists
need pleasant facial expressions, plenty of eye contact and a
greater attention than usual to appearance. Shop assistants need
to appear ' smart, but not necessarily stylish, and they also need
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1 4 to use smiles, an upright posture and, i f they are dealing with
sequences of people, anticipatory scanning techniques. Salesmen
need to use plenty of eye contact, head nods and head cocks
when customers are indicating their needs, and close proximity
and bodily contact where this can be achieved without
awkwardness and embarrassment. They also need to present a
smart and conventional appearance.
Being a pop star is not normally regarded as an occupation, yet
pop stars often work a lot harder than the rest of us. What looks
like pleasure to us can frequently be quite arduous. It's not all
tinsel and glitter in show business! Their body language contains
prolonged eye contact with the audience, often done in a
deliberately flirtatious manner. Facial expressions, both on and
off stage, tend to be exaggerated. Smiles are broader and scowls
more fearsome. Head movements also become more obvious and
dramatic. Appearance is usually unconventional and may even
be bizarre in the extreme, with heightened make-up ( even on
men) and outrageous hairstyles. These changes in appearance
then flter down into society itself. Life imitates art.
One occupation in which mastery of body language is especially
important, not least because of its influence over the young and
their development, is teaching. Teachers can use body language
to often devastating effect. On the basis of the research into non­
verbal communication, a profile of effective teacher non-verbal
behaviour can be offered. In general terms, teachers should be
friendly, warm and rewarding. They should be able to make
contact with all - members of a group of students. They should be
confident, well organized and emotionally stable. Attentiveness
to student responses and contributions is important, as is
avoiding appearing to ridicule or be sarcastic, hostile, angry or
arrogant. Like many others, teachers need to be aware of
cultural diferences in the use of body language.
This kind of behaviour can be promoted non-verbally if teachers
are aware of restrictions on bodily contact, if they are generally
sensitive to students' non-verbal indications of appropriate
proximity and respect their personal space. They should use a
relatively upright posture to indicate their dominant role in
classroom interaction, but use forward lean to show attentive­
ness. They should adj ust their orientation to suit the competitive
or cooperative nature of particular tasks in class. Expressive
gestures should be used to support what is said, as well as head
nods to reinforce, reward and encourage others to speak.
Smiles help to provide reassurance and indicate liking and
approval, as well as showing willingness to interact. All facial
expressions should help to present an appropriate self-image and
to obtai positive responses fom others. A high level of eye
contact will usually be fitting, though it should be reduced if
students exhibit signs of discomfort. It will mainly be used to
obtain and provide feedback during classroom interaction. Stress,
tone, pitch, volume, rate of speech and timing of utterances will
all be varied to suit the situation. Speech errors and hesitations
should be reduced as far as possible and pauses should be used to
retain students' attention, for emphasis and to encourage student
contributions. Appearance can be important in determining
whether students accord credibility to what a teacher says and
thus needs to be taken into account. Formal dress may not be
necessary, but an over-casual style will tend to reduce student
ratings of academic competence. Teachers may argue that how
they dress in no way affects their ability. This may be true, but the
evidence shows that students are influenced by this factor in
forming their opinions about who are good teachers and who are
not. Teachers who prize their standing with their students cannot
afford to ignore it.
The efective use of meeti ngs
Body language can be used in meetings to indicate a wish to
speak by leaning forward or by raising an index finger. When
speaking, eye contact with the chairman can help to 'keep the
foor' . Where this is assured, eye contact with other members of
the meeting in sequence will help to retain attention and provide
feedback on how the points that are being made are being
received. Facial expressions will indicate attitudes to the topic,
but may also be varied in order to lend expressiveness to what is
being said. The same may be said of gestures, though there is
more scope for expressiveness when standing than when sitting
down. Sensitivity to timing and synchronization will enable
someone who wishes to speak to cut in j ust as the previous
speaker is finishing, without interrupting, but j ust ahead of
others who may be trying to get in.
lt is worth studying meetings to see the individuals who succeed
most frequently in getting the foor and how they do it. If they
do not use high volume or interruptions, it is usually because
their timing is j ust fractionally sharper than that of their
colleagues.
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The one person who needs effective use of body language most
is the chairman. Non-verbally, he or she can achieve many
things. He can prevent someone from speaking if he wishes
simply by denying eye contact and looking at others to show it
is their turn to speak. His facial expressions can show approval
or disapproval of what is being said and thus help to control the
direction the meeting takes. Ofen, speakers will hesitate before
speaking against the wishes of someone who has been accorded
high status by being placed in the chair. The chairman can use
head nods to encourage someone to keep on speaking or can
deny them to deter them from continuing. He or she can gesture
to keep people quiet or to get them to speak or can turn away
from those who are saying things he does not agree with. So
much for the impartiality of the chair. In fact, because of the
influence of non-verbal factors the neutral chair is virtually a
myth. Whether the chairman wants to or not, he or she is almost
bound to give their true feelings away, unless unusually skilled in
the use of body language.
Careful use of body language can, then, save a lot of efort in
trying to be heard. It is surprising how ofen a chairman will turn
to someone and actually invite them to speak if their facial
expression, for example, shows that they disagree strongly with
what is being said. Being invited is always better than gate­
crashing.
Atitudes to workmates
By our use of all the aspects of body language, we reveal to those
we work with our feelings about, and our attitudes towards,
them. Denial of eye contact, a frosty face, a turned-away
orientation, all betray a negative attitude. Frequent smiling and
laughter, open gestures, relaxed postures, close proximity and
orientations which deter intruders to the group, bodily contact
and sharing speaking time all characterize a work group in
which everybody gets on well.
Groups in which the pattern of interaction is like the second
example will tend to be more efective than those in which it is
like the first. It does not always follow, of course, that a happy
group is a productive group. It may simply be a happy group.
But, perhaps fortunately, it tends to be the case. Work would be
a wretched afair indeed if the most efective groups were the
most miserable ones.
The BL of i ndustri al rel ations
Inthe context of British industrial relations, BL often stood for
British Leyland and became associated in the popular mind with
poor industrial relations and breakdowns in communication.
Here, however, BL simply stands for body language. It has a
greater bearing upon the relationships between management and
workers than many people may be prepared to admit.
Since good idustrial relations depend upon successfl negotiations,
hmmmeetings and give and take on both sides, the kid of body
language which will be helpful will include increased eye contact,
because ths will help people to like each other better ( or at least
dislike each other a little less). Friendly facial expressions and smiles
shoud help, though head nods and head cocks when listening may
be less likely to be regarded as insincere. Gestures need to be rather
limited, though there is a role for less inhibition when expressing
emotions with which everybody present can be exected to agree.
Forward lean in posture, with some asymmetry to make the
situation less formal, w help, as w, for the same reason, rather
closer proxiity, modifed perhaps with indiect orientation. Bodily
contact appropriate to industial relations probably extends no
fther than the handshake when agreement has been reached and,
in greetings and farewells, the occasional slap on the back and the
reassuring hand on the back of the upper arm.
Motivati ng others
Body language to motivate will include, agai, increased eye
contact, positive facial expressions, head nods and head cocks
when listening to others' problems or point of view on work­
related matters. Open gestures, forard postures, closer proxity,
direct orientation, appropriate bodily contact and supportive
vocalizations will all help to create the kind of cliate i which
people are likely to feel motivated. Appearance is probably a minor
mater here, but timg and synchronization can become very
important. üpeople are to feel motivated, they must feel that they
can contribute to discussions and meetigs. üthey have difculty
in achieving ths, somethig has to be done to assist them.
Team bui l di ng
Warren Lamb took the view that i t i s impossible to separate
postures and gestues: they merge together in such a way that
14
1 4 you have to consider both simultaneously. He also believed that
if people are to be welded together into effective teams, it helps
considerably if their posture-gesture merging patterns match
each other, or are at least complementary.
There is no doubt that patterns of non-verbal communication do
affect how well a number of people develop into a team, but we
really need to consider the influence of all aspects of body
language rather than j ust two of them.
One of the most noticeable characteristics of many effective
teams is that many of the members look alike. We tend to feel we
can work better, and even generally interact more comfortably,
with people who are similar in appearance to ourselves. There is
more than a grain of truth in the old adage 'Birds of a feather
flock together' . There will also be similarities in the use of all the
other aspects of body language.
Sometimes, there may not be similarity so much as comple­
mentarity - that is, a dominant person and a submissive person
will often get along very well together because their body
language dovetails. Dominant people like to control and regulate
interaction, submissive people will happily allow this and may
actually welcome it because it removes the necessity for them to
make active decisions when they would far rather be passive.
Exercises and experi ments
J What's my l i ne?
I f you can enl ist the parici pation of a few other people, get them to
take it i n turns to porray an occupati on by using body l anguage
alone. The others have to guess what the occupation i s. Whi ch ki nds
of job are easiest to porray non-verbally? Which are the easiest to
guess? Are both categories made up of the same jobs?
2 The ideal workmate
Make a l i st of the non-verbal behaviours you woul d look for in an i deal
workmate. Use the headings eye contact, facial expressions, head
movements, gestures, postures, proxi mity and orientati on, bodi l y
contact, appearance and physi que, ti mi ng and synchronizati on, and
non-verbal aspects of speech.
Ü Guess who' s coming to work
I magi ne that a new worker at your own pl ace of work was as opposite
|H appearance to you and your workmates as possi bl e (for i nstance,
if you are all mi ddle-aged and White, that he or she is young and
Bl ack). How woul d thi s affect the way i n whi ch the group or team you
work with operates?
9 Haway the lads!
Study the members of your local footbal l team and the way they pl ay.
I s the use of body l anguage a factor which affects how wel l they play?
Whi ch pl ayers seem to operate best together? I s this purely because
of footbal l i ng ski l l or does body language affect the situati on?
14
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×
lR this chapter VOU wili leam:
• the rle of body language in
varous situations encounterd
i n everday life
• a systematic apprach to
analyzing other peopl e's body
language during small tal k.
In addition to work, there are all kinds of other places in whch we
meet people and all kinds of people that we meet. These encounters
can range fom the briefest passig and acknowledgement of
someone in the street to an extremely formal and prolonged eveng
fnction at which we have to be on our best behaviour, conversig
and acting accordig to quite rigid rules, perhaps for several hours.
Consider the day of a fairly typical family. Mother gets up and
the first people she meets are her husband and children. If she is
a housewife, she could during the day meet neighbours, friends,
the postman, the meter reader for the gas or electricity board, the
person delivering mail orders, shopkeepers, other customers,
other mothers meeting their children from school, the babysitter,
members of the parent-teachers' committee, and people in the
pub after the meeting. Father meets his wife and children, and
then possibly the news agent, the station ticket inspector, fellow
passengers, fellow office workers, restaurant staff, friends in the
pub afer work, and people in the pub when he finally catches up
with his wife. The children meet their parents, friends, class­
mates, teachers, shopkeepers, members of a children's theatre
group touring schools, and the babysitter.
In each of these encounters, our own body language and that of
other people will be continuously supporting ( or contradicting) ,
regulating or controlling the interaction which takes place. It
forms a constant stream of activity throughout every waking
hour. It is particularly important at the beginnings of encounters,
and how we behave then can more or less determine the eventual
outcome of the entire meeting.
Exercise: age and sex
Tape record the voi ces of several people of various ages. Record
males and females i n roughly equal proporions. Have them tal k
about subjects whi ch wi l l not give thei r age away (for exampl e,
avoid havi ng an ol der man tal ki ng about hi s war stories). Pl ay the
tapes to other peopl e and see if they can identify the age and sex
of the speakers from voice alone.
I f you are unable to enl ist the parici pati on of other peopl e, sit with
your back to the television and see if you can guess the age and
sex of several speakers. Note these down i n your notebook. Then
watch the picture as well as l isteni ng to the sound and see if thi s
hel ps you to deci de how accurate you were. I f you can fi nd out
from a Who's Who-type reference book of television personal i ti es
how old peopl e actual l y are, so much the beter.
1 47
I

g
Î
Û
1 4 Exercise review
P you might expect, it is not too dificult in most cases to identif a
person' s sex from voice alone. I t is ofen also quite easy, i nci dentally,
to identify race or national ity. You will probably have found, which­
ever form of the experiment you tried, that chi l dren' s voices can be
spoted without dificulty. Ver old people ofen have a voice qual ity
that is relatively easy to disti nguish. The real problem comes with
people whose ages are approximately between ÛÛ and ÏÛ.
There are some cl ues which can be used. Vol ume tends to be hi gher
with younger people than with older ones. Tone tends to deepen with
age, though it tends to sharpen and sound quite fragi l e with extreme
age, and may devel op a tremor. Younger voices have a more
confident, even brash, sound to them in many cases. I f more than
two-thirds of the voi ces were correctly all ocated to age and sex, this
would be a good resul t (al low five years either side for age).
The fi rst five mi nutes
In the first five minutes of an encounter, particularly an encounter
with a stranger, we are heavily dependent upon body language for
information about the other person; what he or she is like, how
easy or diffcult they are going to be to deal with, whether we are
going to like them, and so on. We depend on body language
because the opening stages of conversations tend to centre around
small talk and general trivia, like the weather, and we do not begin
to get detailed verbal information until later. It is interesting to
note that we do not seem to be prepared to defer our judgements
until we have this information. We seem to need to have to size
people up quickly. Hence the dependence on body language.
These frst impressions tend to last. The fact that they are formed
very quickly does not seem to detract from their strength and
permanence. Indeed, they can even be afected by what we are told
about someone in advance of meeting them. If we are told that we
will like someone because they are friendly, we can be conditioned
by this and respond in a friendly manner when we do meet them.
We assess people on several counts when we first meet them. We
rate their attractiveness, which does not merely mean rating their
sexual attraction to us. For most people, however, if the person
is an atractive member of the opposite sex, this will be a factor.
We will return to personal attraction in the next chapter, because
it does have a strong influence upon us in our society and
depends almost entirely on body language for its effect.
As a part of attraction assessment, we determine the other's sex.
If this is difficult, as it may be with some women with deep voices,
very small breasts and a male body shape, or with some men who
are soft-skinned and have female gestures and postures, the
resulting confusion can adversely affect the communication
between us. Although all men and women are equal, we do
respond differently to persons of the opposite sex. These
differences might disappear as society becomes more sexually
egalitarian, but they are still with us and cannot be ignored.
We try to assess a person's age. Again, our responses to people we
perceive as being older than ourselves will differ from those we
make to younger people. These responses will also be affected by
our perceptions of the other's status. We respond diferently if a
younger person is of high status or an older person is of low
status. Things may change if we become more socially egalitarian,
but here, too, we have a long way to go.
Other aspects of people which we assess in the first few minutes
include their voice quality, their race or nationality, general
appearance and physique, likely occupation, where they live,
and their educational and cultural background. We may also
assess their social and political attitudes and opinions from their
use of body language.
Openi ng and closing conversations
At the beginning of an encounter the kinds of body language
which can be observed include a great deal of eye contact, as we
are forming the first impressions we have j ust discussed, and
facial expressions which are more likely to be positive, in the
form of smiles, than negative. If they had been likely to be
negative, we would have done whatever we could to avoid the
encounter in the first place.
There will probably also have been eyebrow flash on first
recognizing our companion, head cocks as we show interest in
what news they have for us, forward lean, close proximity and
direct orientation, handshakes and perhaps hugs or holding the
upper arm with the free hand while shaking the hand with the
other.
These behaviours are then followed in the initial stages of most
conversations with stereotyped exchanges of the 'How are you? '
'I'm fine, how are you? ' variety. The conversation will either
1 49
1 M shortly move on to more substantial matters or will tend to be
short-lived. After the transition point, the body language settles
down into the turn-taking in eye contact described in Chapter 1 .
Facial expressions and head movements will change to suit the
verbal content of the conversation. Gestures will emphasize
points being made, orientation may change so that it does not
remain constantly direct and perhaps threatening. Both
participants will unconsciously synchronize with each other, as
described in Chapter 9. The encounter is well under way.
Mark Knapp and some of his colleagues investigated what they
call 'the rhetoric of goodbye'. They identifed a number of items
of body language which seem to accompany the endings of
conversations. These include breaking eye contact, left positioning
(in which the person wishing to depart is pointing towards his or
her proposed exit) , forward lean, increased head nods, major
movements of the legs, and smiling. Other behaviours which may
be present include sweeping hand movements and, when sitting
down, an uncrossing of the legs with a striking of the foot against
the foor, using the hands to lever oneself out of the chair, perhaps
preceded by striking the hands on the arms of the chair as if to say,
'Right, that's it, then, we've finished what we wanted to say to
each other' - indeed, such verbalizations may actually accompany
the body language.
How to spot a l i ar
There i s an old j oke about how to tell when a politician is lying,
which runs as follows. When he smiles, he is telling the truth.
When he points an accusing finger, he is telling the truth. But
when he opens his mouth, he is lying. Clearly, in real life no such
easy and simple criteria apply. But there are certain behaviours
which occur more ofen when people are lying than when they
are telling the truth.
Leakage ( non-verbal behaviour which an individual fails to
control and which can give clues as to the real truth) most
frequently occurs, as we have seen, in the lower half of the body.
Shuffling the feet, titching the toes, crossing and uncrossing the
legs, and so on, increase when we are tring to deceive others.
Attempts at deception do also involve the upper half of the body
to some extent. Facial expressions may be capable of control,
and an accomplished liar may be able to maintain eye contact
with his listener, but the movements of the hands are less easily
controllable. One gesture has been found to be common
amongst those seeking to deceive. This is the hand shrug in
which the hands are rotated so as to expose the palms. It is used
to signal helplessness. It is as if deceivers were trying to enlist our
sympathy because they could not help themselves.
Touching the side of the nose, touching the eye, licking the lips.
drumming the fingers and gripping arm rests, whilst not in
themselves being indicative solely of falsehood, do occur more
often when people are attempting to deceive others. It comes
down again to context. We have to keep reminding ourselves
that there are very few pieces of body language which have
meaning on their own regardless of context.
Albert Mehrabian, when he investigated how people behaved
when they were conveying truthful messages and how they
behaved when the messages were untruthful, discovered that
those who were lying talked less, talked more slowly, and made
more speech errors. Their rate of body movement also seemed to
be slower.
Blushing, perspiration, voice tremors, gulping, shaking and
playing with pencils or spectacles are other fairly obvious
activities to watch for in people who are not telling the truth.
Liars are less likely to engage in bodily contact or even to
approach closely. Their body language very often contradicts
their spoken words. For instance, they may say they would be
very willing to submit themselves to a full enquiry and yet their
facial expression may show distaste and their gestures and
posture closed. Body language is nearly always a better guide to
the truth than even the most eloquent words.
Smal l tal k
Vague, inconsequential chats about another person's general
( though not specific) health, the weather, the fortunes of the
local football, rugby or cricket team and similar matters may
seem to some people to be hardly worth spending time on. Yet
they can have an importance quite out of proportion to their
apparent significance.
During small talk, when the verbal content is - to say the least -
undemanding, we can give most of our concentration to other
people's body language- and we do. We can even, if we wish,
systematically turn our attention to each aspect of body language
1 õ1
1 õZ so that we can learn more about the other person in less time
than it would take to do so purely intuitively. Aother advantage
of a systematic approach is that it enables us to check that we
have not missed an aspect out.
Next time you meet someone for a casual chat about nothing in
particular or the next time you meet a stranger at a party, try the
following approach. Take each aspect of body language discussed
in this book in sequence and consider how the other is using it.
First, eye contact: do they use much or little? Do they appear to
want more or less eye contact? How dilated are their pupils? Are
they left breakers or right breakers? Do they keep looking
around at other people, or is their full attention given to you?
Secondly, consider facial expressions. Are they positive or
negative? Smiles and interest or scowls and disgust? Are there few
or many changes in expression? Are there any micromomentary
facial expressions you can spot?
What about head movements? Do they show interest with head
cocks? Do they encourage you to speak with head nods ? Do they
respond to your head nods ? Does the rhythm of their head
movements fit the rhythm of their speech?
Next, are their gestures few or many? Are they expressive? Are
they appropriate? Are they open or closed? Do they fold their
arms in front of themselves or set up other barriers? If they cross
their legs, which way do they cross them, towards you or away
from you?
Look at the posture - is it upright or stooping? Do they use
backward or forward lean?
Consider proximity and orientation. Do they approach closely
or not? If you move closer, do they back away or turn to a less
direct orientation? What do you do if they move closer? Is their
orientation direct or indirect? Is it symmetrical or asymmetrical ?
Horizontal or vertical ?
Now consider their use of bodily contact. Do they use any? In
greetings only? Are they touchers or non-touchers? Which parts
of the body do they touch most frequently as they are talking?
Arms, hands, shoulders, backs or elsewhere? Does_the touching,
where it occurs, signal greater intimacy between you or only the
other's wish for greater intimacy?
Next, assess their appearance and physique and how you feel it
affects your response. Do you find them attractive? Are they
taller than you or shorter? Does this have any efect? Are they fat
or thin? Does this affect your response to them?
What about their timing and synchronization? Does the discussion
you are having dovetail neatly or do you fnd youselves both
speaking at the same time? üso, why? Nervousness or a failure to
synchronize for some other reason?
Finally, listen to the non-verbal aspects of their speech. Do they
make many speech errors ? How fast do they speak? Do they
speak loudly or sofly? Have they a harsh tone or a smooth tone?
How do the non-verbal aspects of their speech afect your
response to them?
There are, of course, many other questions that can be posed,
but these should provide you with a simple, yet systematic
method of evaluating how other people use body language in
everyday encounters. You should then be able to improve your
use of body language without becoming too self-conscious and
deliberate. Practice will, in any case, make things progressively
easier and more natural.
Exercises and experi ments
T Who said that?
Obtain photographs of several peopl e, taken in what for them is a
normal environment. Then get them to tape record a coupl e of
mi nutes' speech about a topic which wi l l not give the environment
away. See if other people can match the voices to the photographs.
How successful are they?
2 How many people do you meet a day?
Make a l ist of all the people you meet i n a day. Be careful not to miss
anyone out. Then classify them i nto fri ends, fami ly, acquai ntances,
strangers and non-persons (peopl e l i ke waiters, bus drivers, canteen
staf, and so on with whom the interaction i s purely functionaQ. What
i s the patter of your daily interactions? Are you spendi ng as much
ti me wi th friends and fami l y as you woul d l i ke? I f not, is there anyhi ng
you can do about i t?
1 5
1 õ 3 What's the fi rst thi ng you notice?
When you meet strangers, what is the first thi ng about them that you
notice? Does it difer for males and femal es? For older people and for
younger people? What are the physical characteristics you look for (or
respond to) in an atractive stranger of the opposite sex?
9 Tel l the truth
Either watch a television programme i n which people claim to be
telling the truth, and see how accurately you can identify the truth
tel lers - or get a group together to pl ay the game. What deception
cues help you to el i mi nate those least l i kely to be truthful ? Ask those
who seem to be abl e to pick out the right person more ofen than
other people if they know how they do it. You will probably find that
many of them put it down to a hunch and are totally unaware of how
they have been i nfluenced by body language.
ÎR this chapter VOU wili leam:
• the par pl ayed by body
language i n esabl i shi ng and
maintaining rlationships with
the opposite sex
• how nonverbal behaviour can
be used to make an individual
appear more atrctive with
beter self-presentation and
i mpression management.
1 5 True though it may be that beauty i s in the eye of the beholder,
it is still possible to influence what the eye sees in the first place.
Knowledge is always power and knowing more, as we now do,
about what people find attractive enables us to take steps to
present them with what they wish to see - or at least come closer
to it than we might if we were in ignorance.
But why should we bother? One reason is that those who are
perceived by others as being attractive are credited with having
other attributes. Several studies have shown that they are more
likely to be regarded as being talented, warm and responsive,
kind, sensitive, interesting, poised, sociable and outgoing. When
compared with unattractive people, they are seen as having a
socially desirable personality, as having higher occupational
status, as being more maritally competent, as more intelligent
and as being happier. Whether all attractive people possess these
qualities or not is clearly open to doubt. But if they are perceived
as having them, this will tend to encourage their development
anyway. Truth is not always reality, but what people perceive as
reality. In other words, if they think it is true, then, for all
practical purposes, it is true. As we said at the beginning, beauty
is indeed in the eye of the beholder.
So what is it that we are looking for? Who and what do we find
attractive? Most of the studies carried out seem to suggest that
men look for those characteristics in women which differentiate
them from men: fuller lips, narrower eyebrows, a sofer
complexion, absence of facial hair, large firm breasts, a narrower
waist, relatively broad hips and long legs are all usually regarded
as attractive. Glenn Wilson and David Nias describe a study
which revealed that, over the years, Miss World has on average
been an English-speaking model, aged 21 , Sft Bins tall, blonde
with brown eyes and with vital statistics of 35-2435. Clearly,
many women who do not match these stereotypes are regarded
by men as attractive - nevertheless, studies which ask people to
rate photographs of attractive women find that most
respondents will agree on who they find the most attractive. But
averages always do, after all, conceal a range of individual
variations.
It is not quite as easy to identif what it is that women find
attractive in men. Men imagine that they look for tallness, a
muscular chest and shoulders, muscular biceps and a large penis.
At least one study found, however, that women were more
interested in a man's eyes, whether or not he was slim and
whether he had small and sexy buttocks. A number of studies
have found that women are much more interested in a man's
personality, dependability and general character.
Mark Cook and Robert McHenry quote a study which suggested
that the ideal face for both sexes is oval in shape with a clear
complexion, large blue eyes, a straight nose, a medium-sized
mouth, ears which do not protrude, long eyelashes, bushy
eyebrows for men and fine eyebrows for women. No face,
however, is perfectly symmetrical, so some variation from the
ideal is inevitable.
In reality, personal attraction does not depend simply on
appearance and physique. Every aspect of body language has a
contribution to make and we often overlook a less-than-perfect
face or figure when, say, pupil dilation is high with plenty of eye
contact, facial expressions and gestures are expressive, or we like
the sound of someone's voice.
Eercise: 1 0 out of 1 0
Some readers wi l l remember the fi l m Í Û, starring ÜO Derek and
Dudl ey Moore, based i n par on the idea of scori ng the
attractiveness of peopl e on a scale runni ng from one to 1 Û. The
fi l m was based on a l ong-standi ng habit of young Western males
when looking for the company of young, attractive females. This
exercise seeks to apply the same approach to persons of either
sex.
Using the rating scale i n Fi gure 1 4. 1 (make as many copies of it as
you need), rate several strangers over the next week. I f you can,
enl ist the pari ci pati on of others so that you finish up with a
reasonably large number of completed scales.
Eercise review
Two things should emerge from this exercise. You should obtain
a clearer idea of precisely which non-verbal behaviours and
physical characteristics appeal to you in other people. You
should also find that your ratings tend to agree with those of
others who took part in the experiment (if you were fortunate
enough to find some friends or colleagues who would) .
Which i s more important, appearance or some other aspect of
body language?
1 57
1
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i
ï
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1 5 Score people 1 to l O on each of the following aspects of
appearance and other uses of body language. Place a 7 in the
appropriate box.
I Z å +
Hair
Forehead
Shape of head
Face
Eyes
Nose
Mouth
Ears
Neck
Skin
Body build
Shoulders
Chestbreasts
Arms
Hands
Waist
Buttocks
Abdomen and pelvis
Thighs
Knees
Calves
Feet
Shape of legs
Length of legs
Eye contact
Facial expression
Head movements
Gestures
Posture and stance
Proximity and orientation
Bodily contact
Timing and synchronization
Non-verbal aspects of speech
TOTALS:
( For a 0 rating simply leave blank) Max = 330
lÌ §Bl0J4. J personal attracti on assessment scal e
3 b ¯ b Y 1Ü
Boy meets gi rl
Let us visualize a first encounter between a young man and a
young woman in a pub, disco or night club and see what body
language they might use to initiate interaction and begin to get
to know each other. We shall call the young man Pete.
Pete enters and pauses j ust inside the door, looking around. His
thumbs are hitched into the waist of his j eans and his hands are
hanging loose. Even so they seem to be pointing towards his
crotch, though not in an obvious way. Without realizing it, he is
already indicating to all the unattached women present that he is
looking for a partner. If his stance is too overtly sexual, he will
be seen as regarding himself as ' God's gift to women'. Pete is
already in danger of coming on too strong and turning the
women off. As his eyes become accustomed to the rather
subdued lighting, he spies an empty table and makes for it. He
sits down, crosses one leg loosely over the other so that an ankle
rests on a knee, orders a drink from the attractive floor waitress
and continues looking around. He doesn't realize it yet, but he is
already being watched himself and every move he makes is
telling the watcher something about him.
At a table beside the small area set aside for dancing, a group of
young women is sitting chatting. They appear to be wrapped up
in each other's conversation, but in reality they are barely
listening to each other. As they talk, glances dart towards the
boys around the room. They are picking out the ones they will
respond to if asked to dance. One of them, Susie, a pert,
fashionably-dressed l S-year-old with short, dark hair, is already
interested in Pete and keeps glancing in his direction. Pete
catches one of these glances and continues looking at her after
she has looked away He likes what he sees, but what should he
do?
Once he is aware that Susie keeps looking at him, he contrives to
return the look with increasing frequency. The moment comes
when their eyes are almost locked together. He wants to look
away, as does Susie, and if the mutual gaze continues too long
without a development one of them will have to break gaze and
look away. This will cause the one who does so some
embarrassment and may therefore set in train a negative
reaction, which will make subsequent communication more
difficult. Before that can happen, he smiles. A slight, warm,
fiendly smile. Susie smiles back. He nods barely perceptibly
towards the dance floor. Susie nods agreement, blushing slightly
1 59
1
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1 6 even though she doesn't really feel embarrassed, j ust a tingling
sensation of pleasurable anticipation. He gets up, goes over, asks
her to dance and they go on to the floor. With hardly a word
before success was assured, he has surmounted the biggest
barrier in human communication, the invitation to interact in the
initial encounter. But he is not yet home and dry by any means
and there are numerous pitfalls still to avoid.
Because the lights are low and the music is on the loud side, Pete
and Susie will not have much opportunity to talk. If his initial
attraction to her ( and hers toward him) is maintained once they
are close enough to find out if the other is taller or shorter than
desired, or fatter or thinner, or has undesirable breath or body
odour, or is as physically attractive as seemed to be the case at
some distance, or has an unacceptable accent or voice quality,
then they will both be sizing each other up on a number of
characteristics.
They will assess each other (as we saw in Chapter 13) without
knowing it, on whether the other gives the amount and kind of
eye contact desired (if he now keeps glancing too obviously at
other women it will tend to put Susie off), on facial expression
(if he doesn't smile again she may interpret it as loss of interest) ,
body posture and orientation (if he keeps dancing with his back
to her, she will go and sit down with her friends) , gestures (if she
keeps stroking her hair, he may see her as vain) , and a host of
other non-verbal behaviours. If they go on liking what they see,
the moment will come when Susie will abandon her friends and
sit with Pete between dancing periods. He will be over the second
hurdle. Their relationship will have progressed a stage.
How will Pete know that Susie likes him and is not j ust passing
the time until something better walks in the door? What signals
will she give? Nothing can be completely certain because, as we
now know, non-verbal communication is more dependent on
context than verbal communication.
If he looks into her eyes, he may notice that the pupils are
dilated. If his general assessment of her indicates that she is
neither drugged nor drunk, he may interpret this as a sign of
interest.
She might not actually blush, but her facial colouring may be
heightened. This can be a favourable sign, as can perspiration,
however slight (as long as it's not simply the result of dancing or
because the place is over-warm) . Athough she might not stroke
her hair vainly all the time, occasional grooming gestures and
clothes-straightening (especially pulling down a sweater slightly
so that it emphasizes the breasts) can be signals of interest and
even readiness for sexual activity.
We can now leave Pete and Susie to enj oy themselves and each
other, secure in the knowledge that, even though they have not
yet had the opportunity to talk to each other in detail ( the music
is still too loud for this), their bodies have already spoken
volumes.
Take your parners
The example of Pete and Susie illustrates some of the general
principles of using body language to find attractive mates and
even to establish relationships of a less permanent nature. In
many ways, these are similar to those which are important in
establishing friendships generally.
Eye contact between lovers and friends has an even greater
importance than it has, as we saw, at work and in everyday
encounters. As greater looking often leads to greater liking, the
duration of mutual gaze will be extended.
Facial expressions will tend to be positive, if only because one is
in the presence of people one feels close to. But it is also true that,
simply because of this, negative expressions will be more readily
tolerated. Wat are friends and lovers for, afer all, if you cannot
simply relax and show them how you are really feeling?
Similarly, it is not necessary to attend to head movements,
gestures and posture. Proximity and orientation, however, do
need more attention. Close friends and lovers will suspect
something is amiss if greater proximity is not permitted.
Something similar will apply if the orientation is not reasonably
direct. Bodily contact will also be more frequent and, in the case
of lovers, if this is not frequent and extensive, it will be inferred
that all is not as well as it should be.
Appearance may not seem to matter much, but it does. If you
persist in dressing totally differently, having a different hairstyle
or making-up ( or not making-up) in an odd way, at the very least
this will provoke leg-pulling comments and at the worst it will
lead to your exclusion from the group.
161
1 62
I
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ï
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Timing and synchronization may tend to look after themselves,
but the non-verbal aspects of speech will be important. If your
accent does not fit in, or your voice is too loud and your friends
are quiet, or your tone is harsh and your friends are gentle
people, you could well have problems.
Careful attention to the key areas of body language between
lovers and friends will not be misplaced. You may find that some
study of the body language of those closest to you will provide
insights into the key areas in the specific context in which you
find yourself.
Geti ng on with people
Empathy i s the term often used to describe the ability to be able
to view a situation or problem from someone else's point of
view. Successful empathy, of the kind necessary in counselling,
depends on a more than usually sensitive response to the body
language of others and on using it more effectively oneself.
Essentially, empathy is a question of adjusting to what other
parties to the interaction feel is appropriate.
If they want more eye contact, greater proximity, direct
orientation or bodily contact, you can provide it. With facial
expression or gestures, because the other might make no obvious
indication as to preference, you will need to use all your
sensitivity in deciding what is appropriate. You can let them give
the lead in timing and synchronization, appearance and non­
verbal aspects of speech.
As far as head nods are concerned, the initiative lies with you.
Since their role is to draw out, to reinforce and to reassure, a
liberal use of head nods ( single and double of normal size - not
exaggerated) will help to encourage the verbal flow necessary for
effective counselling. As counselling and advising are everyday
skills as well as professional skills, these approaches have a far­
reaching significance.
Star qual it
Stars possess charisma. That is what makes them stars and
makes them stand out fom the crowd. But how do charismatic
personalities use body language? Is their use of it what makes
them stars? If it is, can the rest of us learn how to become stars?
Certainly, body language must be an important factor. Our
everyday experience tells us that there are many good singers, good
actors, good dancers, and good comedians, but only a few of them
become stars. Clearly, luck plays a par - you have to be in the right
place at the right time. But body language is also crucial.
Charisma is difficult to define, but it seems to be a quality that
some people have which draws others' eyes to them, which
makes people defer to them and which causes them to be raised
on to a pedestal in the popular mind. It is most common in
leaders (whether political or otherwise) , entertainers and sports
personalities. But it is present to some degree in many of the
people you meet in the course of an average day. The old man in
the pub who is a ' bit of a character' has charisma. So does the
captain of the school soccer team whom the girls have a crush
on. So does the guard on the train who chats to her passengers
over the public address system and at the end of the j ourney
commends them to the safe-keeping of the Almighty.
As far as their use of body language is concerned, charismatic
individuals will be domiant rather than submissive. Stars ( even
te stars of everyday life) will be high on gaze and mutual gaze, or
eye contact. For some stars it is the most important aspect of body
language. Tey love to look and, especially, to be looked at. They
blossom in the limelight of others' attention. They feed upon it
and thrive upon it. They look around at their audiences. They use
anticipatory scanning when moving through a crowd of fans.
Stars smile and grin a great deal Their facial expressions are
always fast-changing and expressive. Either that or, perhaps in
the case of some pop singers, they are sullen, with lowered brows
and a seductive expression.
A common head movement with stars is to toss the head back­
wards. It often occurs at pauses in songs or when taking the
audience's applause. If they have long hair, it is quite a dramatic
gesture. In the case of teenage idols, it can on its own provoke
squeals of delight from the fans, as can many other body
movements. The head is ofen tilted back, as if to allow everyone
as clear a view of it as possible.
Gestures are important to a star. They must be open and the
hands are frequently palm up with the arms stretching out as if
to embrace the audience. Palm-up or palm-outwards gestures of
various kinds and an avoidance of closed, defensive gestures
help, as it were, to bring the audience into the interaction: their

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1ô role as receivers might make them passive and therefore less
likely to applaud unless they were brought in in this way.
Gestures are often self-manipulative - stroking the hair, picking
pieces of fluf of the clothing, straightening clothes - and may
even be overtly sexual in nature.
Posture tends to be upright with some forward lean. Very often
one arm is extended with the hand palm up and the other hand is
on the hip. Proximity is not usually close, except when moving
through fans, though television close-ups can give the illusion of
proximity. Orientation towards the audience will usually be direct
and stems fom an old convention in the theatre that, as in
teaching, you never turn your back on your audience. Orientation
in situations like television chat shows may be asymmetrical and
indirect as there is usually an attempt to create a relaxing and
informal atmosphere in which interviewees will disclose more
about themselves than they might otherwise.
Bodily contact is infrequent. Stars are nearly always people you
look at but do not touch This may be part of the reason why pop
fans will often go to great lengths to get close enough to touch
their idols.
Appearance is almost always highly attractive or highly unusual.
If stars looked like chartered accountants or shop assistants, it
would be more dificult for us to put them on their pedestals. For
this kind of reason, they are often more heavily made up and
their style of dress is both colourful and fashionable.
Their timing and synchronization are sharp and dominant. They
talk a lot and ofen in a fast, breathy, 'mid-Atlantic' accent. They
especially like to talk about themselves and their successes.
This may seem to provide a stereotypical picture of a star, which
is unfortunate - stars are, by definition, individuals. There have
to be things about them which distinguish them from others. That
must be remembered. All we can do here is highlight some of the
aspects of body language which accompany star quality. You do
not have to practise them all before you can become a star.
How to be more atractive
Of all the aspects of body language that have been discussed,
which are the ones that will make other people think you more
attractive? Let us take each aspect in turn and see what we
should be doing:
1 Eye contact: Lookers are normally preferred to non-lookers.
Give people as much eye contact as you think they can take.
2 Facial expressions: Be lively. Smile a lot in a warm, friendly
manner. Let your face register interest.
J Head movements: Use single and double head nods to
encourage others to speak and to show attention on your
part. Use head cocks for the same reasons. Keep your chin
up, literally.
4 Gestures: Be expressive, without overdoing it. Perhaps the
best way is to keep your hands out of your pockets and avoid
arm-folding and other barrier gestures. Use open gestures.
5 Posture: When standing, be reasonably erect. When seated,
adopt backward leanng asymmetrical postue for iformality.
Adopt forward leaning, symmetrical posture for showing
interest. Use open postures.
6 Proximit and orientation: Approach as closely as you can
without embarrassing others. Use a 0° orientation wherever
possible.
7 Bodily contact: Touch as ofen as you can without causing
offence. Encourage touching from others.
8 Appearance and physique: Dress according to group norms,
but go for colour where you can. Keep skin soft and smooth.
Keep slim. This applies to both sexes, but men may have to
restrict colour a little more and do not need to have such soft
skins.
> Timing and synchronization: Be sensitive to the operation of
these factors, as discussed in Chapter 9.
1Û Non-verbal aspects of speech: Do not talk too much or too
fast, but try to talk as well as listen in roughly equal
proportions. People like listeners, but attractive people talk
more. You will have to balance the two. Control volume,
pitch and tone to suit the environment. Aim for a reasonably
standard accent and avoid regional extremes.
If you feel you are presently deficient in your body language in
more than two of these areas, you should be able to improve
your attractiveness to others significantly and noticeably.
Exercises and experi ments
T Who makes the fi rst move?
Obsere people in a pl ace where they are meeting for the first ti me (a
pary or a dance, say). Who i nitiates interaction? The male, who, in

Westem culture, sti l l tends to adopt an outgoing role? Or the female,
perhaps by permi ti ng longer than normal eye contact? What body
language brings two male or two female strangers together (except in
homosexual encounters)? How does this difer from a mi xed-sex
encounter?
2 Stargazing
Study televisi on stars. How do they use the 1Û aspects of body
language we have discussed in this chapter? What diferences do you
notice from what has been suggested here? Tr to meet some stars
in person and conduct the same analysi s. Are there any diferences
between their behaviour i n real life and their behaviour on television?
3 Parners for l ife
Study the body l anguage of peopl e you know who have been happily
married for at least 1 Û years. Do they echo each others' postures and
gestures? Do they echo any other aspets of body l anguage? How
does their behavi our difer when they are apar from when they are
together?
9 Hello, sex
What are the body language components of sex appeal? List them
under the ten headi ngs used i n this chapter. If you can, compare your
assessment wi th those of several other peopl e. On which aspets do
you agree?
lR this chapter VOU will lear:
• the role of body language in
peronal development
• how efective use of body
language can contri bute to
personal growh and the
exploitation of human develop­
ment
• the role of body language in
the development of synergic
relations
• how nonverbal behaviour can
be obsered and rcorded for
analysis.
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There is clearly some value in developing body language skills
for their own sakes, as there is in developing any other personal
skill. But the value is enhanced if the aim is greater effectiveness
in communication and improvement is seen as making a
contribution to personal growth and the exploitation of human
potential.
Body language is so central to self-presentation and impression
management that it makes good sense to see its development as
but a means to an end. If, in presenting ourselves to the world at
large and seeking to manage or control the impression we make
upon it, we can achieve this larger purpose of personal develop­
ment, then the work done in the course of using this book will
have acquired additional usefulness.
By now it should be clear that, as we claimed in the Introduction,
body language can be improved - and by now, if you have been
carrying out the exercises and experiments at the end of each
chapter, you should see in yourself signs of that improvement. But
we might be able to take things frther, and it will be the task of
this chapter to show how the work done so far can be continued
afer you have finished the book and how you can continue using
body language to increasingly better effect. It would, after all, be
less than fully usefl if, at the end of the book, you closed it and
said to yourself, 'Right, that's it. I've done body language, what's
next?' Clearly, whatever improvements had been made would
soon disappear. There have to be continuation and follow-up if
improvements are to be maintained and consolidated to provide a
solid base for even frther improvements.
Eercise: secret messages
There are many non-verbal games that you can play, if you can
enUst the cooperation of fami ly or friends, which will help to
develop your use of body language i n a general way and thus
contribute to your personal development. We shal l look at some of
them in this chapter, here and at the end, and you should tr to find
opporunities to pl ay as many of them as possible. I f you are using
this book as a cl ass text, your tutor should be able to arrange for
the games to be played i n the cl assroom. This first game i nvolves
the non-verbal transmission of messages.
Write numbers on pieces of paper suficient for the number of
pl ayers (for i nstance, if there are five players, use the numbers 1 to
5). Give all the pieces of paper to one person. Everone sits i n a
circle around this peron, who gives each of the other players a
numbered pi ece of paper which they keep concealed from the
others. The person in the mi ddl e cal ls out two numbers (say, Z and
5). The players with these numbers have to change pl aces. The
person in the middle has to tr to take one of their places. Si nce no
one knows anyone else's number, the pl ayers must first find out
non-verbally whi ch pl ayers have the numbers called. They must
make sure the person in the mi ddl e does not also find out. I f the
person in the middl e succeeds in taking a player's place when the
changeover occurs then that player goes into the mi ddl e, everone
gives him or her the numbered pieces of paper, which he or she
shufles and redistributes. The game then begins agai n. I t can be
played until everone has had a tum i n the mi ddl e or until everone
is tired of it. No one may speak, except the person in the mi ddl e
cal l i ng the numbers.
Exercise review
In pl aying this game, there are cerain thi ngs worh looking out for.
How, for instance, do the players establ i sh who the numbered pl ayers
are without the person i n the mi ddl e findi ng out? Which aspects of
body language do they use? How can the person in the mi ddl e best
catch the non-verbal messages which pass between players? Is it
more dificult to make others understand your number or to
understand someone else's? How do pl ayers signal the moment
when they wish to change places?
Sometimes a kind of conspiracy against the person in the mi ddl e can
develop in which several players pretend to be the nomi nated
numbers. This produces confusion and makes it easier for pl ayers to
change places. You wi l l find it useful to make a l ist of the things you
learn from pl aying this and the other games i n this chapter.
Establ i shi ng rappor
For successful c
o
mmunication to take place between you and
other people, and for you to find that each encounter makes
some small contribution to furthering personal development,
you need to become skilled in establishing rapport with others.
For this to happen with relative ease you need clear channels of
communication, some degree of trust in, and acceptance of, the
other person and a smooth pattern of interaction.
There are several things you can do to create rapport. You can
use a warm, friendly manner, together with smiles and eye
contact at appropriate points in the interaction. You can make
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rapport more likely by treating the other person as an equal. You
can establish the smooth and easy pattern of interaction that is
needed by using the various techniques discussed in this book.
Finding a common interest or experience can help to create a
bond between people, which makes it easier to establish rapport.
Showing a keen, sympathetic interest in the other person, giving
them your fll attention, making it clear that there is plenty of
time for the encounter, and listening carefully to what they say
will all help. You can adopt the other's terminology and
conventions, and generally meet them on their own ground.
In discussion, you will need to keep the other person involved in
the interaction. You will need to motivate them and make them
want to take part. You will need to reduce any anxiety or
defensiveness shown by the other and you should be concerned
to see that the impression you make on the other is a good one.
Clearly, many of these things can be achieved by using appropriate
body language. Eye contact will be higher than average. Facial
expressions will show interest and a good deal of use will be made
of smiles. Head movements will, in the mai, consist of nods and
head cocks. Gestures will be open and encouaging. Postures will
be forward more ofen than not, Proxity will be close and
orientation either direct or side by side. Bodiy contact will often be
appropriate, holding a hand or placing an arm round a shouder.
Rapport is easier to establish between people who look and dress
alike, so this aspect of body language may be important. Timing
and synchronization will be crucial and it is better if you let the
other person dictate the pace and style of interaction and seek to
fit in with it and encourage it. This can be helped by using non­
verbal aspects of speech, such as a soft tone, low volume and
various supportive vocalizations.
Self-di sclosure
Sidney Jourard has done a great deal of research into what he calls
'the transparent self', or the willingess of people to disclose
information about themselves to others. He has shown that people
will disclose more and behave diferently when the person they are
with has frst let him- or herself be known in various respects. m
other words, if you wish to find out more about a person you are
more likely to achieve this if you frst voluteer information about
yourself. This can be done both verbally and non-verbally.
Non-verbally, you can engage in self-disclosure by, for instance,
using a greater variety of facial expressions, by an increased use
of gestures and by more changes in posture. All bodily
movement makes a contribution to enabling others to make an
assessment of us.
It is often easier to disclose yourself to a stranger than to a friend.
If people think they are unlikely to see someone again, that
person acquires 'stranger value' and more is disclosed, especially
of inner thoughts and feelings.
Self-disclosure is worth encouraging, both in yourself and in
others. It leads to self-awareness and knowledge and these in
turn lead to self-development and personal growth.
I nteractive ski l l s
It would be remiss of us i f we were to complete our consideration
of how to use body language more efectively without giving
some thought as to how non-verbal skills relate to other
interactive skills. As we have seen, in any face-to-face encounter
between people, a substantial part of what happens is non-verbal
rather than verbal. Since, at the moment, a great deal of
interactive skills training neglects or even totally ignores body
language, there is a need to redress the balance.
A integrated approach to the development of interactive or
social skills would contain several elements. There would be
practice. Exercises and experiments like the ones in this book
provide this. If responses are recorded, this makes it possible for
you to provide yourself with feedback, which promotes further
improvement.
Role-playing provides an excellent opportity to integrate both
verbal and non-verbal skills. m this kind of activit role-reversal,
in which you assume a role opposite to that which you would
normally occupy in a situation, is particularly usefl. Examples
might be fathers behaving as children, managers behaving as shop
stewards, salesmen behaving as customers, and vice versa. Again,
feedback (perhaps through the use of video taping) enables
participants to j udge how well or how badly they have performed.
Games, of the kind suggested in this chapter, also help.
Imitations of models of good practice, discussions of situations
with others and reading (perhaps of some of the books listed in
the Further Reading section) will all make a contribution.
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Although caution has been urged over encounter groups, some
people can find them useful. There are, however, alternative
forms of sensitivity training which are less stressful. These
include watching films or television programmes and then
discussing people' s behaviour with others; having someone read
a passage and assessing the emotional state being portrayed
when the words cannot be heard; or doing some elementary
recording of body language in the way suggested later in this
chapter.
If the involvement of others can be secured, so much the better,
but you can still achieve a great deal on your own. The
important point to keep in mind is that skill in using body
language needs to be seen in the context of developing interactive
skills generally.
Synergy
Synergy is said to occur when the outcome of a situation is
greater than the sum of the inputs. It is sometimes described by
the formula 2 + 2 = 5. Examples of synergy might include the
performance of a play that is not j ust good but gets several
curtain calls from a rapturous audience; the football team which
does not merely win its matches but seems as if it cannot lose; the
party at which everybody really enj oys themselves and seems to
go with that extra swing.
Non-verbally, synergy is promoted especially by sensitive timing
and synchronization. When things are going so well and with
such a rhythm that an occasion acquires a dimension of magic
and a sense of being special, that is synergy. When everybody is
working together so well that it seems as if they simply could not
make a mistake, that is synergy. When an artist gives such a
perfectly timed and paced performance that it is absolutely
fawless, that is synergy.
Synergy can also be promoted by eye contact, head movement,
gestures, postures and non-verbal aspects of speech where these
have an infuence on people's reactions to what has j ust
happened and anticipation of what is about to happen. Things
need to work together particularly well for synergy to be
produced. When it is, it adds an extra quality which is well
worth striving for.
Recori ng body l anguage
For those who wish to pursue their study of body language
frther, it will be useful to make some more systematic
recordings of non-verbal behaviour. Two possibilities follow.
• First, whie watching a chosen subject on television or in real
life, record their body language on a coding sheet ( see Figure
15. 1 ) . This can later be analyzed for the purpose of establishing
patterns and to identif peculiarities i behavioural styles.
• Second, record your responses to your subject's body language
on a rating scale ( see Figure 15. 2) . This should provide even
more information for analysis and assessment.
c.µ • I Z
1 Eye contact 7
Z Facial expression change
3 Head movements 7
º Gestures 7
å Posture change
b Proximity and orientation change
¯ Bodily contact
ö Appearance (rate on scale 1 to 10) ö
V Timing and synchronization 7
10 Non-verbal aspects of speech 7
7 if behaviour present:
llgBf0 T 0. T 000y l 300 J300 000| 00 5 000!
Exercises and experi ments
T Random groups
å + 3 b ¯ b Y
A group of players moves freely around a room. A person appoi nted
as the game leader calls out a number, such as two or four, and the
pl ayers have to fORn i nto groups of that size. No-one may speak.
Anyone lef over drops out of the game. Te game conti nues until onl y
two people remai n. I n this game, it i s interesting to see who are the
most successful players and who are the least successful . Diferences
in their use of body language shoul d be detected.
2 Is a wi nk as good as a nod?
A group of players i s divided into two groups. Half si t on chairs and
hal f stand behi nd the chairs, arranged i n a ci rcl e. One chair is lef
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Attractive/good looking _______ Unattractive/ugly
Smart _______ Unkempt
Clean _______ Dirty
High self-esteem _______ Low self-esteem
Ambitious _______ Unambitious
Warm _______ Cold
Approachable _______ Aloof
Sought after _______ Avoided
Happy _______ Depressed
Calm _______ Anxious
Rewarding _______ Unrewarding
Generous _______ Mean
Sociable _______ Unsociable
Permissive _______ Strict
Kind _______ Cruel
Has 'presence' _______ Has no 'presence'
Distinguished _______ Undistinguished
Respected _______ Spurned
Confident _______ Timorous
Assertive _______ Submissive
Charismatic _______ Mediocre
Star _______ One of the crowd
Success _______ Failure
Progressive _______ Reactionary
Colourful _______ Colourless
Likes children _______ Does not like children
Businesslike _______ Disorganized
Extrovert (outgoing) _______ Introvert (inward looking)
Active _______ Lazy
Takes risks _______ Cautious
Impulsive _______ Controlled
Expressive _______ Inhibited
Responsible _______ Irresponsible
Practical _______ Reflective
Casual _______ Obsessive
Independent _______ Dependent
Peaceful _______ Aggressive
Bright _______ Dull
Masculine _______ Feminine
Straightforward _______ Devious
Honest _______ Dishonest
Open _______ Shifty
Spendthrift _______ Thrifty
Liberal _______ Conservative
Drinks _______ Abstains
Sympathetic _______ Unsympathetic
Considerate _______ Inconsiderate
Place 7 at point on scale for example:
Clean r______ Dirty
Warm ___ r___ Cold
lÌ §0f0 T 0. Z semanti c di fferenti al rati ng scal e for percepti ons of othe rs' non­
ver bal behavi our
empty (Le. there must be an odd number of players). The person
behi nd the empty chai r has to wink at a seated player. That player has
to tr to get to the empty chair and the person standi ng behi nd has to
tr to prevent hi m or her. If he or she succeeds i n preventi ng the
escape, both players change places and the person with the empty
chai r tries agai n. It is worh noti ci ng if one attractive member of the
group gets more wi nks than anyone else, and if seated pl ayers tr to
avoid being wi nked at by unatractive standi ng pl ayers.
3 The magi c mi rror
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Each player finds a parner and stands faci ng them. The pl ayers tr to ..
move in such a way that they copy each other, as if they were mi rror W
i mages. Those who obsere the game shoul d look to see who gives
a lead, which people are better at copying than others and whi ch
peopl e do thi ngs that are almost i mpossi bl e to copy.
9 Si lent drawi ng
A number of people si t round a piece of paper, suppl ied with crayons
or felt-tipped pens of diferent colours. No one speaks. Each person
contributes as much or as litle as he or she wishes to create a
drawing on the piece of paper. Who stars? Who does most? Who
does nothi ng at all? How does the group decide it has finished? What
are the most common non-verbal behavi ours?
Û Come in if you can get i n
The pl ayers wait outsi de a room. They come i n one at a ti me and take
up a position they find comforable near peopl e they l i ke. No one may
speak. The game fi ni shes when everone i s finally placed. How many
groups form? Who i s lef out? What body language do people use to
show that they want someone to join them? How do they show they
do not want somene to joi n them?
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We are approaching the end of our consideration of body
language, its nature, its uses and how it can be improved. You
should not think of this as the end of your study of body
language, however. You can continue that for the rest of your
life, if you wish, by always paying more attention to non-verbal
aspects of communication than you did before you read this
book. Hopefully, you will have overcome the embarrassment
that many people feel over discussion of body language. You
should be able to regard it as a skill in the same way that reading,
writing, listening and speaking are skills. As these can be
improved by training, so can body language.
Of all the points that have been made in this book and of all the
information which has been given, which are the most
important? What are the essential features of body language that
you should concentrate on and seek to develop in your everyday
encounters with other people at work and at play? You are free,
of course, to form your own opinions on this on the basis of
what you have learned both fom reading the book and from
carrying out the exercises and experiments. You might
nevertheless find it useful to have a view against which you can
measure your own. Let us consider each aspect of body language
separately, but remember that its effective use requires all aspects
to be integrated. We must remind ourselves that we only
separate the aspects for convenience of examination.
Eye contact should be encouraged. Avoid staring, but more eye
contact is likely to lead to greater liking, greater awareness and
more accurate understanding of others' body language. We have
to remember that communication is as much a question of
accurate reception of signals as it is of skilful transmission. Pupil
size is a useful indicator of liking, at close quarters. As it is
beyond conscious control, it can be more revealing than many
other aspects of body language.
Facial expressions should be lively and expressive rather than
too carefully controlled and restricted. Movement provides
others with information about us, information which is more
likely to provoke a favourable response. Even unattractive
people can appear attractive if they have lively and expressive
faces. Many comedians are ugly or have odd-looking faces, yet
their faces are usually so expressive that their ugliness almost
becomes a kind of beauty.
Head movements, especially nods, can help to keep an encounter
progressing smoothly and so they, too, should be encouraged.
The more you allow, and even encourage, other people to talk,
the more they will like you. Not that you should content yourself
with being a permanent listener, simply that you should seek to
share the floor, as it were, and avoid hogging it.
Gestures should be open and expressive, but not to the point of
being contrived and affected. Just let them flow as a natural
accompaniment both to the rest of your body language and to
what you say. Avoid defensive, barrier gestures. Palm up or palm
outward gestures are especially useful to encourage. On the
other hand, it is worth noting that high-status individuals exhibit
low peripheral movement in the form of few gestures and few
changes in posture. Once again, it is a question of j udging what
is most appropriate in the circumstances.
Posture should be upright with forward lean when trying to
convey active interest and involvement. But there are times when
an asymmetrical leaning back will help to keep the atmosphere
informal and relaxed. Stooping and slouching should always be
avoided as these will almost always give an impression of lack of
interest or other negative feelings.
Proximit should be encouraged. mour Western culture we tend
to distance ourselves rather more than in many other cultures, so
there can be several advantages in allowing closeness. We can
always soften any stress produced by this by adopting an indirect
orientation. When we are alone it is worth remembering that
reflective thought is encouraged more by a horizontal orientation
than a vertical one.
Bodily contact should be encouraged where it will not lead to
embarrassment. Handshakes, arm pats, shoulder pats, arm
round shoulders and guiding hands on the arm or back may be
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d
E.
g
the best ones to start with. But, as we said, care needs to be
exercised here and progress in using bodily contact should be
dictated by what others find appropriate. It is more a question of
following others' initiatives rather than taking too much of a
lead.
Appearance and physique should be changed where you can see
that this will bring about improvements. Experimenting with
clothing can often reveal new ways of dressing which produce a
more favourable response from others. Since a high value has
been placed upon slimness in our society, overweight people
might seriously consider either slimming down or at least
dressing in ways which disguise the excess fesh.
Timing and synchronization are based on such subtle signals that
it takes a good deal of time and effort to refine them.
Nevertheless, it is worth "'rking to improve them. Perhaps the
best way is to observe carefully those people you can identif as
having a particularly acute sense of timing and who are able to
synchronize with others with seeming perfection.
Non-verbal aspects of speech provide an area in which, once you
are aware of the characteristics of your own speech - perhaps by
listening to a tape of yourself - you can exercise some control.
Avoid speaking too loudly with too harsh a tone. Avoid speaking
too rapidly and using 'umms' , 'ers' , and 'ahs' wherever you can.
Aim to maintain as uninterrupted a flow of speech as possible,
without seeming too polished and glib.
Above all, you should remember that body language is only one
communication skill. It is limited in the amount and range of
information it can convey and is most suited to portraying
emotions and attitudes. But because it does also have a vital role
in supporting ( or contradicting) verbal communication it needs
to be developed in the same way as other communication skills.
Keep an eye on your own and other people's body language,
practise the instruction and guidance offered in this book, read
other books on body language and you should fnd that, as your
skill in using it continues to improve, your enjoyment and
satisfaction in interacting with other people grows accordingly.
You will be taking important steps in the development of your
fll potential and will be helping others in the achievement of the
highest objectives to which humankind can aspire, the growh of
human understanding and the promotion of truly effective
interpersonal communication.
In research terms, in spite of the fact that some research was
done over a hundred years ago, body language ( or non-verbal
communication, as researchers usually call it) is still a very young
subj ect. Although a great deal of research has been done in the
last 30 years, much remains to be done. Nevertheless, you will,
if you wish to pursue your interest in body language, find it
usefl to read some of the books below.
Argyle, M. ( 1972) The Psychology of Interpersonal Behaviour,
Penguin.
Argyle, M. ( 1975) Bodily Communication, Methuen. ÆB
Atell, R. E. ( 1 998) Gestres: The Do's and Don'ts of Body
Language Around the World, Wiley.
Birdwhistell, R. ( 1 973) Kinesics and Context, Penguin.
Q
0
Blake, A. ( 1 997) Body Language: The Meaning of Modern
Sport, Lawrence & Wishart.
Caro, M. ( 1 994) The Body Language of Poker, Carol Publishing
Corporation.
Cook, M. & McHenry, R. ( 1 978) Sexual Attraction, Pergamon.
Clayton, P. ( 1 999) Body Language: A Visual Guide, Newleaf.
Cohen, D. ( 1 999) Body Language in Relationships, Sheldon
Press.
Cundiff, N. ( 1 972) Kinesics, Parker Publishing Co (USA) .
Darwin, C. ( 1 865, republished 1 965) Expression of the
Emotions in Man and Animals, University of Chicago Press.
Diagram Group ( 1 999) Body Language, Harper Collins.
Duckman, D. , Rozelle, R.M. & Baxter, J. C. ( 1 982) Nonverbal
Communication, Sage Publications.
Early, G. (ed. ) ( 1 998) Body LAngage: Writers on Sport, Grayolf
Press.
Ekman, P. & Friesen, W.V. ( 1 975) Unmasking the Face, Prentice­
Hall.
Fast, J. ( 1971 ) Body LAnguage, Pan Books.
Hall, E.T. ( 1 959) The Silent Language, Doubleday.
Hall, J.W. ( 1 999) Body LAnguage, Harper Collins.
Harrison, R. ( 1 974) Beyond Words, Prentice-Hall.
Hess, E.H. ( 1 975) The Tell-Tale Eye, Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Jourard, S. ( 1 971 ) Self-disclosure, Wiley.
Kleinke, C. ( 1 975) First Impressions, Prentice-Hall.
Knapp, M.L. ( 1 972) Nonverbal Communication in Human
Interaction, Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Korte, B. ( 1 998) Body Language in Literature, University of
Toronto Press.
Lamb, W. ( 1 965) Posture and Gesture, Duckworth.
Lewis, D. ( 1 996) The Body Language of Children, Souvenir
Press.
Lovitt, J. ( 1 996) Body Language, Lillenas Publishing.
Matthews, R. O. ( 1 990) Signs and Symbol: Body Language,
Wayland.
Mehrabian, A. ( 1 971 ) Silent Messages, Wadsworth.
Mehrabian, A. ( 1 972) Nonverbal Communication, Aldine
Atherton.
Morris, D. ( 1 977) Manwatching, Cape.
Morris, D. ( 1979) Gestures, Cape.
Neill, S. & Caswell, C. ( 1 993) Body Language for Competent
Teachers, Routledge.
Nierenberg, G.!. & Calero, H.H. ( 1 973) How To Read A Person
Like A Book, Hanau.
Quilliam, S. ( 1 995) Body Language Secrets for Success at Work,
Thorsons.
Robson, P. ( 1 998) Body Language, F. Watts.
Rosenthal, R. (ed) ( 1979) Skill in Nonverbal Communication
Individual Differences, Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Ham.
Ruesch, J. & Kees, W. ( 1 956) Nonverbal Communication,
University of California Press.
Ruthrof, H. ( 1 998) The Body in Language, Cassell.
Schefen, A.E. ( 1972) Body Language and Social Order,
Prentice-Hall.
Sommer, R. ( 1 969) Personal Space, Prentice-Hall.
Wiemann, J.M. & Harrison, R.P. ( 1 983) Nonverbal Interaction,
Sage Publications.
Wilson, G. & McLaughlin, C. ( 1 996) Winning With Body
Language, Bloomsbury.
Wilson, G. & Nias, D. ( 1 976) Love's Mysteries, Open Books.
Zunin, L. ( 1 972) Contact: The First Four Minutes, Talmy
Franklin.
181
[ 1821
ÆB
Q
L
Ü
P
accent 1 1 7-, 160, 1 62, 16
adaptors 42 ·
age 1 0, 26, 51 , 62, 97, 1 01 , 103,
1 1 7, 1 47-, 1 49
aggression 13, 16, 2, 60, 61
Americans 127, 1 29, 1 32
anger 1 9, 22-, 27-, 42, 1 30, 13
antici patory screeni ng 1 1 3, 137-,
1 40
appearance 26, 9, 97-102, 12,
1 30, 1 3
Argyle, Mi chael 1 0, 1 3, 42, 8, 9,
9, 1 1 1 , 130
atitudes 1 1 , 1 31 4, 1 6, 1 9, 21 , 2,
28, 3, 37, 3, 42, 5, õ,
5, 5, 8, 1 41 , 1 42
atraction 12, 1 4, 26, 1 37, 14, 1 6
Bater, James 6
Berne, Eric 9
Birdwhistel l , Ray 4, 5, 1 01
Blacks, body l anguage of 128
bodi l y contact 81-2, 1 3, 1 4,
1 52, 161 , 1 65, 1 70, 1 77
body types 991 01
Calero, Henr 42, 4, 131
charisma 1 62-
chi l dren 1 0, 1 3, Z, 2, 89, 1 3
chronemics 10
classroom behavi our 141
clothes changi ng exercise 1 02,
1 03
communi cation ski l l s 1 6, 1 78
competition vs. cooperation 6971
Condon, Wi l l iam 1 1 0
Cook, Mark 13, 1 57
context 1 3, 2, 26, 52, 1 51
crowdi ng 75
cul tural
di fferences 1280
universals 13
Dari n, Charles 19
deception 120, 1 51
depression 28, 3, 5
Derek, Bo 1 57
di sgust 2, Z, 27, 1 3
distance ô, 75
domi nance 1 1 , 1 1 9
doodl i ng 1 32
dramatic perormances ô
Eckman, Paul 22, 4
ectomorph 99, 1 0, 1 03
embl ems 4
emoti ons, expression of 1 3, 1 9,
2-3, 25, 28, 42, 1 30, 1 4,
1 78
empathy 1 62
encounter groups 1 72
endomorph 9, 1 0, 1 0
exercises and experiments 1 61 7,
Z, 3, 5,
6, 79, 9,
1 03, 1 141 5, 1 23,
1 3, 14, 1 5,
1 65, 1 735
eye contact 7-1 7, 3, 5, 69, 1 1 0,
1 21 , 12, 131 , 1 65
eyebrow flash 12, 24, 37, 1 49
facial expression 1 8, 45, 62,
1 1 7, 1 2, 1 39, 1 41-, 1 52
fashions 1 02
fear 26, 61 , 1 3
feedback 1 1-13, 1 1 3
first i mpressions �, 957
formality 1 65
Friesen, Wallace 2, 4
gae 91 6, 76, 1 59
Germans 12
gestures 41-
goodbye 4, 8, 1 5
Greeks 127, 1 2
greetings 1 9, 37, m. 1 �, 1 4
groomi ng 6, 8, 1 61
groups 6, 63, 68, 1 42, 1 72
Hal l , Edwards 6, 1 0, 1 27
handshakes 87-, 1 49
hai r 24, 49, 63, 1 02, 1 5, 1 63
happi ness 2, 2, 1 1 9
haptics 8
head cock 23, 25, 35, 37, 1 2, 131 ,
1 39, 14, 149
head movements 31 -, 1 39, 1 5
head nods 3, 1 1 0, 1 1 2, 1 3, 162
Hedi n, Richard 87
homosexuals 14, 8
Hong Kong 76
i l l ustrators 42
i mitation (posture and gesture
copying) 5, 14
i mpression management 16
i ndustrial relations 14
interaction 1 2, 68, 78, 1 4
interest 2, 23
i nteriewing 1 39
inti macy 87
Italians 1 2
Japanese 1 27, 1 29
Jourard, Sidney 8, 1 70
Kendon, Adam 1 1 0
ki nesics 4, 0
Knapp, Mark 8, W
Lamb, Warren M, 1 4, 1 M
l aughi ng 1 23
leakage 4, 1 5
leavetaki ng 5
legs 4, 76, W, 1 1
l i ki ng 1 3, 61 , 141
l i steni ng 1 2, 25, 3, 51 , 1 70
looking 91 6, 76, 1 59
McHenr, Rober 1 57
markers 3, 37
meetings 141
Mehrabi an, Alber 81
mesomorph 9, 10, 1 0
messages, secret 18
micromomentar expresll ol Z7
Moore, Dudl ey 157
Moran, Rober 132
Morris, Desmond 47-, 87, 81, .
Ni erenberg, Gerard 4Z, %, 1 31
non-verbal communicati on 4Z, 47,
6, 1 0, 1 4
obseration of body l angunua l fJ
occupations, body l anguBU" I I I
1 30
busi ness 139
nursi ng 13
pop stars 14
receptionists 1 39
teachi ng 1 4
¯ i nteriewing 1 39
orientation 67-, 1 3, 1 3. ¡ 4J
paral i nguistics 1 1 7
pauses 1 091 0
personal devel opment 1 ð7-7ô
personal space 69, 75
physique 91 0
posture õ
proxemics 6
proximity 67-
pupi l di lation 1 57
1 8
1 8 quasi -courshi p behavi our 49, 52
rappor 51 , 63, 169
regulators 42
role-playi ng 1 71
Rozel l e, Ri chard 6
sadness 2
Schefl en, Alber 49, 63
scratchi ng 42
self-disclosure 1 70
sel l i ng 52, 97, 131-
sex diferences 37, 51 , 99
sign l anguages 42, õ
si l ence 4, 1 091 0
smal l talk 1 51-2
smi l e 1 921
Sommer, Rober 75
speech, non-verbal aspects of
1 1 624
stance õ
staring 10, 1 76
status 1 1 , 601
steepl i ng %, 131
'stranger val ue' 171
surprise 27
sympathy 52
synchronization 1 051 5
synergy 1 72
tapping 1 32
territoriality 76
time and ti mi ng 1 051 5
touchi ng 81-2
trai ni ng i n body l anguage 27, 39,
1 27, 1 71-2
see a/so exercises and experiments
trust exercise 1 1 7-1 9
turn-taki ng 1 5
l, obseri ng body language on 6,
1 21
uni versal body l anguage 1 30
verbal communi cation 16, 160, 1 78
vocal characteristics 1 1 7
warmth õ, õ,87
watchi ng exercise 8
winki ng 1 2, 32, 3
zigzag table 72

,

\..

teach yourself

®

body language gordon r, wainwright

For over 60 years, more than million people have leamt over 750 subjects the teach yourself way, with impressive results.
40

be where you want to be with teach yourself

. 02 facial expression the range of expressions faces and first impressions talking with your face face facts smile. 1 skills and techniques eye contact eye grammar uses of eye contact research into eye contact what our pupils can teach us making better use of your eyes exercises and experiments 5 6 9 11 13 14 15 16 18 21 24 25 26 28 29 31 34 35 36 37 38 39 41 (I) :::l tn . you'll feel better exercises and experiments 03 head movements talking heads listening heads it depends on how you look at it how to use your head nod if you want me to continue exercises and experiments 04 gestures and body movements ...n 0 :::l introduction part one 01 [] ..

proximity and orientation don't come any closer making interaction easier exercises and experiments 07 bodily contact bodily contact and touching you need hands hugging and kissing don't push better bodily contact exercises and experiments 08 appearance and physique first impressions you've gotta have style sorting the men from the women body shape and size people change improving your image exercises and experiments .vi n 0 let your body do the talking Morris's gesture maps peoplewatching gesture psychology how to speak body language exercises and experiments 45 47 49 i i 05 50 51 53 55 58 posture and stance mind-reading through posture I'm the king of the castle I'm inclined to like you posture research exaggerated postures exercises and experiments 60 61 62 64 65 67 71 74 75 75 78 79 81 86 88 89 90 91 92 93 95 97 98 99 101 102 103 06 proximity and orientation seating arrangements why do psychiatrists have couches? status.

1/1 i 10 body language and spoken language supporting what is said speech errors contradicting what is said political body language laugh and the world laughs with you exercises and experiments part two contexts body language around the world cultural differences non-verbal universals negotiating styles business as usual what to do when you can't speak the language exercises and experiments 11 12 body language at work occupational body language the effective use of meetings attitudes to workmates the BL of industrial relations motivating others team building exercises and experiments 13 everyday encounters the first five minutes opening and closing conversations ..09 timing and synchronization time and tide good times and bad times silences and pauses dovetailing in discussions getting a word in edgeways how to use time effectively exercises and experiments 1 05 107 108 109 110 111 112 114 116 119 120 120 120 123 123 1 25 1 26 128 130 131 132 134 134 1 36 138 141 142 143 143 143 144 1 46 148 149 vii n 0 ::::I .

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personal attraction boy meets girl take your partners getting on with people star quality how to be more attractive exercises and experiments

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personal development establishing rapport self-disclosure interactive skills synergy recording body language exercises and experiments

conclusion further reading index

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I11III

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In this book you will learn a language which everybody knows already. This is the language of the body. Every time we talk to someone else the body supplements what we say with dozens of small gestures, eye movements, changes in posture and facial expression. The fact that everybody knows this language already will not prevent you from learning to 'speak' it more effectively. _. Hence the reason for this book. Most people do not realize just how much they use this unspoken language every time they communicate with another person. They use it unconsciously. And so do you. It may be that you, too, do not realize it is possible to use body language more effectively.. This book will prove otherwise. If you read it carefully and put its guidance into practice, especially through the exercises and experiments it contains, you will find yourself becoming more skilled in the use of body language. And also more skilled in understanding other people's use of it. In the last 20 years, a great deal of research has been carried out in non-verbal communication. Workers from the various disciplines of psychology, sociology, anthropology and linguistics have studied aspects of human behaviour that appear to have a communicative function. A number of subdisciplines have sprung up - kinesics, proxemics and paralinguistics, for instance - to provide umbrellas under which various kinds of research have been undertaken. The result is that we now know a good deal more than we did about human interaction at the micro level. In many cases, what was intuitively felt to be true on the basis of common sense has been confirmed, but in others it has not. The purpose here is to explore this rapidly developing field to discover what has been learned and to assess the practical implications and applications of this new knowledge. We have

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tended in the past to view communication between people as almost exclusively a matter of using language. It is time we took more serious account of the impact of non-verbal factors in face­ to-face interaction. This book sets out to explain what is known from research findings about the skills and techniques of body language such as bodily contact, proximity, orientation, facial expressions, non-verbal aspects of speech, and so on. It examines how this knowledge is applied in a variety of contexts and also how it may be applied to better effect. The remainder of this introduction will, therefore, oudine briefly, but in a little more detail than is possible in a table of contents, the topics that you can expect to encounter later. Hopefully, this will help to convince you that it will be worth your while to persevere with your reading of the book and perhaps also to participate in some of the practical exercises and experiments which are suggested at the end of each chapter. In the use of body language, as in many other fields, at least as much may be learned from doing as from reading about what others do. But the main hope in providing this oudine is that, by the time you reach the end of this introduction, you will have a clearer idea of what is meant by the term 'body language', what kinds of behaviour it includes and also, from their omission, what kinds of behaviour it is not meant to include. Eye contact and direction of gaze are considered in Chapter 1 . They are arguably the most potent means of non-verbal communication we possess. Eye contact maintained a fraction of a second longer than the individual looked at considers appropriate can lead to a reaction of physical aggression or, in another context, be taken as an indication of sexual attraction. We have to be careful what we are doing with our eyes. Chapter 2 deals with facial expressions, including smiling. The smile is one of the few universals in body language, as is the 'eyebrow flash' of recognition and greeting. Our faces may not always be our fortunes, but they are certainly where some of the most powerful non-verbal signals originate. Head movements and head nods, though stricdy speaking gestures, are considered separately in Chapter 3. Their role in social interaction is explained and the importance of head nods when listening to others is discussed. Gestures and body movements provide the focal point for Chapter 4. It is in this area that many researchers have looked

such as those used by deaf people. but it is now being taken more seriously as an aspect of behaviour which can be rich in useful non-verbal signals. but there are many and obvious differences between these and the way gestures are used in normal everyday life. appearance and physique are discussed. . But the difference is not a rigid one and it is perhaps only possible to distinguish the two on the basis of which part of the body is doing the touching. Chapter 7 deals with body contact and touching. Until recently this was thought to be an area more suited to treatment in manuals of etiquette and deportment. together with territoriality in human behaviour. pace and accent. be a good indicator of an individual's state of mind at the time at which communication is taking place. touching implies that the hands are being used to make the contact. so far without success. The concept of personal space is explored. Chapter 9 considers timing and synchronization as aspects of b ody language. Chapter 5 examines the role of posture and stance in body language. There is also a brief discussion of the concept of defensible space and its personal and social importance. What we say can be considerably affected by our use.for evidence of the existence of a body language with strict rules like spoken languages. Simple changes to these can have a significant effect upon an individual's ability to interact successfully with others. Chapter 1 0 considers the non-verbal aspects of speech. 'ers'. for the former carries the implication of accidental touching and the latter implies a deliberate act. In Chapter 8. The importance of time in Western culture gives it an important role in communication. However. orientation can tell us a good deal about individuals' attitudes both to those with whom they are communicating and to the nature. Like posture. for instance. 3 In Chapter 6 we look at proximity and orientation. of pauses. 'urns'. as we shall see. to name but a few of the features that are more important than many people suppose. there are some indications that certain gestures in certain cultures have quite specific and fixed meanings and a nurnber of gesture languages do exist. changes in tone. How well we synchronize when talking with others can also be a major factor in successful interaction. deliberate or unconscious. subject and setting of the communication. The main distinction that is made between these two is one of intent. Posture can. pitch.

unexpected and significant differences. . A systematic approach to analyzing other people's body language during small talk is suggested. business and other forms of contact with the public. It also suggests how non-verbal behaviour can be observed and recorded for analysis. attention moves to the part played by body language in establishing and maintaining relationships with the opposite sex. An attempt has been made here to highlight some of the more unusual. Chapter 1 5 considers the role of body language in personal development. It examines how effective use of body language can contribute to personal growth and the exploitation of human development. In Chapter 14. as well as to explore the general nature of cross­ cultural variations in non-verbal behaviour. Suggestions for further reading complete the book and should prove helpful to the reader who wishes to explore the subject further. Chapter 13 considers its role in various situations encountered in everyday life. In addition.4 Cultural differences in the use of body language are the focus of attention in Chapter 1 1 . those in which the outcome is greater than the sum of individual inputs) is explored. television interviewing. empathy and a sense of togetherness. the role of body language in the development of synergic relations (that is. In the concluding chapter we review what has been learned and consider the limitations and advantages of body language as a means of communicating. teaching. as well as in attempts to deceive others. It considers how non-verbal behaviour can be used to make an individual appear more attractive with better self­ presentation and impression management. together with its role in establishing rapport. with discussion of its role in such areas as counselling and the development of interactive skills. Chapter 12 explores the role of body language in occupations such as nursing.

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.. In this chapter you will learn: • eye contact and d i rection of gaze are the most potent means of nonverbal communi­ cation we possess • eye contact maintained a fraction of a second longer than the individual looked at considers appropriate can lead to a reaction of physical aggression or be taken as an indication of sexual attraction • we have to look what we are doing with our eyes. Q) n ..CD '< CD n o :1 ...

. Others have suggested that the significance of eye contact is learned and that. the power of eye contact in communica­ tion is clear and we shall give most of our attention here to considering the forms it takes. as you work through this book. Whatever the reasons. if you have a cassette recorder. you record your responses to the exercises in a notebook. eye contact. This power of the eyes is at its greatest. we shall discuss the kind of results you might have expected. . in that youngsters who could secure and retain eye contact. In this way. as they say). if you can find the time to carry out the simple exercises and experiments described.We begin improving our mastery of body language by looking at the eyes and at how they are used in the process of everyday face­ to-face communication.. though. Some have suggested our response to eye contact is instinctive and connected with basic survival patterns. You will find that this increases the benefit you derive from your study of body language. which follows each major exercise. the uses it can be put to. you may prefer to record them on tape. This is usually called mutual gaze or. After it. of course. we find other people's eyes of compelling interest and will even respond to sets of circles that look like eyes because it is through the eyes that we first have contact with others. We begin with the eyes because they are the most powerful means of communication we possess. as we shall call it here. as we grow up.. In this way. when two people are looking at each other (which usually means looking at each others' eyes). Some have suggested that. stood the best chance of being fed and of having their other needs satisfied. Here is an exercise in eye contact for you to try as soon as a suitable opportunity presents itself.. and how we can use it more effectively. 7 o . as you read through this book. Alternatively. we quickly learn not to misbehave if an adult is watching us or we learn that certain kinds of look tell us that people like us (or dislike us). you will have something to refer to when you read through the Exercise review. after words (although sometimes a single glance can speak volumes. you will learn better body language in the same way you would learn to improve any other language.. and therefore attention. First of all. We shall do this in each chapter so that you will have plenty of opportunities to put the instruction offered into practice. Why eye contact should be so powerful is not clear. You will find it helpful if. It will be helpful. Several writers on non-verbal communication (an alternative and more accurate term for body language) have speculated on the possible reasons. let u� begin our study of eye contact with an exercise. from the cradle.

little attention will be paid to staff members of the establishment and even confidential conversations will probably continue uninterrupted when staff are within earshot (the same usually happens in places like taxis and chauffeur-driven cars). 1 . they do not look at each other the whole time. but only jn a series of glances. Next time you are in a public place. it may signify that they are bored with the conversation. observe the other people present as discreetly as you can. Do they spend all their time looking at each other or do they look around at the other people present? Do they spend much time looking at objects in the room? How do they react when someone enters or leaves? What kinds of people look at each other the most (and least) when they are talking? How do the patterns of eye contact of people sitting side by side differ from those of people sitting opposite each other? What else do you notice about patterns of eye contact? If your discreet observations are noticed by others.. are newcomers to the place. but you will find it useful to consider the problem first yourself before you read them. it will be advisable to abandon them for a while... What is it about being watched that should be so disturbing? Some of the possible reasons will be suggested in the next section. Note how long each period of eye contact is (no need to time it . some time will be spent in looking at other people present.. others may become irritable and even aggressive.g. Exercise review So. The reason for this is that people can react in unpredictable ways to being watched. 2 In places like bars and restaurants. those who have been married a long time) that little conversation is necessary (or possible). like a bar or a restaurant. Note how they look at each other when they are talking.g. You might like to speculate on why this should be so. you will probably have noticed some of the following points: When people are talking. especially those who are attractive or who may be behaving oddly (e.. 3 Unless the above criteria apply. Some become embarrassed.8 Exercise: what are they looking at? o . what did you find out? If the observations you made were anything like typical (as indicated by the research studies on which this book is based). drunks and those engaged in disputes with a waiter). 4 When people pay more attention to objects in the room and even to the decoration. or are so familiar with each other (e.just note whether the mutual glances are short or long). some will consider you some sort of eccentric.

7 People sitting opposite each other will displ ay more eye contact than those sitting side by side. if the watcher continued watching. They may think the watcher is sexually attracted to them and may not find him or her attractive. Many people who are a little embarrassed about walking alone into a bar or a restaurant tend to forget that this initial curiosity is typical and that it will cease as soon as someone else enters. They may be being rather silly. which makes you self-conscious and therefore undermines your self-confidence. Eye grammar Now that we have completed our first exercise. the stronger this feeling may be (witness the popular proverb. Eye contact can be long lasting (as when two lovers gaze into each other's eyes) or it can be short (as when looking at someone we know does not like being stared at). They would find this difficult. It . and therefore embarrassing or irritating. which would make them want to avoid eye contact. Being watched makes you ask yourself why you are being watched. They may take the watching as a sign that the watcher wants to join their group and group members often do n ot welcome newcomers as this affects the structure of the group.5 Leaving or entering a room tends to attract attention. The smaller the group. three's a crowd'). 'Two's company. as people often are when with loved ones or friends. let us examine some of the forms eye contact can take and some of the rules that govern its use. Some of the possible reasons why people find it disturbing to be watched by someone else are: 1 2 9 3 4 5 6 The watcher may have the intention of harming them in some way. 6 Those who are having an intimate. S You will probably not have been conducting this exercise for many minutes before someone has noticed what you are doing or is at least aware that you are not behaving normally. The watched may feel they ought to recognize the watcher and if they cannot this may disturb the pattern of their interaction with others. This might be a blow to their images of themselves as intelligent and sophisticated people. personal conversation may look at each other more and for longer than those who are not. If those sitting side by side desire more eye contact they will turn to face each other. and may feel that the watching stranger will assume they are always like that.

or being shy. Staring is usually considered impolite. so rigid is the rule under all but the most exceptional circumstances. 2 Too little eye contact is interpreted as not paying attention. however. o . Too much eye contact can be very unsettling for most people.. let alone try it out. are: 1 Too much eye contact (as in staring or frequent glances at another person) is generally regarded as communicating superiority (or at least the sense of it). The main ones. It is almost never tolerated in adults and those who stare are often regarded as mentally deficient or socially dangerous and threatening in some way.10 can be direct (a bold. at the very least. Try looking at someone's genital region or down a girl's low-cut dress and you will soon realize that you have broken a rule. anywhere in the world (or almost anywhere).. showing dishonesty. 4 A person will look at another a lot when: • they are placed far apart • they are discussing impersonal or easy topics • they are interested in the other and their reactions . and a wish to insult. open stare are young children.that is to say they have similar applicability in any context. being insincere.. full-frontal gaze) or indirect. There are rules about where we can look at each other and for how long. Most of the rules of eye grammar (as is the case with all other forms of body language) are dependent on the context in which eye contact occurs. It can be intermittent (the kind we use in conversation simply to check that the other person has understood us) or continuous (as in a stare).. It is nearly always tolerated in children. A continuous stare is an easy way to unsettle or provoke someone.. according to Michael Argyle (see Further Reading at the back of the book) and other researchers. Many people will find it embarrassing just to read that last sentence. are universal. being impolite. lack of respect. The only people who seem to be able to use a frank. in whom it may even be regarded favourably as a sign of a healthy curiosity about the world. but some mothers (especially of middle-class backgrounds) may tell children of school age that it's rude to stare. Some. 3 Withdrawing eye contact by lowering the eyes is usually taken as a signal of submission. a threat or threatening attitude. at any time.

eye contact will be used together with facial expression to arrive at a decision). and whether a person recognizes us or not (here.. for instance. but there are others. Let us examine each of these categories a little more closely. whether the other person is paying attention to or understanding what we say.. tend to avoid eye contact). threatening and influencing others.. We establish eye contact when we are: 1 Seeking information. Uses of eye contact A number of the uses that we make of eye contact have already been mentioned. 2 Showing attention and interest. 5 Providing feedback during speech.they like or love the other person they are trying to dominate or influence the other • they are extrovert • they are dependent on the other and the other has been unresponsive. what a person's state of mind is (people who are depressed or introverted. most of the uses can be grouped into six categories.. . The kind of information we acquire through eye contact consists of such things as clues about whether or not someone is telling us the truth (liars tend to avoid eye contact unless they are very brazen). • • 11 1 2ID i ID 0 . 6 Revealing attitudes. whether someone likes us or not. People will communicate with each other more effectively if their interaction contains the amount of eye contact they both find appropriate to the situation. 4 Dominating. 5 A person will look at another very little when: • they are placed close together • they are discussing intimate or difficult topics • they are not interested in the other's reactions • they don't like the other person • the other person is of higher status • they are introverted • they are suffering from one of certain forms of mental illness.. 3 Inviting and controlling interaction. Broadly speaking.

Consider the problem of indicating to a stranger that you are sexually attracted to her (or him) if you are unable (or too shy) to look at her.. threaten. When we greet people we not only look at them but also move our eyebrows up and down quickly once. as it were. If this iQteraction takes place. it can have an adverse effect on the outcome. If we look at them for longer than a few seconds. they look to something else to the right or the left of the speaker. Speakers need to be reassured that others are listening and listeners need to feel that their attentiveness is appreciated and that speakers are talking to them rather than at them.. Feedback is important when people are speaking to each other. if they are asked spatial questions they will tend to break to the left and upwards.in sexual attraction. but eye contact also signals the end of an utterance when one speaker is. they know they have our attention. Both sets o . they will infer that they also have our interest. When we look at someone. intimidate or otherwise influence others.that is. Many people do not like to feel dominated or threatened so that. This 'eyebrow flash' as it is called occurs worldwide in a variety of cultures as an indication of recognition and greeting (see Chapter 2). unflickering looks are used by those who seek to dominate. There is some evidence to suggest that left breakers tend to be arts rather than science-trained and to be visualizers with strong imagination.. another pattern is seen. Right breakers tend to be science-trained and to have less visual imagination. if people are posed verbal questions they will tend to break gaze to the right and downwards.12 As soon as we look at someone. Not only is there more looking at the other when listening than when speaking. Individuals habitually break gaze to left or to right . eye contact is then used in a number of ways to control the nature and duration of the interaction. handing the floor over to the other. It plays a major role in synchronizing what happens between two people. when they look away. Eye contact plays a vital role in one aspect of showing attention and interest . We shall consider the part played by all aspects of body language in sexual attraction in Chapter 14. When eye contact is broken. Winking can also be used to control interaction to indicate that something is not to be taken seriously or to show a friendly attitude toward the other. Long. . we invite them to interact with us. if this kind of behaviour occurs in situations like negotiations or interviews.. Further. though this tendency is not as marked.

between intro­ verts and extroverts. their eyes appear to he frozen open. or otherwise.. embarrass­ ment and sorrow are usually characterized by the deliberate avoidance of eye contact. Patterns of eye contact change with certain kinds of mental illness and this may become a diagnostic tool in . as if not to miss the slightest movement that may bring danger nearer..the phrase 'eyeball to eyeball confrontation' conveys what is involved here. Shame. The effects of eye contact in interpersonal communication are explored in the exercises at the end of this chapter. When people are excited. 13 t g i 51 o . Eye movements when perceiving stationary objects. their eyes narrow. But it is interesting to note that experiments have shown that people. Other emotions.. or men and women) and there is the consequent need to note the context carefully before attempting too free an interpretation ·of the precise meaning of a particular pattern of eye contact. may be signalled by prolonged eye contact .. have typical eye behaviour. as we shall see in Chapter 1 1 . an extreme form of dominance. and this seems to happen almost universally.. their eyes tend to make rapid scanning movements. and those who are interested in exploring the subject of eye contact in more detail should read Gaze and Mutual Gaze by Michael Argyle and Mark Cook (Cambridge University Press). Aggression. especially children. often into little more than slits. Research into eye contact It is not part of the purpose here to discuss research methods. or when reading. follow similar patterns to those used in the perception of people. When people are angry. too.you can actually come to like someone more by engaging in more eye contact with them.of requirements can be met by the appropriate use of eye contact. of one person to provide another with opportunities for eye contact. for instance. When they are afraid. People who like each other engage in more eye contact than those who do not. There are cultural variations in eye contact. will respond even to very simple drawings of eyes in much the same way as they respond to eyes themselves. Attitudes are often revealed by the willingness. A good deal of evidence has accumulated to indicate that greater eye contact leads to greater liking . There are considerable individual differences in the amounts and types of eye contact employed (as. Sadness is expressed by looking downwards as well as by reducing eye contact.

therefore. and therefore cannot see each other. o . and a landscape. Pupil responses have also been used to measure attitudes towards various things. It seems. Women's eyes dilated to the male nude.. 1 ) . It is also possible to measure changes in attitude by measuring changes in pupil responses over time. that while we respond to pupil changes.14 the future. such as products advertised or political candidates: the more favourable the attitude.. a nude male. . a nude female.. The eyes are coming to be seen as much more than 'windows to the soul' and it will be useful at this point to consider some of the secrets of the eyes that we are only now beginning to learn. attraction and a number of different attitudes. One is that when we see something interesting our pupils dilate. Almost everyone asked thought the picture with the enlarged pupils was more attractive. but dilated most to the mother and baby. The other is that we like people with dilated pupils better than those with contracted pupils. we are not aware of their effect on our responses at the conscious level (see Figure 1 . eye movement patterns have many similarities with those in face-to-face communication. Hess also showed people two pictures of the face of an attractive girl. The pictures were identical. Because pupil changes are not within our conscious control they provide a very reliable indication of interest.. In his experiments he showed people a set of five pictures: a baby. What our pupils can teach us Two intriguing facts about eye behaviour have been discovered in recent years. Even when people are talking on the telephone. The first fact was the result of research carried out by Eckard Hess and reported in his book The Tell-Tale Eye (Van Nostrand Reinhold). He measured pupil responses to these pictures and found that men's pupils dilated most to the nude female (except for homosexuals. a mother and baby. His researches established that these pupil changes equated to people's interest in the various pictures. whose pupils dilated most to the male nude). the more dilated the pupils. research into eye contact and eye movement behaviour is revealing that the communicative uses of the eyes are many and varied. In these and other areas. but very few were able to say why. but in one the pupils had been retouched to make them appear larger..

Next. We can be particularly observant about any changes in pupil size. pay a little more attention to where other people are looking and for how long. figure 1.. Thirdly.. a direct. open gaze is preferable to any hint of avoidance of eye contact or tendency to look quickly from one thing to another (which may he interpreted by others as shiftiness on our part). we can become more observant. And we can remember that we can often tell things about others' real thoughts and feelings from how and where they look that they would never think (or dare) to put into words. We can. Secondly. we can remember that.. we can use all the information given above to increase our sensitivity to the kinds and amounts of eye contact appropriate in different contexts and avoid the extremes of staring or a total refusal to meet someone else's gaze. We can note the amounts of eye contact that the different individuals we meet seem to prefer. we can engage in more eye contact in order to promote greater liking of ourselves by others and to produce other positive responses.1 both fac e s are sm i l i n g.. on most occasions. without making it too obvious..15 i @@ n 0 :::I J "---J @:)@ S' !l V 0 . This can clearly be done only with people we are physically close to. . but to m ost people the on e on the l eft appears cold a n d i n si n c e re what do you thi nk? Making better use of your eyes How can we use the kind of information given in the last few pages to improve our use of this aspect of body language? Firstly.

Do they appear to take this as a signal that you want to carry on talking and . Persuade them to sit down with you and look into your eyes for about a minute. Then discuss what you both experienced during the experiment. Finally.. Do not select a stranger as staring can easily be interpreted as aggressive behaviour and may well provoke aggression in return..16 We can develop positive attitudes towards other people since this will. promote a more effective use of eye contact on our part.. in an encounter. prolong the encounter? You should find that they do.. we can use the information given in later chapters about other aspects of body language to enable us to integrate better use of eye contact into much more effective deployment of all our non-verbal and verbal communication skills. was it before your subject looked away? If you are able to try this experiment with a number of people you should not only be able to explore in more detail your own feelings about staring but shOuld also be able to collect quite a lot of useful information about the nature and effects of staring generally. this does seem. How long. Consider how you feel as you perform this experiment. .. What you should do now is to set some time aside over the next few days for practising the various uses of eye contact explored in the exercises which follow. Exercises and experiments 1 Look at me when I ' m tal king to you With a person you know well. Select someone you know well enough to conduct this experiment with but do not tell them about it in advance. Ask your subject how he or she felt during your staring. quite naturally. approximately. 3 Look into my eyes Select someone you know well and like very much. provide them with as much eye contact as you can without embarrassing them. o . We can develop a more outgoing approach to other people for the same reason. 2 Staring down Stare at someone until they look away. quite unconsciously and without any effort. If you like people and go out of your way to mix with them. to produce a better use of eye contact.

whether or not they like you.. How does their willingness (or otherwise) to engage in eye contact affect your estimate of how much they like or dislike you? Observe other couples and try to assess the nature of their relationship from the amount and type of eye contact they engage in.. as you chat casually (if the music allows).4 Does'she/he l i ke me? Select an attractive stranger at a party. Try to decide from their eyes alone. How easy or difficult is it to select just one aspect of body language for observation in this way? 17 o .. . night club or other place where it is socially acceptable for strangers to approach and talk to each other...

but they are certainly where some of the most powerful nonverbal signals originate. including smiling the smile is one of the few universals in body language.In this chapter you willieam: • • • about facial expressions. as is the 'eyebrow flash' of recognition and greeting our faces may not always be our fortunes. .

emotional stability and even insanity. if people show by their faces that they are doing their . Often the face is the first part of a person we look at and so expressions are used very much in greetings. of The Origin of Species and Voyage of the Beagle fame. which states: 'Be difficult if you must. ' The notice makes an essentially serious point. We shall also see that we make personality and other judgements about people on the basis of what we see in their faces. Put another way. as one researcher has termed it. In body language. Their attitudes towards us can be clearly seen. however. published the first serious scientific study. a small notice of the humorous kind that people working in offices and some places where the public are served often display. as present research indicates. Exercise: smile if it kills you 19 iii' () I g e: Most of us will have seen. criminality. One universal phenomenon we shall be considering in this chapter is the 'eyebrow flash'. at one time or another. They failed. We shall see that facial expressions are very powerful in controlling the type and amount of communication which takes place between individuals. We gain a good deal of our information about people's emotional states from the expressions on their faces. fear or anger. facial expressions can take us an important stage further in our quest for mastery of body language. Charles Darwin. of course. in 1 8 72.The study of facial expression has a long history. interest or boredom. People with attractive faces are often credited with having a number of other attributes . according to whether their expressions show pleasure or displeasure. but smile if it kills you. It is that you can tolerate a lot of awkwardness in someone if they show by their face that they genuinely do not wish to be awkward without good cause. Several people tried to prove that facial appearance was a reliable indicator of a variety of human traits such as intelligence. But physiognomy had exerted many pseudo-scientific minds before that.which they may or may not possess. the expressiveness of the face is second only to that of the eyes. What can be done. Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. It simply is not possible to use the face as a reliable predictor of very much at all. Combined with the more effective use of the eyes. the face in movement rather than as a static object) as a means of gaining a better understanding of what others are communi­ cating. is to use facial expressions (that is.

You do not have to maintain an inane grin on your face. You will in all probability have noticed some at least of the following points: Most people will have returned your greeting smile. will have been surprised . colleagues and subordinates? Or those of fellow workers in the organization and those of customers or clients? Note your own reactions. then. The exercise for this chapter.by your new approach. It is sufficient for this exercise that you at least meet people with a smile.20 iii' () i best to be pleasant to others. does there appear to be any change taking place in the relationship between you? Is there any difference in the responses of men and those of women? Or in those of the young and those of the old? Or those of superiors. especially those with whom you have a relationship of mutual dislike. they will be allowed greater extremes of difficult and disruptive behaviour than those who are unpleasant in both action and manner. why? Did you find your attitudes to people changing at all? Did you find yourself spending longer with people you dislike? Did you find yourself disliking them any less? How do you feel when others smile at you? Try to keep a written or taped record of as many of the reactions as you can. Note the reactions of others to your action.but perhaps not unpleasantly . is that you should attempt to practise the message in the notice. Some. however. Exercise review I ::::I 0· Let us now consider how the exercise has gone. Did you find the exercise easy or difficult? Did you feel at all silly in carrying it out? If so. will have reacted with suspicion and will have thought to themselves 'What's he [or she] up to? ' 2 1 . as if genuinely pleased to see them. if indeed it has gone at all typically. 00 they return the smile? Does the encounter appear to proceed better or worse than it would normally do? Does anyone appear to be surprised? Or suspicious? Does the encounter last longer or is it shorter than it would otherwise be? Of the people you meet several times during the week. Most encounters will then have proceeded more smoothly than they would normally have done. For the next week at least greet everyone you encounter in the course of your work with a pleasant smile. 3 Some people.

for instance. The range of expressions When you consider how many muscles there are i n the human face. how about your own reactions? Some points you may have noted are: 1 2 3 4 5 After some initial awkwardness. Subordinates and colleagues will have generally responded better than superiors. your relationships with them have improved in some way. perhaps you were not following the instructions closely enough. Customers and clients will probably have responded much more readily than fellow workers. You should have found your attitudes to others improving and becoming more positive.consider. People tend to allow a pleasurable activity to be prolonged and will try to shorten an unpleasant one. the great variety of smiles possible between the Mona Lisa's partial . you should have found the exercise quite easy to carry out. You may well have found that. If you did. though even here your more positive approach will not have gone unnoticed and may well pay off later. There are many subtleties in changes of expression which can be shown . the reverse will probably be true. Young people will have tended to respond more readily than older people. It is in such ' public contact' (as it is often called) that positive actions such as smiling are particularly important. 21 Now. Maybe you were inclined to grin or to keep the smile on your face a little too long. where you have met certain people several times during the week.4 5 6 7 S 9 Encounters will probably have tended to last rather longer than they would otherwise have done. Women tended to respond quicker and more favourably than men. You may well have found yourself spending more time with people you dislike and you might even have found yourself disliking them just a little less. surely? Well. You must like it when others smile at you. If you are a woman. remember that they will feel just as pleased when you smile at them. it is not surprising that the range of facial expressions we can produce is very wide. for fairly obvious reasons. You should not have felt silly during the exercise. if you are a man.

In this case. Two American researchers. a downward look and a general sagging of the features. can be categorized as: slight smiles. but in open smiles the teeth can be showing. Sadness. Disgust and contempt are shown by a narrowing of the eyes and a grimacing mouth. as if ready to spring into immediate offensive action or attack.and even a purplish colour . Smiles are normally used as a greeting gesture and generally to indicate varying degrees of pleasure. sad. though in some contexts they can show aggression. Paul Eckman and Wallace Friesen. Some people go pale when angry. have discovered that there are six principal facial expressions which are used to show when people are happy. though wide-ranging. has no such single expression to typify it. sadness. facial expressions are most commonly used to express a degree of emotion and there are a limited number of these most of us can in practice recognize with any reliability. normal smiles (of the kind we hope you were using in the last exercise) and broad smiles. angry.in extreme anger or fury. sarcasm and other negative feelings. The whole body posture will be tense. In a smile. which becomes more pronounced with increasing strength of feeling. Smiles. disgusted. the mouth is usually closed. Extremes of sadness will be characterized by the appearance of tears. The nose will also probably be wrinkled up and the head turned aside to avoid having to look at the cause of the reaction. afraid and interested (though the last is not really an emotion) . They have found that these are about the only emotions most of us are likely to agree about when we see others expressing them.22 smile and an open grin. A broad smile with the teeth showing will usually be called a grin and grins can be classified as closed (with the teeth together) and open (with the teeth parted) . we might usefully look a little more closely at each of the six. trembling of the lips and attempts to shield the face from view. frowning or scowling and a gritting of the teeth together. . but others go red . amusement and happiness. disappointment and depression are usually revealed by lack of expression and by such things as turning down of the corners of the mouth. in communication. The converse emotional area. However. Anger is most commonly characterized by steady gaze at the source of offence.

(d) anger. the chin may be propped by the fingers if they are listening attentively. Interest is often indicated by what is called the 'head cock' holding the head at an angle to the subject of interest. (b) sadness. 23 figure 2.1 can you c or r e c tly i de n ti fy each of the e m oti ons i l l ustrated a bove? (a) happiness. When people are seated. It may be shown in wide open eyes. (f) i n te rest . There may even be signs of perspiration and a paleness of colouring. (e) fear. (c) disgust/conte m pt. Interest may also be shown by eyes that are wider open than normal and a slightly open mouth (especially common in children who have their interest taken by something).Fear has no single expression to betray its presence. an open mouth or by a general trembling which affects the face as much as the rest of the body.

Features that are commonly stated as contributing to attractiveness are well cut and styled hair. and it seems to show the person we are about to talk to that we are pleased to see them.and yet we are more ohen right in these judgements . Faces and first impressions It is said that the most critical period in an encounter between two people is the first five minutes (one writer has even suggested it is as little as four minutes). with an accompanying smile. This consists of a rapid up and down movement of the eyebrows. But in these first few minutes we do more than simply decide whether or not we like someone. People shown photographs of a number of other people will usually agree on which are the handsome men and the beautiful women. A good deal of evidence has been accumulated about what are generally regarded as attractive facial features. suitability as a friend or lover. a high forehead. it seems to operate as a gesture of recognition.These are just some of the many facial expressions to be watched for and noted in building up mastery of this aspect of body language (see Figure 2 . whether we find them attractive or unattractive. We tend to note the occasions on which our first impressions of people were mistaken and had later to be revised because there are so few of them. clear eyes. working abilities. temperament. intelligence. personality. personal habits. a smooth complexion. All of this is done on the basis of very little information about the other . It is widely used in both advanced and primitive societies. A gesture which appears almost universally at the beginning of the greeting phase (especially when meeting people we know well) is the eyebrow flash. even teeth and a general symmetry of features (although research has shown that no-one's features are perfectly symmetrical). In the case of people we know. and so on. We make judgements about their character. Since the face is one of the first features we notice about a person it can clearly play a vital role in the process of establishing relationships with others. which will tend to be interpreted not objectively but in the light of these first impressions. When we first meet someone and look at their face. The impressions formed in this time will tend to persist and even be reinforced by later behaviour. probably the first judgement we make is whether we like them or not. 1 ) .

words are totally useless but a friendly grin gets the message over.no matter how subtle. a frown warns them off. and we should not mislead ourselves 2 . but their frosty faces betray their mutual animosity. As we saw earlier. not only to the expression of any emotion but also to the expression of any degree of emotion . Alternatively. We shut our eyes and the lecturer at the front of the class knows we have switched off. the face undoubtedly has a contribution to make. This is a point which will apply to the degree that many other parts of the body contribute to our use of body language. Chances are there won't be many (see also Chapter 1 3 ) . We can say quite a lot with our faces. Ask yourself how often you recall changing your first impression of someone and compare this with the total of all the people you have met. and so on. a raised eyebrow and a twist to the mouth shows we are in playful mood.and others rely on it for indications . be used to reinforce the impact of verbal messages. to indicate how attentive we are to others.than we are wrong.to show how rewarding we are as individuals. A downcast look tells them we're not feeling too happy. In a noisy factory. In a couple of months' time review the record and decide in how many cases you had to change these first impressions. We can use facial expressions to communicate when words are inappropriate. A mother scolds a child and her face tells her offspring that she really is displeased this time. It is clear from what has been said so far that the face's main role in our use of body language lies in the expression of emotions. over the next week keep a record of all those you meet for the first time. two totally opposed individuals make polite conversation. Nevertheless. there is a limited number of emotions that can be reliably recognized by observers of the face. 25 Tal king with your face Next to the eyes the face is the most powerful means by which we communicate non-verbally. Facial expressions can. A head cocked on one side shows we are listening. however. A smile tells people we are pleased to see them. to express our emotional state of the moment. At an official gathering. We use it . Someone says something out of place and we try to show in our faces that they have committed a faux pas. A group of shop stewards tell the management their reaction to the latest pay offer and the set of their jaws tells the management to go away and come up with something better.

The more we are aware of such pitfalls in the unspoken language of the body. Another aspect which deserves consideration is how far artefacts contribute to non-verbal messages. Face facts Research into facial expressions has not only explored their role in expressing emotions. the better we shall be able to use it. Spectacles often lead to individuals being credited with greater intelligence than they actually possess. though those who have had a child already usually show fewer signs. Facial expressions can be affected by a person's state of health. as is sadness. For instance. Most messages are context­ dependent when it comes to fully understanding them. ear-rings and the use of make­ up.into thinking that many messages are simply and clearly conveyed by one part of the body alone. Ear-rings. People who have ulcers frown more than those who haven't. Such artefacts can include moustaches. Depressed patients have been found to smile more widely after having electro-convulsive therapy than before it. Fear is usually looked for in the eyes. though some boys currently wear them as a defiant gesture of emerging masculinity. It has been found that before a woman undergoes childbirth her face shows more signs of anxiety and stress. Different parts of the face are attended to when observers are perceiving different emotions. which may be a reason for their popularity with young men. beards. and the degree of expressiveness when communicating. moustaches will often be taken to indicate greater age than a clean-shaven upper lip. sexual attraction and attractiveness. Happiness is seen in the cheeks and the mouth . attitudes towards others. it has also examined their role in revealing personality. the desire to communicate or initiate interaction. may be interpreted as a sign of effeminacy. A girl who wears heavy make-up risks (often unfounded) conclusions concerning her moral standards. From this we can see that we do not always send the non-verbal messages we intend to send. if worn by men. Beards may be taken as a sign of an independent mind which resists pressures to conform. It has also produced some other rather interesting findings. Since such things change our appearance we need to take into account their effects upon how others will perceive us. spectacles.

which has some interesting possibilities that we shall be studying in the next section of this chapter. A number of photographs of innocent people were shown and subjects were asked to allocate such crimes as armed robbery and rape to the appropriate faces. Women tend to laugh and smile more than men. in counselling work. The expression on the face. Apparently. for example. Nurses' ability to deceive by the expression on their faces correlated with their subsequent effectiveness in their work. eyes and mouth movements. and often indicate a person's true feelings. One psychologist has found that people judge things such as criminality from the face. no one has yet followed up this research by investigating the practical applications. as j udged by superiors. but more often because they find the situation slightly uncomfortable than out of greater sociability. this finding is perhaps not surprising but it does suggest that people. Differences have been observed in the ways men and women use facial expressions when communicating. Research like this offers many possibilities of using body language to discover what others are really thinking and feeling. Such expressions are too fleeting for most people to perceive them. who spend their working lives dealing with other people should receive training in the use of body language. is constantly changing. Some studies have also suggested that when individuals copied smiles they felt happier. These last for a fraction of a second. A number of studies have been made of individuals' abilities to copy the facial expressions of others. A 27 . as their name implies. Most were able to copy better with the aid of a mirror but very anxious individuals tended to do better without a mirror. Surprise is seen in the forehead. For example.as well as in the eyes. Anger is perceived from the appearance of the whole face and not just from the brows and the colour of the face as many people suppose. but they can be captured by the camera. make more speech errors and smile more when attempting to deceive others than when being completely open and honest. when people are communicating. a person may be saying that he is pleased to see someone and may be smiling but may reveal his true attitude with a micromomentary expression of disgust. People tend to talk less. Amongst the changes new research techniques have enabled us to identify are micromomentary facial expressions. like nurses. Since nurses often have to conceal from ill patients j ust how ill they are.

significant number of people. Within a short time. We shall be concerned here with the positive uses to which smiles can be put. police identification parades but also about the signals we may unwittingly be sending to others about our own attitudes. Each time the smile disappears. you should notice a distinct improvement in how you feel. amusement and even ridicule. whether through illness or depression. Smiling may be used to make a tense situation more comfortable. not only about. the smile is the one most worth encouraging in ourselves. you 'll feel better Because the smile is probably the most universally used and the most positive facial expression. are trained to use smiles to reassure clients and passengers. say. personality and behaviour. Smiles can also be used to mask other emotions. Those who work jn occupations that bring them into contact with the public. it will be useful if we examine it in a little more detail here. they report that the pictures please them and even make them feel elated. they report experiencing feelings of annoyance and even anger. such as receptionists or aircraft cabin crew. Force a smile on to your face and keep it there for as long as possible. Even children who have been blind from birth smile when they are pleased. Smiles are rarely used deliberately. Smile. Research like this perhaps provides some scientific support for the popular saying 'Laugh and the world laughs with you'. Smiles are used all over the world to indicate or reflect pleasure or happiness. picked out one unfortunate innocent as a rapist. An athlete who loses to a particularly disliked opponent will still try to smile bravely to hide his disappointment. but very often it will and is certainly at least worth a try. for instance. A smile may also be a submissive response to ward off another's attack. . The best time to test the power of the smile is when you least feel like smiling. wait a few minutes and then try again. Of all the facial expressions that we use. Smiles are also used to show reassurance. This technique will not always work. but they can be. A smile will tend to call forth a smile from the other person and thus ease away the tension. Research like this tends to make one uneasy. Experiments have shown that if individuals are asked to smile and are then shown pictures of various events. If individuals are asked to frown during the same kind of experiment.

the bold can try it on anyone they meet. It's as if they want to all the time but are just a little afraid to take the initiative.one for the timid and one for the bold. pucker the lips into a tight round '0'. c Starting from the face at rest. grin broadly. preferably lifting the eyebrows at the same time. raise your eyebrows and alternately grin and pucker. world I There are two versions of this experiment . What's the difference? The bold will find the greatest difference. If you have to move your face at all. stop it. The following morning smile warmly in greeting at everyone you meet. place your palm across your forehead. It's surprising how many strangers will smile if you smile first. do not smile when greeting people you meet in the street.Exercises and experiments 1 Good morning. Count how many smile. 4 Show your feelings I n front of a mirror. b Starting from the face at rest. try raising your eyebrows so that your forehead creases horizontally rather than vertically. lift the chin as high as it will go. If you find you are frowning. The timid should select people they know. 29 2 Face exercises To develop muscle tone (get rid of flabbiness and a sagging face). Count how many return your smile. You will find that one result of this exercise is to make you less prone to headaches. . try each of these exercises for one minute every day: Starting from the face at rest. a Do these exercises in front of a mirror if you can. 3 Stop frowning Whenever you have any concentrating to do. practise each of the following emotions in sequence: a b c d e f happiness sadness surprise disgust fear anger. When you go out tomorrow moming.

see if they can identify each emotion from your expression. with points given for accuracy in recognition.30 If you can secure the cooperation of someone else. Vary the sequence to make the task a little more difficult for them. one of which should be a well known attractive film or TV star. It will also tell you how good your partner is at recognizing emotions. Do you find others' ratings agree with your own? Do they tend to agree on the most attractive face amongst the six? The exercise should provide some fascinating insights into people's perceptions of others. Can they be classified into types? Do similar ones keep cropping up? Or is every one unique? . 6 How many faces? Study the faces of those you meet. You can reverse roles once your partner has fully grasped the nature of the exercise and you may even be able to involve others. 5 Is your face your fortune? Collect six photographs of people's faces. It can make a useful little party game. This exercise will tell you how well you express your feelings. Show them to as large a number of people as possible and ask them to rate the attractiveness of each face on a scale of 1 to 1 0.

.. tn 3 CD :::T 3 In this chapter you will learn: • head movements and nods are considered head • their role in social interaction is explained and the i mportance of head nods when listening to others is explained.. CD � . .O < 0) CD C.

capable of much greater versatility and subtlety in expression than might be supposed and there are many individual movements whose significance and usefulness to us we shall explore. in social acknowledgements. We will need to remember not to try to interpret head movements in isolation. We shall make a particular study of this. then. Head movements are important not only in talking but also in listening for. and to indicate our attitude towards an encounter and how we see our role within it. Not so. . if they are used properly they can help us to communicate more easily and if they are misused they can quickly affect adversely a relationship with another person. Over most of the world it signifies agreement. in addition to the movement of their mouths and changes in facial expression as they talk. as gestural 'echoes' (we shall look at this phenomenon in more detail in the next chapter ) . and vice versa. the presence or absence of head movement can be a crucial factor in interpreting the significance of a wink. it is a head movement. as we shall see. i CD 3 3 i If you watch two people talking. since the head usually moves slightly to one side when winking. A nod must not be used when a shake would be more appropriate. These movements are no more random than the eye movements and facial expressions we have already examined. This may seem to be simply an eye move­ ment. In this chapter we shall consider some of the ways in which we can use our heads to help us speak body language more effectively. A good example is the wink. They are. Head movements can be used as speech markers. In fact. The focus of our attention in this chapter is on how the head moves . affirmation or approval and can therefore be very useful when verbal language differences make communication difficult. their heads move in what may appear to be quite random ways. There are times when the head should be bowed and times it should be held erect. We shall find that there are many more ways in which we can use our heads than we ever thought possible. The most obvious and perhaps most frequently used head movement is the nod.but this does not mean forgetting all about the effects other elements of body language can have.32 I a. you will notice that. Only when one is winking surreptitiously will there be no head movement. but it is also a facial expression and.

nod your head encouragingly. nod for half the conversa­ tion and then stop. As they talk. preferably with the same people. Select a conversation with someone you know well. What kinds of things do you notice about nodding behaviour? Do people nod most when talking or listening? Why do you think this is? Are there any other things you notice about the ways people use nods in face-to-face communication? Exercise review Now let us look at what you might have discovered. except that you may have noticed that the stranger stopped talking quicker when head nods are absent than someone you know well. Do they seem to do more of the talking or less? After each conversation. In the first part of the exercise. Do they seem to do more of the talking or less? On another occasion. When you were nodding for half the conversation and not for the other half. Now. Refusing to nod should have resulted in the other person drying up and ending the conversation very quickly. Did you find it easy or difficult to do? Which parts were the easiest and which the most difficult? Consider how other people use nods when they are talking to you . The comments offered here will also be relevant when we return to the subject of head nods later in this chapter. with the same person. Repeat the exercise with a stranger and record your impressions in the same way. You should have had the same experiences when conversing with a stranger. preferably with the sound turned off. it will be useful for us to base the main chapter exercise on it. you should have seen similar responses. Observe interviewers o n television. . What happens? Note down your own feelings about the exercise. nodding your head should have encouraged the other person to speak more and for longer. The other person will have conversed much more freely and easily when you were nodding than when you were not. as they talk do not nod your head at all. record your impressions in your notebook or on tape. The first half of the conversation will almost certainly have gone much better than the second half.Exercise: on the nod 33 Because the head nod is such a common movement.

to replace speech and to support what is said. A lowered head indicates submissiveness or humility or even depression (if accompanied by such factors as slow and infrequent low-voiced speech. you may even have found it impossible not to nod at times. They can even contradict what is said and if this happens. a general sagging in posture and an avoidance of eye contact) . Television interviewers. In fact. The kind of context in which this type of behaviour is most readily observed is the public speech. They can be used to indicate attitudes. take the role of head movements in expressing. Slight head nods. too. sweeps to one side and chin thrusts act as stresses. The head can be used to point in those situations in which finger pointing would be considered inappropriate or even rude. for instance. nod when they are l istening to interviewees' answers precisely because it encourages them to open up and talk more fully about the subject.34 As far as your own feelings are concerned. a person's attitudes. as we shall see later. When the head is held high and possibly tilted slightly backward. as in other forms of body talk. where it is necessary to have rather more dramatic emphasis than in everyday conversation. The head is moved to indicate the direction in which one wants someone to look or move. whether consciously or unconsciously.face) . what the head movements say will be beljeved in preference to the words uttered. when speaking. . Talking heads As with other aspects of body language. this is often interpreted as being prompted by a haughty and even aggressive attitude (if accompanied by such things as a fixed stare. is a major way of showing that we are attending to what another person is saying. It is also often used by the chairs of meetings to indicate who is the next person to have his or her permission to speak. head movements can be used for a variety of purposes. Nodding. In observing other people's nodding behaviour. for example. you should have noticed that most people nod much more when they are l istening than when they are talking. you will almost certainly have felt more comfortable and at ease when you were allowed to nod. a curl to the lips and an unusually red or occasionally white . Let us. to place emphasis on certain words and phrases. Head movements have a n interesting use a s speech markers. This applies to gestures.

see if you can. Another behaviour is the 'head cock'. it appears. must not only be done but must be seen to be done. Nevertheless. The tete-a-tete (or head-to-head talk) can even become literally true in the case of lovers whispering quietly to each other. It is also quite common. like many other things. If you do this. When we are listening to others we tend unconsciously to copy their head movements. If they are indeed listening. But there are other behaviours that are important to efficient listening. 1 ) . Why this should be so is not clear because it is obviously quite possible to be listening intently even if your eyes are closed and you are facing in the opposite direction. when listening in a reasonably intimate setting. listening.It is interesting to watch people's heads as they are speaking (television without the sound is a good medium to use) in order to observe the small but rhythmic movements made by the head in accompaniment to speech. It is normally marked by a slight downward movement. It is used very much by animals. It is almost as if we wish to demonstrate a commonality of interest by a commonality of behaviour. holding the head at a tilted angle to the person being listened to (Figure 3 . 8 . 35 Listening heads We have already encountered the use of the head nod in listening behaviour (in the exercise at the beginning of this chapter) and. for instance. because it is of such key importance to our mastery of body language. with a slight pause before the head moves again. who even use it when speaking to another person whose attention they are seeking to secure .almost as if they were showing the other person how he or she ought to be behaving if they were to exhibit the desired degree of attention. we expect that they will at least be looking at us. especially dogs. we shall return to it at the end. Physical closeness is used as an indication of intellectual and emotional closeness. It is always difficult to accept that someone is listening to us if they are looking away from us. to bring the head closer to the person being listened to. and also by children. One of these is the direction in which the head is pointing. match the head movement to the end of a sentence.

however.36 I ( 3 figure 3. It depends on how you look at it The orientation of your head when looking at people can have a marked effect upon their interpretation of your behaviour. with both the speaker and what he or she is saying. This is widely interpreted by speakers as a sign of intelligent interest. people will expect the focus of your attention to be where you are looking. and if the direction of gaze is too obviously at variance with the direction of the head or if sideways glances are too long or too frequent they will be spotted. for if the chin is propped in the palm (and especially if the eyelids begin to droop) it may be taken as an indication of boredom. is by no means purely passive. One of the reasons that makes it possible for you to look at someone 'out of the corner of your eye' is that. however. then. the head is often propped by the thumb and the first two fingers of the hand. as indicated above.or that they are not. An active use of the kind of behaviour outlined above can help to show speakers that they are receiving your full and undivided attention . Efficient listening. . Care must be taken. This is not infallible.1 two version s of the head cock When listening in a seated position.

Men tilt their heads forward in a greeting nod more than women. Women use the head cock more than men and are often shown in advertisements and magazine pictures with tilted heads. can use the head in small sharp downwards movements to add emphasis to particular words and phrases. . In this section we will review what we have learned about head movements and highlight those that we can make practical use of in the future. using head movements to indicate a lack of seriousness in one's attitudes may well be. head movements are useful as a means of social acknowledgement. in the often horrifying tactic of the teenage hooligan in the form of a headbutt. it can even be used as a weapon. such differences between the sexes will become less marked. It may be that such differences in behaviour are non-verbal markers in social interaction of differences in gender. Men tend to use a nod to signify that they have seen and recognized someone. It may be used in greetings. accompanied by the 'eyebrow flash' discussed in Chapter 2. as in many other aspects of the use of body language. it poses a threat to an opponent and. The head can be used aggressively. It can also be used as an appealing gesture. as women become increasingly liberated. Less aggressive people. but it may be more effective socially to follow the convention of the company in which you find yourself. Thrust forward from the shoulders. Women are more frequently observed with the head lowered in a submissive gesture than are men. women tend to use a head tilt. like politicians making forceful speeches. There are sex differences in the use of head movements. It may also be that. in order to achieve an extra degree of friendliness in the greeting. First of all. you can use your head for many more things than just keeping your ears apart.Although indirect observation is frequently not a socially acceptable activity. particularly by young attractive girls when talking to young men in a flirtatious or playful manner. There is no reason why these behaviours should continue unchanged in the future. 37 ( I 3 How to use your head As we have seen. Tilting the head to one side (in a similar manner to the head cock described above) can be used to indicate that what one is saying is not intended to be taken seriously.

unless you want to appear humble or submissive. Broadly speaking. it may be tossed or shaken. use of the head nod is in showing continued attention. to hold your head reasonably erect. therefore. Winking. It can show that a statement is not meant to be taken seriously. the degree of up and down movement) declines through these categories. the head is sometimes swayed or rocked from side to side. 'This is a secret between the two of us'. It can simply be used as a gesture of friendly social acknowledgement. and yet in many ways the most effective. As with other body movements. It often occurs when a man catches sight of. an attractive woman. approval. the strength of the nod (that is. A gesture more commonly used by men is the head swivel. the greater the degree of movement has to be in order to be accurately perceived. as if weighing a request or a proposition in the balance. in much the same way that a defiant horse tosses its head. This gesture is probably more frequently used by women than men. the further away the speaker is. . acceptance. whilst the slightest nods can provide a speaker with feedback on how well he is being understood. The least obvious. To express doubt or reluctance. which takes the form of turning the head to look at the object or person newly observed. continuing attention and understanding according to the context in which it is used. is a useful gesture. Nod if you want me to continue The head nod signifies agreement. The largest nods usually indicate agreement. Head movements can express attitudes and it may be better. It can be humorously conspiratorial. depending on the urgency of the 'come here' request. To express disdain or haughtiness. This will also tend to encourage good posture. This beckoning movement takes the form of a diagonal throwing back of the head and may be repeated several times. or.38 Head movements can be used to beckon someone in circum­ stances where a shout or even a wave would be inappropriate. however. or has his attention drawn to the presence of. accompanied by a short. sharp downward tilt of the head to one side. saying 'You and I are in this together'. As you probably found in the exercises at the beginning of this chapter.

A number of research studies have quantified this and have shown that the amount of speech that can be generated in this way can be three or four times greater than normal. In this it is comparable to the techniques of using eye contact discussed in Chapter 1 and is commonly used by a listener in combination with an increased amount of eye contact. Watch young children who have not yet learned to speak fluently. almost certainly because of their lack of verbal skill.nodding fairly frequently (but not continuously) when someone · is speaking encourages them to speak for longer and to say more. apart from experiencing a vague feeling that the listener was not really attending. lose much of its effect. Too much repetition removes the impact of any emphasizing technique. Training courses in the use of body language should make a particular point of showing these various uses of the head nod. Otherwise it can. like any other technique of giving emphasis to statements. Nodding is also important. Refusal by a listener to nod can cause a speaker to dry up completely without knowing why. if you can. it may well be useful for women to practise using head nods rather more. They seem to make more use of body language. Don't make them too obvious or exaggerated or the result will simply look silly. it needs to be used with some degree of discrimination. It is a finding which is of important practical value to the process of making interviews and discussions more productive and effective. It is a technique which has an importance quite out of proportion to its apparent significance. Here. However. . even if he or she was looking at the speaker most of the time. As men tend to use head nods more than women. in enabling a speaker. to emphasize particular words and phrases. In your encounters with others try using head cocks a little more to show interest. You should find people begin to speak to you more. as we have seen. there is some evidence to suggest that women are thought to be better listeners than men and this may mean that it is only when speaking that women need to use more head nods. especially a public speaker. 39 ( 3 � 3 I a Exercises and experiments 1 Head cock Look for instances where other people use head cocks.

or a group telling dirty stories (note how the latter move apart when laughing at the punch line). make a list of all the messages that head movements alone can convey to others. 4 What can your head say? Using the information given in this chapter and any other sources you can find. businessmen. and down seem to have a pattern to them. Note how the slight movements up.40 2 Tete-a-tete Look for examples of people talking with their heads touching or very close together. Is it only lovers who converse in this way? You should find that those who want to prevent others overhearing them keep their heads closer together . Note also how the end of a sentence seems to be matched not only with a pause but also with a downward movement of the head. to the right. to the left. it must be the head alone.for example. But remember. . 3 Head dance Watch a TV discussion programme without the sound and concentrate on the participants' head movements.

In this chapter you will learn: • gestures and body movements provide the focal point there certain are indications in that • gestures certain cultures have quite specific and fixed meanings • a number of gesture languages do exist. . such as those used by the deaf.

rubbing the palms together in anticipation. have certain limitations. defensiveness. They show that these gestures are used even in situations in which the other person cannot be seen. but their categories are: • • • • • emblems (movements that are substitutes for words) illustrators (movements that accompany speech) regulators (movements that maintain or signal a change in a person's listening or speaking role) adaptors (movements such as scratching one's head. openness. It is the use of gestures to convey meaning that most people think of when they talk about body language and in this chapter we shall consider the variety of messages for which gestures can be the vehicles. as when making a telephone call or using a tape recorder. as facial expressions do). readiness. Gerard Nierenberg and Henry Calero suggest that gestures are used in expressing. Michael Argyle has suggested that there are five different functions that gestures can serve: • • • • • illustrations and other speech-linked signals conventional signs and sign languages movements that express emotions movements that express personality movements that are used in various religious and other rituals. rubbing one's hands or fiddling with objects. Several writers have attempted to classify gestures into categories. Gestures permit a degree of expressiveness and subtlety that is not possible with other aspects of non-verbal communication. reassurance. patting someone on the back to encourage them. acceptance. However they are classified. facial expression and head movements. gestures can be used to express a range of attitudes. which tend to cast light upon a person's emotional state) affect displays (movements that more directly reveal emotions. confidence. Examples are shaking the fist to show anger. yawning out of boredom. though of vital importance. nervousness. Michael Argyle quotes a number of conventional gestures that seem to have almost universal meanings. emotions and other messages. Eye contact. Paul Eckman and Wallace Friesen have also suggested that there are five groupings. expectancy. frustration. relationships and suspicion. .42 It is in the use of gestures that our mastery of body language can achieve real eloquence. and rubbing the stomach to indicate hunger. raising one's hand to gain attention. clapping as a sign of approval. amongst many other things.

gestures used in such contexts to attract attention. or because there is some other barrier to spoken communication. a TV studio. TV show. to tell someone there is a telephone call for them . and note down. let us attempt an exercise which will put us in the right frame of mind for what is to come. a restaurant. to greet and bid goodbye. But first.It is this richness of silent communication that we shall now begin to explore. after all. you can play charades or a version of the game in which two teams try to guess the title of a film. because they are too far apart to hear each other. a hospital. radio programme or book and get pOints for succeeding within a time limit of. as in other chapters. to keep quiet. two minutes. and to convey any other messages that gestures can be used for. a building site. This can be not only a good exercise in using gestures but also great fun . because silence is necessary. What kinds of situations or titles are easiest to guess from gestures alone? What kinds of people are best at communicating through gestures? Why do some people seem to be incapable of getting a message over through gestures? What are the secrets of successful charades playing? How do you identify the key elements in situations or titles for communication through gestures and body movements? . because it is too noisy. a library or an examination hall. Look for. Examples might include a noisy factory. What similarities and differences do you notice? What examples of special codes do you come across? How successful do gestures seem to be as a means of communication? What are their advantages? What are their limitations? How useful are gestures when communicating with someone who does not speak your language? What kinds of needs or requests can most easily be conveyed by gestures? Which are the most difficult to express? Which are impossible to express? How well do words translate into gestures? How well can gestures express emotions? How well can they express or request detailed information? As a further alternative. to beckon. to direct. Exercise: everyday mime 43 Find a situation that you can observe where people cannot communicate with each other by using words. to indicate passage of time.there is. if you can secure the cooperation of a group of people (for instance. say. if you are a member of a class which is using this book). no reason at all why learning should not be enjoyable.

Generally speaking. Gestures are probably most useful in expressing attitudes and emotions. You may have noticed differences between men and women. with indoor gestures being more controlled and subtle. you probably found that situations or titles which contain reference to action or movement were easier to communicate by gesture than those . certain things cannot be communicated by gesture alone (try explaining your name and address by gestures alone). to warn someone of impending danger). they can act as a kind of convenient shorthand and they can add an interesting degree of expressiveness to everyday social interaction. Some messages may be so long and involved as to defy communicatio n by gesture at all. You may have concluded that gestures are useful but that their usefulness has certain limitations.44 Exercise review Where you noticed similar gestures being used in widely different contexts. You should have noticed that gestures become more deliberate and even exaggerated with increasing distance between those involved. and in certain contexts they can simply be unsuitable (for example. This is especially noticeable in places like TV studios. where silence on the part of non-participant studio floor staff is essential. If you played charades or the title-guessing game. If you have been able to observe people of different languages trying to converse. nouns and verbs translate more easily into gestures than adjectives. adults and children (a fascinating area for gesture study is of very young children at playgroups) or people in different social classes in the gestures they use. Simple. as do gestures used at work and those used in leisure contexts. basic needs with which everyone is familiar (like hunger and thirst) are easier to communicate than complex or sophisticated ones (such as the location of the best night club or a particular brand of product which is not on display). you will almost certainly have noticed that they rely heavily on gestures. The advantages of gestures are that they assist communication where people cannot speak to each other easily. Their restrictions are that the amount of information they can convey is limited . You might have noticed a difference in the gestures used indoors and those used outdoors. You will probably have found that people at work seem to have their own codes for the meanings of gestures. adverbs and other words. you have probably witnessed 'universal' gestures or conventional gestures of the kind referred to earlier. that the gestures used during daytime differ from those used at night. which is true for most other aspects of body language.

Some people are so self-conscious they cannot communicate in this way at all. this situation is really hopeless) .you usually need to gesture the shape of things like this. or 'What can you do ? ' (i. which usually conveys the messages 'I don't know'. then on shapes. even if they don't actually do any of the exercises. justice. The most common shoulder movement is the shrug. though often the latter have hidden talents which only need bringing out. which is cheating a little). but most people will guess it if they get the first three words). Ray Birdwhistell.'City' is an example of a very difficult word to convey. A single shoulder being shrugged usually means. The chest can be puffed out as a gesture of pride or achievement but it is commonly only used in a humorous and self-mocking way. . who was one of the first to �tudy body-motion communication when serious interest in it began in the late 1 940s. 'Take your hand off my arm (or shoulder)' or 'Leave me alone'. W e have already considered the use of the head ( see Chapter 3 ) . then on those elements similar to other activities that can be easily conveyed by gestures (such as getting the 'Tale' across by gesturing a wagging tail in Tale of Two Cities . This is a term coined by an American researcher. This book should help such people to relax.e. It is an up and down movement of both shoulders and may be accompanied by appropriate facial expressions and head movements. Someone who used it seriously would probably be considered conceited.referring to abstract qualities (like truth. 45 Let your body do the tal king Any part o f the body can b e used t o make a gesture. This aspect of body language is usually called kinesics. 'I am doubtful'. road. A kine is the smallest observable unit of body movement and kinesics refers to the scientific study of gestures and other body movements. If here we work our way down the rest of the body. 'I don't care'. we shall be able to identify most of the other gestures and body movements that have communicative value. The secrets of successful charades playing and portrayal of titles are to concentrate on actions and movement. democracy and belief) or to stationary objects (like house. fence and chair . You probably found that outgoing and sociable people are better at this kind of game than the shy and retiring.

Perhaps if you need to use such gestures as invitations it is a sign that your mastery of body language is. 'I am really fit' or 'I'm not as fat as I look'. . to say the least. In this the tips of the fingers are placed together in what resembles an attitude of prayer except that the palms are kept well apart. with words during conversations. is steepling. It may be an exaggeration to suggest that when a woman crosses her legs and pulls her skirt down to cover her knees she is cutting off the possibility of an approach. Feet can be interesting. Another interesting phenomenon is the gestural echo. however. something similar happens with posture. but it is interesting that women will usually sit with their legs crossed even when they customarily wear jeans or trousers. when one person uses a gesture. that is. Legs can be crossed or uncrossed and many writers have tried to put all kinds of messages into these gestures. or at least a desire to make a listener think one feels confident. despite having the traditional give-nothing-away poker-face. unsophisticated. Such leakage usually occurs in the lower half of the body. others will use it later. Nierenberg and Calero quote this as a gesture which signifies confidence. a person is trying to conceal some attitude or information from others and is not quite succeeding. The pelvis and the buttocks can be used to make gestures.46 The stomach can be sucked in as if to say. It also happens. Someone who plays poker regularly may always know when one of his friends has a good hand because. When they tap or twitch they can be examples of leakage. his foot twitches. Men seem to be quite happy on occasion to lounge around in an open-legged posture. but most of them are interpreted by others as sexual invitations and are often considered obscene. and we will look at some of these in a little more detail in the next section. One interesting hand gesture. hands and fingers are used for a great variety of gestures. probably because we take more trouble to control things like facial expressions. As we shall see in the next chapter. We shall be selective for it would simply not be practicable to consider all the possibilities. incidentally. The arms. Watch a group of people conversing and note how. this gesture is also used only half-seriously. Even though men do tend unconsciously to hold their stomachs in when in the presence of an attractive girl.

It is generally used as a gesture of mockery or insult. In this. in which the first and middle fingers are twisted around each other and the remaining fingers are held under the thumb. In Portugal. it means 'Be alert'.Morris's gesture maps Desmond Morris was a very popular writer on the subject of non-verbal communication. in which the thumb is placed on the end of the nose and the fingers are fanned out and sometimes waggled. Germany. From information gathered from 40 places across Europe. Elsewhere it is used to indicate that something is good or OK. to swear an oath. They also show that a gesture in one part of Europe can sometimes have the opposite meaning from its usual meaning in another. 47 . France. which is a gesture used all over the world to show affection. Yugoslavia and Turkey. In Spain and Italy. Its use is relatively rare in the British Isles and in Italy. In Austria. Their findings indicate how important it often is to know the context in which a gesture is used before trying to interpret its meaning. He and a team of researchers from Oxford University published a guide to the origins and distribution of 20 selected gestures. Germany and Greece. The gesture is most commonly used to indicate praise in Spain. It is symbolic of the mouth kiss. the gesture is used to break a friendship. A gesture which appeared to have a common meaning all over Europe was the Nose Thumb. Some of these are illustrated in Figure 4. Sardinia and Sicily it is used as a greeting. has several meanings. in which the forefinger is placed on the cheekbone and pulled down to open the eye a little wider. This meaning is most common in the British Isles and Scandinavia. The Fingers Cross. in contrast. In Turkey. The Eyelid Pull. 1 . it was found to signal boredom. The first gesture Morris's team studied was the Fingertip Kiss. or as a symbol for copulation. they were able to identify how commonly each of the gestures occurred and what meanings were attached to them. Its main purpose is as a gesture of protection. means 'I am alert' in France. the tips of the fingers and thumb are kissed and then the hand is moved quickly away from the mouth and the fingers spread out. When someone tells a lie they will cross their fingers (sometimes using both hands) in the superstitious belief that this will prevent the wrath of the gods falling on them for their deceit.

1 s o m e c o m m o n g e s t u res .48 c � i I» J 3 a � CD 3 i f i g u re 4 .

identified what he called quasi-courtship behaviours. is widely used to request lifts by hitch­ hikers the world over. Much of it has focused on what happens when body language is not used normally. Psychiatric patients. The gesture maps that Desmond Morris and his team constructed for their 20 selected gestures were. The Thumb Up. . with Cicero's De Oratore. exhibit variations of non-verbal behaviour which. however. If they are travelling through parts of Belgium. Sardinia. however. and less stomach and shoulder sag. In Italy. but which mentally ill patients often use inappropriately towards their therapists or other patients. a distinguished American psychiatrist. Sicily. by the very fact of being unusual. one gesture. 49 Peoplewatching Many other people have carried out observations and research into gestures since at least 1 600. People have been watching other people and recording and interpreting their gestures for a very long time indeed. conveys complicity. There are also actions of appeal or invitation such as flirtatious glances. and re-applying make­ up.The Nose Tap. Preening behaviours can be observed . in which the forefinger is tapped on the side of the nose. and the study of gesture can be said to date back to Ancient Rome. and so on. Holland and Austria. From such clinical studies the late Albert Scheflen. If the tap is to the front of the nose. But they can have a practical value as well. to say the least. leg-crossing to expose a thigh.these include stroking one's hair. they should be aware that it may be interpreted as a sexual insult. confidentiality or an instruction to maintain secrecy in the British Isles and Sardinia. Courtship readiness is usually signalled by such things as high muscle tone. straightening one's tie or other clothing. reflect a useful light on what is customary in everyday social interaction. reduced eye-bagginess and jowl sag. decreased slouch. it means 'Be alert'. fascinating. These are behaviours which are normal in the courtship by one person of another. Malta or Greece. Recent research has been more scientific and systematic. also be observed in everyday life when one person is attracted to another. For instance. it can mean 'Mind your own business' in the British Isles. as one of their symptoms. they can.

agreeable and energetic. cold and analytic. they will be considered more logical. One piece of research has reported that a majority of women who sit with their knees and feet together with legs extended have a . his or her bodily movements keep Ekman and Friesen noted that certain gestures accompany certain attitudes. in an interview. and can vary with. if you want to give an impression of drive and enthusiasm. on leaving. Clearly. A clearer example of the importance of attending to others' signals would be difficult to find.50 pace in a kind of dance with the rhythms of speech. say. personality has a marked effect upon the numbers and varieties of gestures used. with many non-verbal movements. One research team found that where people are active. A hand toss goes with the expression of feeling unable to control one's behaviour. the person seeking to end it breaks eye contact. As a person speaks. Other research has identified a phenomenon known as gestural synchrony. Also. they will be rated as warm. more casual. you can do it by increased use of gestures. with few movements. Some interesting studies have been made of regularities in the act of taking leave of someone. A rotating shrug of the hands accompanies feelings of uncertainty and confusion. foot gestures are generally more varied and active. It is interesting to note the equation of movement with energy. we use gestures to enable us to make an assessment about the kind of personality an individual has. Listeners' movements also dance to the same 'tune'. The peak of such activity occurs in the last 15 seconds before standing. as the speaker's. Gesture psychology The kinds of gestures that individuals use can be related to. In the last minute or so of an encounter. For instance. this rhythm is missing . In mentally ill patients.another illustration of how we only notice the existence of something when it is not there: conspicuous by its absence. other psychological factors. leans forward and nods frequendy. in fact. as it were. When the same people are still. If one is not then released from the encounter a degree of frustration is experienced because it means the whole procedure has to be gone through again. Repetitious foot sliding is noticeable when patients are admitted to psychiatric institutions whereas.

and a preference for organizing life according to a rigid schedule. where two people in conversation use the same kind of gestures and body movements. where people are trying to communicate. One researcher has found that when individuals are listening to a physically handicapped speaker they make fewer and smaller gestures than normal. a liking for making plans. For women. Another has shown that authoritarian personalities tend to use less bodily movement than anti-authoritarians. Some research has shown that. men in the second interview make smaller gestures and move their feet less. a dislike of change and un­ certainty. Openness and confidence in movement are consistently rated by participants in experiments as being more active. The reason may be that men feel more at ease in the second interview whereas women find a second one more stressful than the first. the reverse is true. . positive and potent than closed or hesitant gestures and body movements (see Exercise 4 on page 5 6 ) . Such similarities can provide a background of rapport which may not even be consciously noticed. If put through two interviews. it will be clear that there are ways of using gestures and body movements to greater effect. more arm and leg openness. it has been found that men make more seating position shifts than women.personality associated with a desire for neatness and orderliness in work. and make more than three times as many gesticulations or expressive hand movements as girls who lost their fathers before the age of five. they will perceive themselves as being similar and will like each other better. similarities in gestural styles may be helpful. Daughters without fathers have been found to use more self­ touching gestures than those with fathers. As far as sex differences in gesture behaviour are concerned. 51 How to speak body language From what has been said so far in this chapter about the various ways in which gestures are used in self-expression. Daughters of divorcees show more forward lean. From this kind of study it may also be concluded that. This may be caused by some uncertainty about how to interact with a disabled person. Open and positive gestures and body movements are more influential when seeking to persuade someone to your point of view.

Much about a person's personality and attitudes can be inferred from how active they are in gesturing. Open gestures and body movements can be a useful way of communicating warmth. You should try to be as observant as possible of other people's gestures: like all forms of body language they can provide a very informative accompaniment to what is actually said. trust and friendliness. As we saw above. A useful gesture when attempting to convey a degree of confidence or assurance is steepling. but the role of body language in this process should not be underestimated. bargainers and salesmen. provided it does not become too obvious an attempt at mimicry. ignore it at their peril. Words may be the primary persuaders. Be sensitive to others' gestures when it appears the end of an encounter is approaching. may provide an observer with leakage of true feelings you may prefer to conceal. Women crossing their legs. especially of the lower part of the body. Gestures. and revealing an expanse of thigh in the process. by advancing facts and logical arguments. Gestural echoes can be a useful way of indicating a general sense of identity or sympathy with a group. you should consider the context carefully to be sure the gesture is appropriate for it. Avoid gestures which are open to misinter­ pretation. for instance. Quasi-courtship gestures can be useful in telling you what your relationship is with a member of the opposite sex. Negotiators. they are particularly useful when seeking to persuade someone to change their mind or to pursue a course of action they might not otherwise have followed. Bear in mind that people from different parts of the world may understand a gesture to mean something very different from what you intend. Watch for signs of a lack of synchrony between speech rhythms and body rhythms as this may offer clues to a person's emotional stability and general mental health.52 When using any particular gesture. can often convey meanings they certainly do not intend. There is usually little purpose to be served by refusing to release someone who clearly wants to take his or her leave. . provided it is not done too obviously or artificially.

Examples m ight be when two people are very much in love. has won a sporting contest or race. such as uncrossed legs. for instance). Watch for gestures and body movements when a player gets either a particularly good or a particularly bad hand. when someone has suffered a bereavement. . together with a count of the frequency with which each occurs. palms-outward gestures and the like. List all the tell-tale gestures you spot. or is deliriously happy. List the gestures that are used to communicate the feelings being experienced.Exercises and experiments 1 The poker player Observe a group of people playing poker or some other card game. find out something about deaf-and-dumb language or American Indian sign language. Try to arrange it so that you can see at least one player's hand. practitioners you happen to know. observe similar behaviour in a casino. Does any individual have a particularly characteristic tell-tale gesture? 63 2 More everyday mime Observe situations in which words are an inadequate means of expression. How effective are the gestures and body movements used in supple­ menting any words spoken? Why are words alone so inadequate in many such situations? 3 Sign languages Using whatever sources are available to you (the local library. Alternatively. or any 1V programme you have seen. How do others respond? How do you feel about using such gestures? You should be able to communicate with others without feeling you have to have your arms folded and your legs tightly crossed before you feel comfortable or ·safe'. How many of the signs are self­ explanatory? How many might be useful when communicating with someone who does not speak your language? 4 We never close Practise open gestures. has won a lot of money. is especially grateful for assistance or a favour. unfolded and open arms. Tell-tale behaviour will probably be easiest to observe when playing for reasonably significant money stakes.

Are there any exclusively 'gay' gestures? Also list gestures that are predominantly used by men or by women. . List as many examples as you can find of gestures that are used exclusively by men and exclusively by women. What kinds of gestures appear to be used equally by men and women? What about New Men? Or Girl Power? 6 Gestural favouritism Observe your friends' gestures.54 5 Male and female Observe other people in a variety of social situations. What is each one's favourite gesture (in the sense that they seem to use it more often than any other)? Head scratching? Chin (or beard) stroking? Ear pulling? Nose touching? Arm folding? Wrapping one leg tightly round another in a kind of double leg cross? Licking the lips nervously? Do you know what your own most characteristic gesture is? You could always ask your best friend to tell you .

In this chapter you wili leam: • the role of posture and stance in body language posture can be a good indicator of an individual's state of mind at the time at which communi­ cation is taking place. • .

depending upon the different positions of the arms and legs.56 Gestures and postures are closely related and indeed at least one writer. Warren Lamb. Posture tends to be ignored somewhat as far as its communi­ cative value is concerned. There are advantages in focusing on each asp. But it has a much more significant role to play than this. sitting (with which may also be included squatting and kneeling) and lying down. There are many variations on these. Posture can be a clue to personality and to character. For convenience.ect separately. One American researcher. . however. has produced a very complicated classification of possible postures. communicative relationships with others. Not that deportment is unimportant. as we have already done in previous chapters. but it is only one aspect of the use of posture. It is possible for us to recognize people we know at a distance from the postures they typically use. we shall treat posture separately. but some are used only in particular cultures (like the Japanese bow on greeting) and any particular individual will have a narrow range of preferred postures. The person who usually holds his body erect often has a quite different temperament from the person who slouches about with rounded shoulders. and the various angles at which the body may be held. It may be that changing postural patterns is an important part of the process of changing attitudes and of improving the ability to establish positive. still stoop and sag even years after they have recovered and resumed normal lives. These preferred postures recall a person's past. We each have a repertoire of postures that we characteristically use though these repertoires are quite limited. in the same way that one can with spoken languages. for instance. gone through prolonged periods of depression. has taken the view that they are inseparable and has explored what he calls posture-gesture merging. at some time in their lives. It has traditionally been associated with classes in deportment at finishing schools for young ladies and with walking around a room with a book balanced on the top of one's head. Ray Birdwhistell. People who have. There are three main kinds of posture: standing.

revealing and beneficial one. The easiest thing to do is to look ahead rather than down at the ground. you might decide to omit this exercise. . Exercise review If you have not been accustomed to moving around with an erect posture. Don't stretch yourself up artificially. consider how you feel. which may well have required a little effort and concentration at first. you will probably have noted a number of things from this exercise. although you have been trying to maintain an erect posture. paradoxically. though not inevitable. but don't allow your body to sag. The essence of the exercise is that for the next week you should walk with your body erect. you should note or record as many of your own and others' responses to these questions as possible. It is possible that. Do you feel any different? Do you feel more positive and confident? Do you feel more relaxed? Do you feel physically fitter? Do you find you are moving about a little more quickly? Do you notice more of what is going on around you? Do you find yourself thinking quicker and more clearly? What else do you notice about yourself? Consider also how other people react and respond to you. your shoulders to become rounded or your head to hang. You should not put too much effort into this. if you are.Exercise: walking tall 57 You may already be the kind of person who regularly maintains an erect posture and. You will probably feel fitter physically and will tend to be walking a little more quickly. But the vast majority of readers who do not will find it an interesting. without feeling that you are hurrying. After you have practised moving about like this for a few days. Do they seem warmer and more friendly? Do they seem more ready and willing to interact with you? Do you find yourself getting more of your own way in encounters with others? Do they comment at all upon your bearing and comportment? Are there any negative responses to your more erect posture? Do you notice any other changes in other people's behaviour towards you? As in previous exercises. only as much as is necessary. to keep your shoulders back and your stomach in. your shoulders straight and your head held high. you have found your new posture more comfortable and relaxing. It is quite likely. that you will be beginning to feel rather more positive and confident in your everyday activities.

This is something you need to guard against in carrying out exercises like this. they may have been that you were slightly overdoing the posture. confident or dominant will generally adopt more erect body postures than those who are feeling depressed. though. facial expressions. those who are feeling hopeful. unlike. as well as faster. If there have been any negative comments. to tell a great deal about their state of mind. shy or submissive. particularly before an encounter begins. As far as the reactions of others are concerned. accessibility and a general willingness to interact.58 You will certainly be noticing more of what is going on around you and you may find yourself reacting more quickly. . For instance. M ind-reading through posture No one wants to suggest that you can tell the details of what someone is thinking simply from observing their posture. Any comments that have been passed on your newly assumed posture will tend to be complimentary rather than derogatory. this is usually interpreted as openness. whether they are hopeful or depressed. as it can guide us in determining what might be the most productive approach to make to another person. you should be finding that they appear to be responding to you with greater warmth and friendliness and that they are more willing to interact with you. and so on. where a greater degree of proximity is necessary. If the arms are held loosely down by the sides of the body. Positive attitudes towards others tend to be accompanied by leaning forward. Any other changes you have noticed in yourself should mostly be welcome and positive ones. confident or shy. dominant or submissive. Your thinking generally may be clearer and more precise. An unsympathetic attitude towards another person can be shown by arms folded across the chest. Postures also have the advantage that they can be accurately observed at some distance. Posture observation is thus a useful activity. Negative or hostile attitudes are signalled by leaning backwards. It is possible. You might find that your point of view is accepted more readily and more often (this may partly be because an erect posture is commonly used by naturally dominant individuals). for example. especially when sitting down.

1 what do the se postures te l l you a bout the peopl e con c e r n e d? .59 1 2 6 figure 5 .

Equality of status is often indicated by matching postures . threat and aggression . submissiveness and humility. It has been found that. a sideways lean. A relaxed attitude in an encounter. If one sits leaning back in a chair with one leg crossed over the other. .that is. It is used more by a man in the company of women. whereas insiders will lean forward a little with head tipped forward. the other will. Albert Mehrabian. at any rate) is that women. then the other person will echo this posture. One psychiatrist has found that a patient can adopt a particular posture every time he talks about his mother and a quite different one every time he talks about his father. high status can be signalled by an upright posture and its opposite. loosely held hands and a backwards lean of the body. Outsiders typically stand with the weight on one foot. when people are standing around talking in groups. made some interesting discoveries about posture. If the arms are folded across the bosom. of whose work we shall be learning more shortly. At its simplest.posture has an important role to play. This posture is most frequently used when an individual regards others present as being of equal or lower status to himself. Less relaxed postures are used when the others present are disliked. with the ankle lying across a knee in an open leg-cross. I ' m the king of the castle In the signalling of status. those who are really 'in' the group have quite different postural patterns than those who are not quite so favoured.60 Like other aspects of body language. by a slouch or a generally sagging posture. If one person stands with his hands in his pockets. this indicates lack of relaxation and usually accompanies indifference or dislike. when sitting. too.in a sense all increasingly extreme versions of the same behaviour . the participants in an encounter show remarkable similarity in the postures they adopt. for instance. postures have patterns and thus contain an element of predictability. adopt an open-arm posture in the presence of someone they like. Probably one of the most interesting of Mehrabian's findings (for men. is signalled by asymmetrical arm and leg positions.

weaker and more defensive than their higher status brothers and sisters. This appears to be the case whatever the degree of liking. Extreme relaxation of posture may be used to signify a rejection and total lack of respect for authority. A sideways lean when seated was found to be an index of relaxation and moderate degrees of lean showed friendliness. Certainly. And the forehead (or sometimes the j aw) may j ut out more obviously. Women. the hands will often be clasped behind the back. from mild acceptance of another's continued presence to the closest inter-personal intimacy. Nevertheless. it is mostly common for posture to be tense both when threatening others or being aggressive towards them and when being threatened or at the receiving end of aggressive behaviour. however. It is as if people of lower status want to show the world that they are smaller. especially in contexts where an upright posture would be expected (as in a disciplinary interview). Hands may not be held behind the back.Lower status is often shown by bowing the head. it is more usually the case that a tense individual is more to be feared than a relaxed person. however. 61 I ' m inclined to like you Albert Mehrabian has made some interesting discoveries about the relationship between posture and liking. Someone who is tense is clearly closer to taking physical action than someone who is relaxed. but may be held by the side with the fists clenched in readiness. closed body positions (as if to protect oneself from attack) and holding the body to make it appear smaller (and presumably therefore less of a threat) than it actually is. as if to show that this high status is not necessarily a threat. . Sometimes. Where high status is indicated by an upright posture with the head held high it may be that. for the head may be held with the forehead out in front (as if the individual is threatening to butt anyone who seriously challenges his position). Men showed the least sideways lean and the least body relaxation with other men whom they disliked intensely. Aggression and threatening behaviour normally consist of a progressively exaggerated exhibition of high status or dominant behaviour. he found that when people like each other they tend to lean towards each other. For instance. But the threat may not disappear altogether. a relaxed posture can have an aggressive purpose.

62 showed the most sideways lean with other men and women whom they disliked. should open postures when used by women indicate liking in the presence of older and younger people but not for those of the same age ? It is not clear. This was also true for a raised head. posture research has unearthed some other and not immediately . as with all other aspects of body language. Men. Ekman and Friesen found that. Nevertheless. Other researchers have found that postures say a lot about a person's emotional state. Certainly with posture. posture showed the degree of intensity. typically stand with the thumbs hooked over trouser waists or hooked into trouser pockets. Women may lean forward and bring their arms closer in to the body so that this presses their breasts together and deepens cleavage. sit brooding and looking downwards. Why. as elsewhere. it seems to be pretty well established that leaning forward with a relaxed posture is one way of showing someone that you like them. relaxed hand and body postures. for example. Some of these findings are difficult to interpret. and sideways lean when seated. The extremes can be seen in the postures of some mental patients. placing of the arms and legs in an open posture conveyed liking for older and younger individuals but not for those of the same age. erect and their bodies show a high degree of tenseness in posture. Manics (the opposite of depressives) are alert. balance is necessary (in this case literally as well as metaphorically) . In women who were sitting down. are listless. especially younger men. continuing research is necessary to explain and establish any unexpected findings and to clarify those which seem to defy a proper explanation at present. Depressives droop. with the fists very loosely clenched. of course: here. Posture research In addition to the findings that have already been reported. whilst facial expression gave more information about emotions. It may be that there is an undiscovered defect in the experimental procedure. An arms akimbo position was much more likely to be used in the presence of individuals of lower status than in the presence of those holding higher status. Sexual invitation can be indicated by posture. No need to bend double.

short of physical violence. These shifts in posture are so regular that they are predictable and follow a pattern. or an air of distinction 63 I Cil III &. hands placed on hips and other sexual postures adopted. it is impossible to enter a group. 2 i � . The tendency is especially marked where there is a high degree of rapport between the individuals concerned. breasts may be stuck out. even though the situation is not an overtly sexual one. This can be particularly noticeable in pubs and cafes frequented by groups of young people. gesture) is associated with its absence . there will also be a change in posture which brings participants closer together. One such is the extent to which participants in an encounter copy each other's postures. there can be postural conflict. Sometimes it may be done so that. in which people deliberately adopt postures different from those assumed by others. Understandably. This postural echo means that if one person clasps his hands together or crosses his legs or folds his arms. pelvises rolled. rather. It seems to be the case that those few amongst us who possess what one may call 'presence'. For example. Grooming (stroking the hair or straightening the tie) is followed by the adoption of an appropriate positioning (face to face or side by side) . and legs stuck out. Conversely.or.obvious discoveries. it is an area which has received a good deal of research attention. others will follow. Albert Scheflen observed that in quasi-courtship behaviour postural shifts occurred which were similar to those seen in real courtship sequences. to show that this is a group and that intruders will not be welcome. indeed. Arms may be placed in such a way. This behaviour occurs commonly when people of the opposite sex are conversing. when there is a change in topic from a general subject to a more intimate or private one. There are even shifts in posture during sleep to mark the stages. An interesting area of research into posture (and. This may be so marked that there may even be verbal disclaimers from one or other person to indicate that the behaviour is not meant seriously. such as moving from dreamless sleep into the kind of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which accompanies dreaming. This is usually done to emphasize differences and to place 'distance' between one person and another. with the absence of these patterns. Postures can also be used to mark the boundaries of an interaction. Other shifts in posture are used to mark stages in conversation. In the subsequent conversation.

then. one of whom is ashamed of her breasts and the other of whom is proud of them) and has an important part to play in self-presentation (one can use posture as an aid in deliberately projecting a particular personality). They will not wish to be associated in any way with them. Posture has always. Folded arms in a kind of self­ wrapping posture indicate withdrawal and a desire for self­ protection. Here.to those involved in dramatic performance and public speaking. In these activities. is the kind of behaviour that can readily be observed on TV when members of royalty and when senior statesmen are being shown. to observe actors and politicians because this can help in identifying the postures (and. Adopt the posture of one who is drunk and you will soon find out who your friends are. especially of the breasts. . therefore. more common among women than men. It is. It is useful. Witness the words of the old song: You can tell the man who boozes By the company he chooses.as have gestures . therefore. exhibit very few changes in posture and use very few gestures. Research has also been carried out into the relationship between posture and personality factors. This low peripheral movement.64 and high status. Talking with the shoulders held in shrug position and with the palms facing outward indicates helplessness and inadequacy. And the pig got up and slowly walked away. indeed. though. other aspects of body language) which are appropriate or inappropriate to various situations. posture frequently has to be exaggerated in order to be easily observable by an audience. Exaggerated postures can also be observed in the behaviour of those who are drunk. Exaggerated postures Posture reflects a person's body image (compare the postures of two young girls. been of considerable interest . there is little to be gained through emulation since most people will react negatively to the behaviour of drunks. as it is termed.

You should notice that this encourages them to talk more. the participating individuals copy or echo each other's postures. which they will find very unsettling. You should notice that they tend to talk less. Some people will be tolerant and even a l ittle amused. You should find that. the interaction proceeds more smoothly. but most will tend to avoid contact if they can and shorten it if they can 't. 65 2 I am your m i rror Observe how. make the encounter last longer and seek further encounters. If you try to use postural echo. Why is this? Speculation on the possible reasons may shed light on the importance of posture. more disagreement and a general sense of people being ill at ease. on an occasion after that. You should find that they respond more positively. with greater warmth and friendliness. but not if it is too rigidly upright. Conversely. 3 Sit up straight Try sitting up reasonably straight in some encounters and deliberately slouching in your seat in others. there appears to be a better relationship between participants and the whole event looks more natural. this will be more off-putting than if there is no postural echo at all. feel you are less interested in them and show signs of not being completely happy with the way the encounter is being conducted. try leaning slightly towards them. where echoing is absent. makes them feel you are more interested in what they have to say and generally results in a more satisfactory encounter.Exercises and experiments 1 Have you the inclination? Next time you are sitting talking to someone you know well. They may even feel that you are consciously trying to mimic them. you should notice signs of friction. 4 Who's drunk? Observe the behaviour of people who are drunk and note how the behaviour of others changes towards them. when your posture is upright than when it is slouched. Note the reactions of others to this behaviour. where there is evidence of echoing. Then. since . If you change your posture immediately the other person changes his or hers. it is important that you do it as unobtrusively as possible. Compare situations in which echoing is present with those in which it is not. in encounters in everyday life and on lV. try leaning back and away from them.

6 Come on In encounters. Why is there a need for exaggeration of posture or of postural changes in contexts like these? Try to identify as many possible reasons as you can. though it may be easier if they sit down. practise closed postures by crossing your legs. both by yourself and by others. crossing your arms in front of the body. . facing people and leaning towards others slightly. Note both how others react differently to open posture and also how you feel about being more posturally open towards others. 5 Putting on an act Observe public speakers and actors and note instances when changes in posture appear to be exaggerated beyond what is normal in everyday life. Make greater use of open-palm posture. and using posture to prevent others entering an interaction. If a person is genuinely drunk it is almost impossible for them to hide it. Some are: • • • the distance between speaker and listener is greater and exaggeration is necessary for the sake of clarity dramatic performances of any kind rely upon a certain amount of exaggeration for purposes of emphasis many of those engaged in acting out a role tend to be the kind of people who customarily exaggerate their posture (as well as other aspects of body language) to some extent. for openness. turning your body away from the people you' re speaking to. Examples might be a politician suddenly leaning forward towards his audience in the middle of a speech or an actor deliberately turning his back on another. Then practise the converse of these: open postures.66 those who are drunk are usually unable to control their posture even with great effort. You should find that there is a clear preference in most situations.

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about proximity and orientation orientation can tell us a good deal about ind ividuals the concept of personal space, together with territoriality of in human behaviour

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We have already encountered, in Chapter 4, one of the sub­ disciplines of non-verbal communication, kinesics, or the study of body movements. Another sub-discipline is proxemics, or the study of the use of space when communicating. How close we are to people and whether we are facing towards them or away can affect the interaction which takes place in significant and often predictable ways. Edward Hall, who coined the term proxemics, defined four zones in the use of space.

From zero to one and a half feet ( 0-0.5 m) he called the intimate zone, in which people are actually touching or are easily able to touch each other. The second zone is personal and extends from one and a half to four feet ( 0.5-1 .2 m) and here people are able to shake hands or are, at most, no more than arms' length from each other. The third is the social-consultive zone and runs from four to ten feet ( 1 .2-3m). It is most commonly used in everyday encounters of a social or business nature. The final zone he called the public zone and this extends from ten feet (3 m) outwards.

Hall further sub-divided each zone into close and not close areas. Learning to use space more effectively will help us to take an important step forward in our developing mastery of body language. We shall consider five main aspects:

• • • •

the effects of different kinds of seating arrangements upon face-to-face communication horizontal, vertical and asymmetric orientations how status is shown by proximity and orientation what happens when people come too close some of the ways in which we can use proximity and orientation to make interaction with others easier, more comfortable and more effective.

One interesting experiment carried out by James Baxter and Richard Rozelle illustrates the often dramatic effects of changing the distance between people when they are communicating. They selected two groups of people, one to be subjected to very close face-to-face interviewing by someone playing the role of a police officer and one to undergo a lesser degree of proximity. They called these two situations severe crowding and mild crowding.

The interview in each case was in four two-minute parts. The 'policeman' asked each person about the contents of his wallet. For both groups, the officer remained four feet ( 1 .2 m) from the individual during the first two minutes. At the beginning of the second two minutes, he casually moved forward until he was about two feet ( 0 . 6 m) away. In the third two minutes, he moved to within a few inches with the severe crowding group, but remained at two feet (0.6 m) with the mild crowding group. In the last two minutes, he moved back to the two feet (0.6 m) distance with the severe crowding group and simply remained where he was for the mild crowding group. He was told to maintain eye contact with all his interviewees in all parts of the interview. Those who were in the severe crowding group reacted very differently from normal when the 'policeman' was at his closest to them. Their speech became disrupted and disorganized. There was an increase in eye movements and gaze aversion. They adopted positions which enabled them to place their arms and hands between themselves and the interviewer. They often held their hands clasped protectively at crotch level like footballers waiting for a free kick to be taken and were generally much more nervous and restless when the interviewer had invaded their personal space by approaching too closely. This demonstrates the power of proximity and shows that, like other aspects of body language, we need to increase our sensitivity in using it.
Exercise: competition versus cooperation

69

Figure 6. 1 shows a table and six chairs. The 'X' indicates that a person you are about to meet is sitting there. What you have to do is decide which chair you would occupy in each of the following situations: You are going to play a game of chess with this person and it is important for you to win. Place an A on the seat you choose. b You are going to help the person complete a crossword puzzle. Place a B on the seat you choose. c You are going to interview the person for a job in a small, friendly organization. Place a C on the seat you choose.
a

Now, on Figure 6.2 place an X for the other person and a 0 for yourself on the seats you would consider most appropriate if you were going to conduct a formal disciplinary interview.

::l. 1 choose a seat D D D D D D 0 0) D D figure 6 . 3 D D III � a.70 "g a � 0 �. 2 position for a di sc i pl i nary i n te rv i e w . ID � s- a: 0 � D [8J figure 6 .

. such d iagonal seating arrangements have been shown to be particularly useful for interviewing situations. surely. For c. you will probably have chosen the seat next to the person you were to help (that is. perhaps. you probably selected the seat diagonally to the left of the person. You should feel that the diagonal arrangement offers the best compromise between the overly formal and the too casual. � II o 1 3 a I o :::I Seating arrangements Where people choose to sit in the various situations in which they find themselves reveals certain predictable patterns of behaviour. at the end of the table. There is.Exercise review 71 According to the research that has been done. It may have something to do with the fact that we like to be in a position from which we can see everything an adversary does. It is probably natural to want to distance oneself from what is likely to be an unpleasant task. As we shall see later. people have presumably gone along to hear what someone has to say: it would. be better to occupy a seat at the front rather than the back. the chances are that you placed yourself at the opposite end of the table from the person you were to reprimand. we tend to sit opposite people we are competing against. Look at the exercise again and try to visualize the interaction that would take place in each possible combination of seats. But where they choose to sit may not always be the best position for them to achieve what they wish to achieve. as we shall see. perhaps you will change your mind when you have read through the rest of the chapter. When you were selecting positions for a disciplinary interview. not such a great need to keep an eye on what someone is doing when we are not competing against them. a lecture room will tend to fill up from the back forwards. Again . For a. For b. Yet. you will probably have picked the seat immediately opposite the person against whom you were to play a game of chess. It may. you are most likely to have picked certain positions for each of the situations posed in the exercise. be that the diagonal seating arrangement used for other kinds of interviews may take some of the edge off the situation. the seat to the right of the one marked X). We tend to sit alongside people if we are in a cooperative relationship with them. If you do not feel this way at the moment. however. For instance.

many people adopt absurdly formal seating arrange­ ments for interviews .arrangements that can be shown to inhibit rather than encourage the very thing that is supposed to take place. people who wish to talk will sit either directly opposite each other or diagonally across the corner at one end. Individuals who go into bars and other social settings in the hope of meeting someone they can talk to will often seek a seat in a corner or in some other position from which they can observe. It prevents too much initial closeness and it does offer the chance of joining in a conversation at a later stage if this becomes appropriate. Albert Mehrabian. and who wish to leave the possibility of talking to someone else open. not only for the person taking up such a position. and where there are. perhaps in a strange city. Sitting facing may well be a little daunting. that is. this increases the flexibility of the arrangement. If the tables are oblong. 3 g i Similarly. an 'adj acent sides at right angles' arrangement is favoured by people who wish to talk to each other. A s you can see. however. two seats at either side of the table and one at each end (as in the exercise you did earlier). say. positions that others are likely to be drawn to .72 1. while at the same time leaving it open for people to keep themselves to themselves if they wish. but also for the people already there. � I» � a. If the seats are on swivels. These are not. . In fact Mehrabian suggested a zig­ zag design for bar and cafeteria tables and counters. which he feels would encourage such increased contacts (see Figure 6 . this provides a very flexible arrangement in which groups of people can converse. the fullest and freest possible exchange of information and views. sitting with your back to other people present will tend to preclude such a possibility. Sitting at an angle offers a good compromise. Fairly obviously. made some interesting suggestions for those who find themselves alone in a public place. People who do not wish to talk will sit either at the ends or diagonally opposite each other on each side.far better to place oneself boldly in the centre of movement and activity: most likely a seat at the counter in a bar or at a table near the counter if those seats are all occupied. People who do not wish to talk tend to sit opposite one another if the tables are square. In a cafeteria of the traditional design with square or slightly oblong tables. 3 ) . whose work we have encountered before.

As we saw earlier. say. g figure 6 . they can be used to encourage the kind of behaviour desired. . the positions which are characteristically taken up are not always the best available. the diagonal position at the comer of a table is preferable when there are only two people . counselling and performance appraisal. they will be much more likely to cooperate.interviewer and interviewee . anticipated some of the recent research into non-verbal communication. This finding has useful implications for deciding seating arrangements at places of work and in meetings and conferences. That is to say. those whose relationship with each other is competitive will tend to sit facing each other.73 �· 3 � III :::I Q. There are still many people who will adopt the same positions in other kinds of interviews. such as job selection. It is interesting to speculate on what the effect might be in. Yet the research that has been done suggests that. Not only are these positions naturally taken up by most people in such situations. people will tend to sit opposite each other and as far away as the size of the table will permit. Sitting in comfortable chairs with a low table leads to the exchange of more information than the kind of formal setting in which the interviewers sit along a sort of 'top table' and the interviewee sits at a separate small table in front of it.involved. for disciplinary interviews. 3 m e hrabi a n ' s zi g-zag design for cafe te ria ta bl e s i As we saw in the exercise. if you place people opposite each other they will tend to compete: if you place them side by side. it is better to have an informal setting than a formal one. It is also fairly clear that King Arthur's round table. giving equality to all the participants. Those whose relationship or task is a cooperative one will tend to sit side by side. Generally speaking. since the purpose of most interviews is to obtain or give information and opinions. In interviews. industrial negotiations if a seating arrangement other than the traditional across-the-table one were to be used.

This may account for the suggestion made by at least one authority on management techniques that daily action conferences by managers should be taken standing . both are. In the horizontal plane the main concern is whether the orientation is facing or not. this is 0°. . Mehrabian has calculated from his own researches that as much as 93 % of the message in a face-to-face encounter is non-verbal. thought tends to result more readily in action. say. In the vertical plane.74 Why do psychiatrists have couches? Orientation is usually defined as the degree of the angle between a line joining one person to another and the direction in which the person under consideration is facing. When standing. that is to say. Decisions are made faster and more strongly when standing. when two people are facing each other directly. or their angles of orientation are the same (that is. Being higher up than another person. An asymmetrical orientation is one in which the angles are different. It has been found that the further apart two people are. Thus. Memory recall is a negatively accelerated function of time. leaving only 7% for the verbal (we shall return to this point in Chapter 1 1 ). the more likely it is that the angle of orientation will be 0°. significantly affects the interaction which takes place. back to back. a third or a half tum away from each other). the interest is in whether the person concerned is higher up or lower down than another. or even simply being taller. Asymmetrical orientations permit closer proximity than those which are symmetrical. especially when both are facing. People lying down tend to remember more. the fact of not being able to observe each other's body language means a large part of the total message has been removed. up rather than the more normal sitting round a table. more is recalled in the first few minutes. but less receptive to action. Orientation can be horizontal or it can be vertical. even though verbal messages may still be understood. Orientation may also be symmetrical or asymmetrical. And the findings about how people remember more and are more reflective when lying down may have some bearing on the answer to the question with which we started this section. but is less responsive to new suggestions and to close examination of a topic. People behave differently when lying down than when standing up. People will be more imaginative and reflective when lying down. A symmetrical one means the people involved are face to face. generally. Back-to-back orientations make communication difficult because. but the other is half-turned away. as when one person is facing directly.

.f 5. We carry this personal space around with us wherever we go. Those of higher status approach the desk. It IS interesting to note how status is both conveyed by positioning and can be conferred by it.Status. m) each. then. whereas in loose crowds we have about ten square feet ( 1 sq. I o :I o Don't come any closer Robert Sommer has defined what he calls personal space as that area around each of us which we do not like others to enter except by invitation or under certain special circumstances. Those of equal status will come in and sit down next to a person's desk. Although it is not the only factor to be considered. m) each. It was observed that low­ status individuals tend to stay near the door on entering. It has been noticed. 75 " � 3 III . It has also been observed that senior people align themselves on the right-hand side of a chosen leader.5-0. In crowds. that people who sit at either end of the table in a jury room are most often elected foremen: the 'head of the table' position is. 75 sq. Being higher up. proximity and orientation In considering positioning as an aspect of orientation. Proximity and orientation. for instance. a reality and is quite clearly associated with higher status. it has also been somewhat confusingly observed that leaders tend to sit down whilst others stand. can be used not only to indicate status but also to seek its being accorded to us by others. In some interesting experiments. Friends are met by the individual whose office it is coming out from behind the desk. It extends rather further in front of us than to the sides and is least behind our backs. we are prepared to accept less personal space than normal. for instance on a rostrum or simply by being taller. then. Leaders tend to be taller and this is emphasized by the relatively few well-known historical leaders who were on the short side. puts a person in a dominating position. One researcher has estimated that in dense crowds we have six to eight square feet (0. the behaviour of people entering offices has been studied for what it can tell us about how we signal our status to others. which means that the term 'right-hand man' may be based on what actually happens. However. it is nevertheless an important one.

Such closeness. the tenants would sub-let.25 sq.5 sq. They gradually move their chair forward during the interrogation so that after a time one of the suspect's knees is just between the policeman's knees. When he asked what the effect would be of increasing the allowance. with no table or desk between them. It may be that even in this instance some illusion of personal space. but even here it is interesting to note that they almost always close their eyes when kissing. is necessary. m) per person. when uninvited. He tells us that the Hong Kong Housing Authority builds low-cost accommodation on the basis of about 35 square feet (3. In his studies of the kind of space people need for reasonably peaceful living. there would seem to be no logical reason why they should close their eyes for the most enjoyable part of the interaction. It is possible to sit at an angle in such a way as to close off an interaction to intruders. so facing the person we are interacting with· will deter invasions of our mutual personal space. . Since they approach very close and gaze into each other's eyes for much of the time. and tend to throw people together too much. What this means is that we each need an area in which to live that we can protect against unwanted intrusion by others. made by closing the eyes. Sommer mentions that people in a place like Hong Kong seem to have adapted to restrictions on space reasonably well. by stretching the legs out so that others will be reluctant to cross over them. However. In fact. ' In preventing violations of personal space. he was told 'With 60 square feet (5. the severe crowding by the interviewer is similar to tactics often used by police interrogators. If flats are too small. People who are exchanging confidences will often turn away from the general interaction in order to discourage intruders. too closely placed. orientation can often be used as a territorial marker. The idea has been developed of defensible space. Lovers will accept greater proximity from each other. he has found that certain housing designs are more likely to lead to trouble with neighbours than others. the angle of orientation can regulate the degree of privacy in a conversation. American policemen are sometimes trained to sit close to a suspect. is almost always perceived as threatening. In the experiment reported at the beginning of this chapter. this will lead to tensions. which may very quickly develop into open hostility and aggressive behaviour.76 1 3 III q 5. ID Sometimes our personal space is deliberately invaded by others for a particular reason. We are reluctant to pass between two people. Sommer's studies have shed an interesting light on human territoriality. m) per person. i o � o ::::!.

as in the frequently observed phenomenon of people backing away from high-status people before turning. as if to remind the intruder that his or her presence is not welcome and that they will resume their former positions as soon as he or she has had the good sense to move on. during arrivals and departures orientation will often take status into account. This is perhaps most frequently observed in commuter trains and on other mass-transit systems where people are so crowded together that they are touching. Orientation in crowded conditions can exhibit interesting variations from normal behaviour. together with the kind of turning away from the general interaction mentioned earlier. 77 1 3 Co � ! i g . people will move away from the intruder but maintain their direct orientation towards each other. or it may be that that particular custom arose out of a natural deference to status.If personal space is violated. In situations in which the crowding is so severe that the body cannot be turned away. People who have a conspiratorial relationship with others will tend to approach from the side. avoiding all eye contact with others. and fixedly staring into space. People in lifts. literally 'sidling' up to a fellow plotter. Both men and women use a direct orientation for disliked high­ status men (to keep a close eye on what they might do to threaten them? ) but use an indirect orientation for low-status women (partly turning away from someone who is perceived as not being very important? ) . making as few movements as possible. people will change their orienta­ tion away from the intruder in order to emphasize their rejection of the invasion. A number of other interesting observations have been made of the use of orientation as a non-verbal communication tool. the head will be. For instance. Sometimes. It is surprising how often this activity can be observed at political meetings and conferences. Another phenomenon often observed on underground tube trains is that people will sit rigidly. if the intruder persists in remaining. the orientation is the most direct. on public transport and at football matches will usually avoid a direct orientation. This may either have its roots in the long­ established tradition of backing out of the presence of royalty. It can be interesting to observe how differently people orientate themselves to the boss and to the cleaner or janitor. It seems to be the case that where the threat potential is highest.

All of this should serve to indicate that you can use orientation to invite or to avoid interaction with others. Someone who is a non-person or a 'fly on the wall' has a unique opportunity to observe human behaviour which is denied to the rest of us. If an indirect orientation is used. This is but one of the many differences between the sexes in the use of body language. a strange kind of divided orientation is often observable. though it may take rather longer. the upper part of the body may point towards one person and the lower to the third. there may be occasional turns of the head towards conversation partners j ust to show that one has not switched off altogether. In such a case. A non-person is anyone we act towards as if they were not there. In a group of three. Generally speaking. a direct orientation will invite interaction. One phenomenon which shows some unusual behaviour is in the case of people regarding others as non-persons. Examples of such behaviour might be: o 0) • • • doctors discussing hospital patients when those patients are present diners conversing and ignoring waiters people in their pyj amas or night-dresses opening the door to postmen and milkmen and feeling no embarrassment in doing so. this will stop a conversation dead. they will stand closer to each other and will use a more direct orientation than when men are talking together. Often. you can use an indirect orientation as you approach other people so as to . In this. Facing another and turning the head away or looking over the other's shoulder at other people present has the same effect. There has been the suggestion that if this were not done the third person would feel left out. this will usually mean the involvement in the conversation is less.78 When women are talking together. This may well be why it is often regarded as the height of rudeness to do this. the more attention is normally being paid. Making interaction easier The more direct the degree of orientation. If you turn your back on someone. Such individual differences and cultural differences will be apparent in several of the chapters in this book.

without loss of face. in fact.remove any possible stranger threat and to permit easier retreat if they indicate they do not wish to talk to you. find it easier to recall when lying down? Then. stand up and continue your thoughts. Then lie down and continue your reflections. See if you can determine. After five minutes. who the high-status individuals are. you were applying for a job) in the . It is worth noting that mutual gazing increases with an indirect body orientation. enlist the help of another person or of two or three others. increased eye contact will enhance the possibilities of successful interaction. Do they sit in some degree of isolation from the others? Do they have larger desks? Do they have more circulation space around their desks? Do they tend to sit at one end of the room or in the middle? What other territorial markers can you identify? How do the others approach the desks of superiors? How do superiors coming in from other departments behave? An ideal opportunity for carrying out this exercise would be if your observation point overlooked an organization's offices. It is something which can be used to help us to communicate non­ verbally more effectively with others. It is thus another useful weapon in our armoury which we should not neglect. Conduct an interview (as if. on the basis of how space is allocated and how people present use proximity and orientation. Do you find it easier to reflect when lying down. standing up. reflect on what has happened to you during the day (clearly you will need to attempt this exercise in the evening). If approach is allowed. you can switch to a more direct orientation at an appropriate point. as this chapter has predicted? 3 Are you sitting comfortably? If you can. sofa or settee and try thinking about your life as a child. say. So the balance of orientation with other aspects of body language needs to be carefully watched for encouraging others to interact. 2 Lateral thi n king Lie down on a couch. Do you. As we saw in Chapter 1 . 79 Exercises and experiments 1 Who is the boss around here? Try to observe a large open-plan office.

3 III � 5. try using proximity and orientation in the ways suggested in this chapter to invite others to interact with you. i. cafeteria or club) where people like you habitually come to meet other people. Which seems to be the most productive? If you cannot do this. so much the better. 5 Social orienteering Study the various social situations in which you find yourself in the course of a day and try to identify which is the most appropriate degree of proximity and orientation in each case. try to do it lying down. When you review them. Are they the ones with the greatest degree of informality or those where the orientation is formal? If you can videotape the proceedings and then play them back with the sound turned up. CD various seating arrangements suggested in this chapter. watch some interviews on television with the sound turned down. You may also try placing yourself deliberately on the periphery of events and observe the differences in the ways people react. o ::::I o :::!.80 'CI �. 4 Come and tal k to me The next time you are in a place (like a bar. How do your reactions compare with your observations on exercises in previous chapters when you were not lying down? Have you identified any ways of improving your use of proximity and orientation which were not discussed in this chapter? . Hint: the easiest way will be to place yourself in or near to the centre of activity in the chosen place. Record your observations in your notebook or on tape. and observe from the use of proximity and orientation which seem to be progressing most satisfactorily.

for the fonner carries the impl ication of accidental touch ing and the latter impl ies a deliberate act • the difference is not a rigid one and it is only possible to d istinguish the two on the basis of which part of the body is doing the touching.. m n .. .. In this chapter you will ieam: • about body contact and touching • the main d isti nction that is made between these two is one of intent. _.c­ o c... '< n o ::l ..

Once outside the library. though perhaps not in quite as many as we might. In all other respects. Touching can have a powerful effect on how we react to a situation. smell. touch becomes a most important sense and it is through it that much of our earliest experience of communicating with others comes. the students were asked to rate the library assistant and the library generally on a rating scale. The only thing that changed was whether or not touching occurred.82 Touch is probably the first of our senses to develop. j udged the assistant (and the library) more favourably than those who had not been touched. We are too quick to place a sexual connotation upon touching and ours is not a very liberated society even now. Such is the power of even a fleeting. sexually speaking. for ours is not a society which encourages adults to touch each other. Even if we are touched accidentally or unintentionally. we can still be significantly affected by it. Touching is more likely to occur in some situations than in others. not only socially and emotionally but physically. . And this was true both for those who were aware of having been touched and for those who were not. The baby in the womb cannot see. barely noticeable touching experience. especially the females. to express tenderness or sympathy and to show support. but not of others. But we do use various forms of touching. Research has shown that where babies (and other young animals) are deprived of touching by others their development is stunted. behaviour was kept constant. We use touch in many ways. taste or hear (though the last may not be true) . People are more likely to touch: • • • • • • • when giving information or advice than when receiving it when giving an order rather than responding to one when asking a favour rather than granting one when trying to persuade rather than being persuaded when at a party rather than at work when expressing excitement rather than listening to someone else's excitement when listening to someone else's worries rather than expressing their own. Those who had been touched. Once born. the library assistant touched the hands of some in passing the card over. Mark Knapp reported an experiment in which. as library cards were being returned to students. to encourage.

and by an opposite­ sex friend. because you cannot be closer to people (at least physically) than when you are touching them. by a same-sex friend. by their father.2 and you should compare your own findings with them. Make larger drawings of your own if this will help. Exercise review This kind of research was first carried out by Sidney Jourard and has been conducted by many other people since. longer embraces were observed more frequently in departures than in arrivals. Try to ask an equal number of males and females. The exception is the amount of touching of certain parts of the body permitted to mothers. in which the body is divided into various parts. homosexuals) allow much more touching of most parts of the body by opposite-sex friends than by anyone else. Exercise: who's touching who? 83 Using drawings like those in Figure 7. what they mean and how we can make better use of them in developing our body language skills. But we should still find that we can identify ways of using bodily contact to better effect. A number of studies have also found that touching is more often initiated by men than women. Why do you think the same amount is not permitted to or expected from fathers? Why is there such a d ifference between same-sex friends and opposite-sex friends? Is the reason purely sexual? You might like to speculate on the answers to these questions as no one really knows the answers. in this chapter. The results are nearly always pretty much the same. As one might perhaps expect. most people (except. Record the responses on the figures by means of tallies (see page 85 for example). A typical set is given in Figure 7. Ask them to identify the parts they would expect to be touched by their mother. Further findings will emerge as we look. conduct a brief survey amongst your friends and acquaintances to see where they allow other people to touch them. This can make it dangerous to make mistakes. As you can see. at the kinds of bodily contact there are. It is an area in which we shall have to take more than usual care.One study found that 60% of people greeting or saying goodbye at an airport were touching. . 1 . perhaps.

84 o .. Male figure 7 ..... 1 whe re are you a l l owed to touch? Female ..

Touched by mother M F Touched by mother M F Touched by same-sex friend Touched by opposite-sex friend D M = = 0-25% � = 26-50% IIIIIIIID = 5 1 -75% = 76.M F M F 85 o ...1 00% Male F = Female f i g u re 7 .... 2 w h e re p e o p l e t o u c h .

Touching implies that the actions are deliberate.. cheek.. face Hands Mouth. The terms are not clearly defined in this way.86 Bodily contact and touching But it might be worthwhile making some distinctions between bodily contact and touching. In the main. Several kinds of contact have been identified. hand Face Hand. Michael Argyle tells us that some of the following are most common in Western cultures: Type of touching Parts of the body involved include [ � Haptics i s the name often given t o describe touching behaviour. arm Hand. bodily contact refers to actions which are accidental... back Face. I o . chest Cheek Hair. hand. but usually touching will carry the connotation of a more active involvement of the person doing the touching . however. in the literature on body language and perhaps it is in any case too fine a distinction for our purposes here.. body Arms Hands Bottom Hair. Patting Slapping Punching Pinching Stroking Shaking Kissing Licking Holding Guiding Embracing Linking Laying-on Kicking Grooming Tickling Head. conscious. bottom Face. unconscious and made by any part of the body. face Anywhere . We shall use both terms. arm Shoulder. and made primarily by the hands..

but they almost always occur in this order: 1 Eye to body 2 Eye to eye 3 Voice to voice 4 Hand to hand 5 Arm to shoulder 6 Arm to waist 7 Mouth to mouth 8 Hand to head 9 Hand to body 10 Mouth to breast 1 1 Hand to genitals 12 Genitals to genitals What the various kinds of touching mean.. 3 Friendship-warmth such as a friendly pat on the back or a shoulder embrace. depends on several factors: • • • • • • • • • which part of the body touched the other person which part of the body is touched how long the touch lasts how much pressure is used whether there is movement after contact has been made whether anyone else is present if others are present. a doctor with a patient.j ust as complex as for any other aspect of body language. a tailor with a customer. .Richard Hedin has placed the various types of touching into categories ranging from very impersonal messages to very personal messages: 1 Functional-professional such as a golf pro with a student.. Desmond Morris identified twelve steps which Western couples pass through on the way to sexual intimacy. however.. hand clasps. 4 Love-intimacy such as touching a loved one's cheek or a lover's kiss. All in all. 87 o .. 2 Social-polite such as handshakes. Occasionally a step may be missed out. the determination of meaning for touching is a complex affair . who they are the situation in which the touching occurs and its mood the relationship between the people involved.. 5 Sexual arousal such as the mutual touching which accompanies love-making.

Handshakes are particulaIly common and. but the best advice is: when in doubt. Weak handshakes seem to be associated in men with effeminacy and a general ineffectiveness of personality. which has even been known to produce an expression of pain on the part of the recipient. from the limpest-wristed holding out of a hand and allowing the other person to hold it weakly and briefly to the strongest and most vigorous shaking of the other's hand.. If it happens by mutual consent all well and good. Sexual touching is a very dangerous area for everyday experimentation and. bodily contact is often a normal part of the occasion.88 <:) . because of the possibilities of misinterpretation. It follows. as we have already seen. if the handshake is too weak. Attitudes towards touching can vary considerably. You should not assume that if you go around touching people they will necessarily like it... They can take many forms. Touching can lead to liking. You need hands There are some reasonably safe areas in which bodily contact can be increased. don't touch. You have to find out through observation the kinds of contact people feel comfortable with before you increase the various forms of even non-sexual fondling. You should remember . it may be perceived as being offered insincerely and reluctantly. but even here.. Far better to use other body language skills to develop the relation­ ship and let greater bodily contact occur naturally as a part of this process. therefore. Most people seem to prefer handshakes which are on the firm side rather than the weak. Some people for whom various forms of bodily contact (embracing.. Women may get away with a weaker handshake. Touching implies a bond between the toucher and the touched. In greetings and farewells.. the Human Potential movement (originally a California-based group of social psychologists and others) believed that touching leads to liking. hugging and kissing) are a normal part of family life tend to have more positive attitudes than those for whom it is rare. they can often be introduced without any awkwardness or embarrassment. Indeed. that the main variations in how we respond to being touched depend on the closeness of the relationship between ourselves and the other person. There is a very close connection between touching and liking. if they do not occur spontaneously. is best left alone. but not in isolation from other aspects of body language.

grooming the hair. There may well be some truth in this.. the shoulder or the back.. If only we could get back. Observe a car driver who is being 'tailgated' (that is. Some common forms of this are stroking the chin. but it is difficult to see how it can be achieved. Desmond Morris included hand-holding in what he called 'tie-signs'. 89 o . to a situation in which we hugged each other as freely as children do. Very often. after all. It needs to be fairly positive. we should all be much happier for it. as adults. and embraces of various kinds. warm and friendly if it is to come anywhere near to doing its j ob. though once again the guiding principle as to what is possible is what is appropriate. try to observe drivers on motorways. the 'pat'. Hands are also used for more prolonged holding than occurs in the handshake. in which a person is patted on the arm. drivers in this situation will scratch their heads or their eyebrows or the side of their face.that the purpose of a handshake is to greet someone or bid them farewell or to cement an agreement. If you doubt this and consider that such actions are simply because the driver has an itch.. H ugging and kissing There is a school of psychological thought which attributes many of our contemporary personal and social problems to the fact that.. The same may well apply to activities like cuddling and tickling. Do not do the tailgating yourself. we do not indulge in hugging and being hugged as much as when we were children. scratching the head and rubbing the nose. There are. the driver behind is far too close for safety at the speed being travelled) . People are usually put into two categories: touchers and non­ touchers. Such actions often occur during moments of stress. in which the hand is used to guide someone in the direction in which you want them to go by means of light pressure on the person's back. those who enjoy bodily contact and respond to it readily and those who are reluctant to become involved in much touching and tend to shy away from it. You will find a noticeable increase in self-touching during moments of tension and stress such as occur in tailgating. Perhaps we could each make a start by hugging those closest to us a little more often. they argue. The hands can be used in self-touching. though. or behaviour which indicates the existence of a personal relationship. There is some evidence that there is an association . Other examples are the 'body-guide'.. for obvious reasons.

Between strangers. In others. exceptions are small children and also. there is hardly any kissing at all. Don 't push Aggressive behaviour often involves bodily contact. it is much more difficult for a nurse to do the same to a doctor or for a patient to touch a doctor. o . it is indeed probably better that such 'stroking' should be verbal rather than non-verbal. however. In everyday life we tend to have to substitute verbal stroking for physical stroking.. It is easy enough for a doctor to give a nurse an encouraging pat on the back or to touch a patient. the founder of transactional analysis. in which touching is not only generally permissible but actually encouraged. Eric Berne. Again. though much aggression can be expressed verbally. Kissing experiences are less easy to generate because of their more frequent sexual associations... even during lovemaking. ballroom dancing and not disco dancing in which the participants rarely. of course. A built-in appeasement mechanism seems to prevent us from going so far as to damage each other. the very old. There is one activity. That is in dancing (that is. Those who feel in any way deprived of touching experiences can remedy the situation in any dance hall . with touchers preferring open gestures and non­ touchers tending to use closed gestures. Another difficulty in extending the frequency of activities like hugging and kissing is the relationship between bodily contact and status. . saw such 'stroking' as wishing someone well or hoping they would 'have a nice day' as being very important in improving interpersonal relationships. if ever. perhaps. that they know the dance steps. but it would be impossible to extend this to one's superior at work. Dancing can be a preliminary to later intimacy or it can be indulged in entirely for its own sake. In some families and social groups. one.provided.90 with gestures.. touch). This affects all touching behaviour.. aggression is the innate response to attack. According to Michael Argyle. it is customary for members meeting or departing from each other to exchange a brief kiss. frustration and competition for resources. Stroking and caressing are touching behaviours reserved for those whose relationship is a close. It is easy enough to hug and kiss a child. unless provoked beyond our limits of tolerance. Usually threat displays are much more common than actual bodily contact. usually sexual.

Similarly. friendly or protective arms round shoulders can be ways in which we can show people that we are on their side. after all. friendly handshake which will give others some reassurance in interacting with us. We can engage in the social kiss in those situations in which it is appropriate.. touching can also produce favourable reactions from others and is thus a means of influencing the judgements and even the actions of others... Better bodily contact From all of this we can perhaps extract some ways in which we can improve our performance in what we have already identified as a highly sensitive area of body language which is fraught with dangers for the careless and the unwary. It would clearly be better if we could react to aggressive situations in the same kind of way that we react to uninvited bodily contact in such places as tube trains. You should remember that. This has more than a metaphorical application for. Young men may often be boisterous with each other.Amongst children a great deal 'of apparently violent play can occur more often among boys than girls. just as carrying out the exercises in other chapters. sparring and generally indulging in horseplay.. where we respond to the inevitability of contact not by fighting it but by turning our heads away from the immediate source of contact. Such activities may even be ways in which we can get aggressive tendencies out of our systems. as we have seen. shoulder or back can be a gesture of encouragement or support. An old saying runs that the best way to knock a chip off a person's shoulder is to pat him or her on the back. touching can promote liking. 91 o . an activity which frequently becomes a form of sexual foreplay. Turning the other cheek may. We can develop a firm (but not too firm). Often. As the study quoted at the beginning of the chapter showed. patting on the arm. in the right circumstances. Touching is appropriate when congratulating others on some achievement or . have a practical day-to-day application. Carrying out some of the exercises at the end of this chapter. as such an attitude is frequently the result of being ignored or undervalued in some way. this is just what people with 'chips on their shoulders' need. For deciding which situations are appropriate we have to develop our sensitivity to touch receptiveness on the part of others. will help you build up a general sensitivity to the use of all the various aspects of body language.. Lovers can engage in playful pinching..

Ask one of them to blindfold you and then direct you to another person. observe people's touching behaviour. Try to identify that person by touching their face and head only. try maintaining the contact for slightly longer than usual. kisses and so on. hugs.. Can you find any general rules for identifying people by touch? How do people feel about being identified in this way? 4 Shake hands. How easy is it to do this? Get the others to take it in tums to carry out the exercise. Discuss your responses to the activity.92 success. bar or other public place. sister. What are their. pal During the course of a day. How do you feel about doing this? How do other people respond? .. Touching can often be used legitimately to attract attention. restaurant. 2 Give me a hug The next time it is appropriate. Are there differences in other aspects of each group's use of body language? o . this is in the form of pats on the back. especially from someone whose attention is clearly elsewhere. Try to identify the touchers and the non-touchers. in the form of handshakes... brother. It can also be used when guiding people. wife. Usually. reactions? Do you feel that people prefer a stronger or a weaker handshake? How do you react to the handshakes you receive from others? What is your own preference as far as handshakes are concerned? 5 Holding on longer On those occasions when you find yourself in physical contact with others whom you know well. handshaking or hugging.. Examples might be mother. hug someone whom you know well but who you would perhaps not think it necessary to hug in order to communicate your affection for them . What are your reactions to this exercise? What was their response? 3 Who is it? Enlist the cooperation of one or two friends. husband or other close relation. try giving the people you meet different kinds of handshakes when you meet them. Exercises and experiments 1 Don't touch me In a cafe. father.

In this chapter you will learn: • about physique appearance and • sim ple changes to these can have an effect upon an individual's ability to interact successful ly with others which is not insignificant. .

gargles. Some aspects are completely within our control. this is not the case. Mark Knapp invited us to envisage a typical American morning scene. Knapp quoted some dramatic. Appearance and physique may not always make the difference between honesty and a life of crime. He felt a change of appearance would lead to a change of behaviour and reduce antisocial tendencies. . need to be taken seriously if we are to further our mastery of body language. examples of how our appearance can affect others. eye liner and false eyelashes. Indeed. as we shall see. A research psychologist found that a woman hitch-hiker could double the number of lifts she was offered by adding two inches of padding to her bust. She puts on her girdle. to be areas over which we can exert little control but. but others are only partly so. dress in what we wore the day before and set out to confront whatever the day has to offer. however. they are areas in which we have considerable scope for manipulation. pats on his aftershave and decides what to wear.94 i ii1 ::I III 2 III ::I Q. The size and shape of our bodies and the way we cover those bodies with clothing of various kinds exerts a considerable influence over how other people perceive us and over how much attention they pay to us. rouge (or blusher). A nineteen­ year-old girl with a face so deformed that people were repelled by it committed a crime in order to be arrested. Appearance does. These would seem. l i!i Ii We turn now to considering the communicative value of the way we look to other people. The man of the house shaves his face. There is no doubt that we go to a great deal of trouble to make ourselves presentable to the world. We clearly realize that the way we look makes a difference to the way others will react and respond to us. There may be many more things to do before she feels ready to face the world. She puts on her face with eyebrow pencil. Very few of us indeed simply climb out of bed. and hence ourselves. The lady of the house replaces her night-time bra with a slightly padded uplift bra. at first sight. without it appearing as such to those we meet in the course of our daily lives. removes his false teeth from their overnight soak. The judge ordered plastic surgery for her. and disturbing. lipstick. mascara. A judge in Italy fined a German woman tourist for crossing her legs in such a way as to bare a thigh whilst she sat drinking coffee with friends at a roadside cafe.

What differences do you notice in the way your friends react? In the way strangers react? Do men react differently from women? How do you feel about dressing differently? Does it make you feel uncomfortable or is it a liberating experience? Exercise review You should have found. you may well have found that a different style of dress would be better for you in future because it will enable you to interact more successfully with others. Many companies have a 'dress code' . If you are in the habit of wearing a suit and tie. They reveal something about our income. If this exercise has persuaded a few to be a trifle more adventurous. and from them we make certain judgements. that is. Timid people often have a tendency to dress perhaps a little too conservatively. if you receive no adverse comment at all. dress very casually. First impressions As we saw in the last chapter. At the best. that you can change your appearance and other people will tolerate it even if they may comment adversely. our status.communicative value. we look first at their bodies before we establish eye contact. or vice versa. However. If this is the case and you always dress in the same way. not only from your colleagues or workmates but also from your superiors. in moderate and colder climates. you now know you can be more varied in you r choice of attire. you could well receive critical comments. you either work in a liberal environment or in a job where choice of clothing does not matter. If you deviate from clothing norms at work. but in general it is true. Clothes can give confidence if they are selected carefully with an eye to what is most appropriate. but they still have considerable . our first contact with other people is 'eye to body'. our . Exceptions there may be to this.Exercise: a complete change of clothing 95 The next time you go out socially. it may very well have served a particularly useful purpose. be necessary for protection and may be required by the culture on grounds of modesty. at the very least. Clothes may. dress i n an entirely different way from the way in which you usually dress. This means that the first things we usually see are the clothes they are wearing. Your boss may even tell you to go home and change into your normal work clothes.

unless our clothes support what we say. Advice to the overweight. all kinds of trousers or shorts. They will certainly give our game away. open-necked shirts. Fashion is particularly influential in determining what young people will wear. or what displays our bodies so as to convey to others the image we have of ourselves. This reflects changes in society. People can tell a great deal about us simply from our choice of clothes from the great variety available. say of wealth or of fashion-consciousness. It is no good our trying to give an impression to others. Clothes can. though nowadays there is no single fashion to follow. Even things 'thrown on' in the most hurried and casual manner still speak volumes. We must not neglect the effect of body shape within the clothes. It includes uniforms of various kinds and even the business executive's suit. but we tend to choose what we shall wear on the basis of what is comfortable. We also have to take into account the prevailing 'rules' about what is acceptable. and many other things. formal clothes are more common at work and informal at play. Generally speaking. our personality. and invitations to functions which say 'dress informal' may still mean you will be frowned on if you turn up in well­ worn sweater and jeans. you are wearing a j acket and tie. Jewellery and other adornments complete the effect of the clothes. Women may now also wear these things as well as jumpers and skirts and dresses of an astonishing variety. So fashion is no longer the restricting influence over choice that it once was. be categorized in many ways. often recommends darker colours for the lower part of the body and lighter ones for . The converse can be observed on continental beaches in summer when a woman may feel overdressed if she wears anything more than a bikini bottom. At one time not so long ago lounge suits were thought of as informal. Many clubs and even bars and restaurants will not serve you unless.96 occupation. of course. Formal can include more than tuxedos or dinner j ackets. in an everyday context. if you are male. School uniforms may be regarded as formal. informal dress usually now means j ust this and also includes anoraks. Our bodies may determine more than the size of shirt or dress. and so on. for example. However. but one basic distinction is whether they are formal or informal. what covers our bodies with appropriate modesty.

it can become an important element in our communicative style. Sometimes they overdo it and come over as too smooth. How often all these factors change will influence how often we change our clothing. too ingratiating. usually. Our clothing will show our age and sex. even fat can be disguised and so promote the possibility of achieving a better first impression. It is difficult to dress as an international jet-setting playboy if you are 50 years old and weigh 1 8 stone (250 lb. Those who dress reasonably smartly and conventionally are more likely to be taken as experts in their subject than those whose dress is casual and too informal. Some interesting studies have even shown that the extent to which students will accept what a teacher says is affected by his or her appearance. others go through several changes a day. Our choice of clothing tells others who we are. 97 You 've gotta have style Clearly. It identifies our uniqueness or. then. where more introverted people will choose quieter or drabber colours and the more outgoing will go for brighter and even contrasting colours. Appearance thus gives some useful clues as to what people we are meeting for the first time will be like.sometimes we may wish to be flamboyant (say. our similarity to others. too bland. This may be limited by our physique. too much aftershave and so on. They go over the top and become Uriah Heeps.the top. 1 14 kg) . at a fancy dress party) and sometimes to merge with the crowd. It shows how we view our own personality. . and may even give hints about our social class or status and our occupation. That is why salesmen and public relations officers take so much trouble to be smart in appearance. vertical stripes rather than horizontal. It may also be affected by our mood at the time . Most teachers seem to be unaware of this and place a relatively low value on appearance. It appears that. with care. breast pocket handkerchiefs. and so on. How much we communicate to others through our choice of clothing can depend on how much we want to communicate. The trick is to go only so far as convention dictates and to avoid too many extra touches like buttonholes. or at least it tells them how we see ourselves. quite apart from considerations of personal hygiene. since how we dress can be manipulated. Some people seem to wear the same sweater and jeans for ever. if we are wearing a uniform. This is often conveyed by colour.

Women generally have a wider pelvis. since they exist.:. are hairier (though they often become bald in later life) and have a greater tendency to develop a pot belly. Still there are ways in which even women in men's clothing can be identified as female. if only we can get through to it. Even juries are influenced by appearance. resulting in what Desmond Morris called the 'crotch gap'. Inevitably. They also have deeper voices. But this is not necessarily so. What is being communicated is more important than how. They are thus better protected against physical attacks. this is not as easy as it sounds. are better throwers.g c CD III ii1 . They have slender waists and thicker thighs. They have broader shoulders and longer arms. They have longer legs and larger feet in proportion to the rest of their bodies. We would be less than fair to ourselves here if we ignored them. the differences in the appearance and physique of men and women are inescapable. a sensible natural provision for their role as child bearers. Sorting the men from the women Even in an age in which sex equality is being actively sought and 'sexist' comments and views are frowned upon. attractive young women get lighter sentences. they affect the ways in which we respond to each other non-verbally. Well-dressed. according to the research. . Recent confusions have been created as a result of an increased use of make-up by men and a trend for women to wear the same clothes as men. unless their crime was one in which their appearance was an asset to them. You might think all this would make it an easy matter to tell men and women apart. a i Sometimes we need to be able to set aside appearance and physique and see through to the real message being communi­ cated. They run faster. lungs and hearts. bigger chests.98 i 2 'D III . We must not allow the medium to become the message. Men tend to be taller and heavier than women. as in blackmail or confidence trickery. Their navels are deeper and their bellies longer. stronger skulls and sturdier jaws. for women do not grow beards. They are generally stronger and able to carry more. However. They have rounder bottoms and have more of a hip sway when walking. and are better long distance runners. There are certain areas of the anatomy to which we can look for clues: the face. The breasts usually protrude. for instance.

One might perhaps ask why we need to be able to detect sex differences. but for those who find them amusing part of the answer lies in the fact that they often exaggerate female characteristics by making-up too heavily. or homosexual. Yet there can be good reasons for attempting to change. It used to be that gay men had slighter builds and adopted characteristically female postures and gestures even when they did not actually dress in women's clothes. mesomorph ( muscular) or endomorph (fat). agreeable and dependent. In many everyday encounters. Nowadays. Thus. mesomorphs as adventurous and self-reliant. There are those who find such behaviour faintly ludicrous. Body shapes are generally classified as ectomorph (thin and bony). Perhaps they are also a sign that our culture is still a fairly sexist one. the roles of the sexes are to a large extent inter­ changeable. appearance and physique ? This is becoming more difficult to answer. . It changes people's perceptions of you and affects the amount of notice they take of you. Even clothing which masks fatness can achieve a similar result. Michael Argyle reports that ectomorphs are usually perceived by others as quiet and tense. 2 Is there a 'gay'. 99 i 2 ::s III iii III ::s a. it is true. even being fat can have its compensations. EJ· C ID I Body shape and size It is easier to change your appearance than your physique. such as jogging. or even appear to change. consider two questions: 1 Why are female impersonators so funny? Some would doubt that they are. in passing. Gay women used to wear men's clothing or clothing that had a distinctly masculine appearance to it. these distinctions are less pronounced. Successful slimmers often report an improvement in their social lives. over-dressing and having larger than normal artificial busts. It is fashionable today to be slim and women more than men go to great lengths to reduce their body size by dieting. In an advanced industrial society. the sex of the participants is not really important. This may be an indication that our sexist society is becoming less so. We might. but some changes can be made. it is only when it comes to courtship and mating that the differences become essential. the shape and size of your body. Men tend to try to achieve a similar result by means of exercise. and endomorphs as warm-hearted.

1 00 DI 'tI m ::::J o 111 DI ::::J Q. 'tI iil � li· c::: 111 Ecto m o r p h Mesomorph E n d o m o rp h figure 8 . 1 b o d y s h a p e s .

People often change after a traumatic event in their personal relationships. Young men may grow moustaches or beards because these make them appear more mature. obesity. One of the paradoxes of life is that older people often try to look younger while younger people try to look older. especially if they lack the will to do anything about it. and then to set about achieving it in a reasonably resolute manner. After a separation or divorce (and sometimes after a bereavement). and not necessarily for the worse. Again. We can often resist sagging of the features.a c ID People change Ray Birdwhistell suggested that we learn to be who we are: it is not something which is pre-determined and unchangeable. our mouth shape. There are changes which appear as we grow older. those who slim to the point of anorexia often have a poor self-image and also become depressed. They may begin going to dances and socializing for the first time in many years. There would seem to be nothing very harmful in such activities. If others respond positively to such changes and if you feel better at the same time. it opens up further possibilities for changing our appearance. People who become fat in middle age can become quite depressed by the change. they could well have a generally beneficial effect. He agreed that the set of our eyebrows. some people suddenly become much more lively and outgoing. If this is only partly true. . It accounts for the fact that the people of some regions look so much alike when it cannot be attributed to shared genes. Motivation does. seem to be the single most significant factor in determining what kind of change is achieved and for how long. Balding men may begin to wear toupees. our face contours and many other aspects of appearance are all learned from other people we live and mix with. 1 01 I ::::I III ii1 Ii! III '1:1 a i . in fact. slimmers often report an increase in confidence and a greater sense of well­ being. The trick seems to be to decide on the body shape and size that is the best combination of what you want and what you can achieve. but perhaps we can learn to avoid or postpone some of them without going to extremes.Changes can also affect your view of yourself. Conversely. stooping and many other changes by proper attention to diet and exercise. to want to attain it sufficiently strongly.

Pay particular attention to your face and skin. If you are completely bald. try being a little more informal. Men may try growing beards or moustaches to see what effect they have. say. you. You might change your hairstyle. not only on others' reactions. it need not be an expensive experience. or have someone else do it. It is fast becoming acceptable even for men to dye their hair. If you shop carefully. It is best to consult your general practitioner about the best method for you. You might start by changing your clothing. You might change the colour of your hair. but also on how they feel themselves. or did not give. Women may change their make-up. Try it for a specified period.1 02 I mproving your image Suppose you wanted to review your appearance and physique and do something to improve them. If you can. There are many beauty books available which contain a wealth of advice on how to make the most of what nature gave. three months. But also study recent photographs of yourself. Observe yourself in shop windows as you walk down a street. What do your friends look like? Have you perhaps allowed yourself to grow to look a little too much like them? Have you become a bird of a feather? . you could try slimming and taking exercise. videotape yourself. how would you start? The first step would be to do the obvious: look in a mirror. Observe other people to see what trends there are in the various fashions. If you are overweight. If you habitually wear clothes of rather subdued colours. try being a little more colourful. you could wear a toupee. If you normally dress formally. or vice versa. You may well see something that would suit you in the way others dress and present themselves to the world. A new look here can have a considerably uplifting effect upon your personality and general confidence. Build up a picture in your mind and then set about making changes where you feel you most need to. Many modern ones are scarcely detectable in wear. Try experimenting a little with different kinds of clothing. There is no need to enrol in expensive slimming clubs unless you feel you need to be in the company of like-minded others in order to succeed.

sex. Classify your family. a lot of jewellery Glasses. short skirt. black polished shoes Sports jacket with leather el bows. If you do not fit a type easily. Cut the heads off so that the clothing will be emphasized. Make a list of these factors. Are you birds of a feather? Does anyone stand out as the odd one? Do daughters tend to look like mothers and sons like fathers? What other similarities and differences do you notice? 3 Whose clothes are these? For each of the following sets of clothing. as in most things. they find attractive when they give a high score. Do you like what you see? Classify your friends. look at the older members especially: you might see what you will look like in a few years' time. old jeans. select the nearest one. jeans. bikini bottom Black ornate leather jacket. seamed tights. Here. status (or social class) and typical occupation of the owner: a b c d e f 9 h Pin-stripe suit. black shoes Sunglasses pushed up on to top of forehead. leather gloves. old training shoes Flat cap. Ask several of your family and friends to rate the pictures for attractiveness on a scale of 0 to 1 0. ecto or meso? Classify yourself as an endomorph. flowery dress.There is no need to go over the top and overdo the changes. What do you really want to look like ? Decide that and then set about it in a determined and resolute manner. or ask a good friend to classify you. moderation is the key. black umbrella Old sweater. specifically. old suede shoes Broderie anglais white blouse. dark trousers. Ask them what. copy Cut out a series of magazine pictures which show people pretty much like yourself in various kinds of clothing. black skirt. ectomorph or mesomorph. white coat. 1 03 Exercises and experiments 1 Don't innovate. brown overall. Try to incorporate them into your own clothing. black shoes Tight yellow sweater. suggest the age. Is there a predominant family type? If you are young. Are the results beneficial? 2 Endo. high-heeled shoes Flowing. grey trousers. crumpled trousers. old school tie. leather boots .

Speculate on their age. giving a's clothes to wearer b.1 04 Use your imagination and change the wearers around (Le. c's clothes to wearer i. and so on). eyes and nose both disproportionately small . the jaw line and chin almost lost in fat. . Go to a railway station.it is given backwards): LLl HCRUHC NOTSN IW. dimpled cheeks of a baby. and wearing a dark. status (or social class) and likely occupation. Answer (do not read until you have decided or unless you give up . with the soft skin and round. on his head a black homburg hat. bus station or airport and ask some members of the public for directions to a pre-selected place. 6 Who is this? An obese old man. dress scruffily in your oldest clothes and conduct the same experiment. On another day. What are the effects of doing this? 4 Asking for information Dress smartly in conventional dress. the mouth richly curled and holding a cigar. ask to find out how accurate you were. sex. three-piece suit. observe the appearance and physique of other people. What differences do you notice in the ways people respond to you? 5 J udging strangers As you go about your daily business. What factors do you take into account in making your judgements? If the opportunity arises naturally.

In this chapter you will ieam: • about timing and synchro­ nization as aspects of body language • the im portance of time in Western cu lture • how well we synchronize when talking to others. .

Each head was asked to be prepared to spend an hour or more on the discussion. though they may actually achieve more than those who are forever dashing about but may be getting nowhere. appointments were forgotten. there is almost an obsession with time in our Western culture. Our interest here in the field is in what it can tell us not only about . What these heads of departments were doing. The tempo of our activities tells others a great deal about us. in fact. This aspect of body language (the alternative title non-verbal communication would. We shall also consider the role of synchrony in body language when people are conversing. and the length of the interview itself was often cut down to 10 or 1 5 minutes. We regard slow-pace people as lazy. We place a high importance on punctuality and on keeping to a pre­ determined schedule. washing the car. What actually happened was that. Exercise: faster communication Select an activity.how the use of time affects communication between people.1 06 I n his book The Silent Language. If you choose reading. Our concept of time is central to our world view. in Hall's story. writing letters or reports. Any activity will do. Special attention was given to arranging the interviews. but some of the easiest ones for this type of exercise are reading. Edward Hall told u s o f an assignment he once had as a member of a mayor's committee on human relations in a big American city. whether consciously or unconsciously. to express in words. be more accurate here) is covered by the term chronemics. keeping people waiting is a particularly hostile action. walking from the station to the office. was using time to communicate something which they probably would not have had the courage. One simple way to impress others is to appear to be always busy with lots of meetings and appointments. he had to wait for long periods in outer offices. or the rudeness. A fast pace is more highly thought of in the West than a slow one. Time your activity. He had to interview heads of departments to assess whether non-discrimination practices could be adopted. but also about how we can improve our skill in communicating by improving our use of time. Indeed. That is one reason why. Time can thus be a powerful non­ verbal communicator. time how long you take to read your . in spite of the care taken over the arrangements. or the study of the use of time.

which is a not insignificant amount of time. it is important that we should avoid hurrying. Similar savings should be possible in a wide range of activities. If you have carried out the instructions in the exercise faithfully.). if you choose writing. for instance. etc. you should find that it is possible to save considerable amounts of time not only in communication but also in everyday life generally. in a notebook) of your results. Then. In writing the possibilities for speeding up. In reading. is the old adage 'More haste. . to increase the flow rate. how long it takes to write a single letter or report. without loss of comprehension. especially with regard to timing the activity and keeping a record (say. Do not put any great effort into this. In our search for ways of improving time use in communication. however. The average increase in speed is usually about 50% . Sometimes the increase in speed can be quite sUbstantial. letters and reports of the same length. to try to complete the task in slightly less time and to keep a record of these times. Exercise review 1 07 You should have found that you can speed up any activity without suffering loss of quality in performance. or saving time. say. are more limited. it is not unknown for increases in speed of 1 00 % . make a conscious effort to speed up just a little. Each time. simply aim to achieve a new 'personal best' each time and see what happens. Hurry can lead to error. You will also have to make sure that each task is of approximately the same size each time (a newspaper with the same number of pages to read. We need to concentrate on ways that will enable us to achieve our objective without reducing performance. time every similar activity (reading the paper. such as walking from the station to the office or washing the car. to be achieved in this simple way. then. when we will look at 12 techniques for using time more effectively.daily newspaper. writing letters or reports of about the same length and so on). after the first. The important things are to time the activity. Time and tide One way of creating time which you can use either for more effective communication or for other activities is. a journey of the same distance. but it should still be possible to achieve a saving of time on each letter or report of about 1 0% . What we need to remind ourselves of here. This is a concept to which we will return in the last section of this chapter. less speed'. over the course of the next week.

Some are at their best first thing in the morning. for example. for instance. that the average manager spends about 3 5 % of his working time communicating with others in various ways. Good times and bad times We are all aware that there are certain times when we feel good and can communicate with greater ease and enthusiasm and other times when all we wish to do is isolate ourselves and avoid all contact with other people. let us consider some of the other aspects of how our attitude to time and our use of it affect the nature and quality of our communication with other people. That is why travellers who are collecting a hire car when they fly across the Atlantic. No matter how hard we try. or write three reports. there is only a certain amount of it available to us. the pace of change is accelerating and we must either find ways of keeping up with it or fall behind. we are talking of a period of around three hours. It has been calculated. Some people find that they habitually operate better at one time of day than another. in the phenomenon of jet lag . But before we examine these time-creation techniques in more detail. Given a working day of eight hours.1 08 Another fact w e must remind ourselves o f i s that time i s a finite resource . It . are advised to stay overnight at an airport hotel and collect the car after a good night's sleep when their body has had some chance to adapt to a different time zone. When we remember that we have to allow time for sleeping. That is. These circadian rhythms affect everything we do. eating and other activities. the amount of time we spend in communicating with others is probably no more than a very few hours. say. which makes i t possible t o read three journals in the time it previously took to read two. Speeding up activities by an average of 5 0 % can thus release time. and so on. make three telephone calls.that is to say. When they become disrupted as. Others are better later in the day or even at night. we cannot squeeze any more than 24 hours out of any day.they can cause us not only to feel under the weather but also to make mistakes and unsound decisions and to behave irrationally. Time creation is thus an activity with a considerable potential for making it possible to keep pace with an increasingly rapidly changing world. all in the space previously required for two. Such feelings are often influenced by the natural time rhythms of the body.

Observations of comedians can be interesting for revealing the importance of timing. silence is often interpreted as an admission of guilt. however. Nevertheless. In police and other interrogations. as a wilful refusal to speak or as ignorance of the answer to a question. This may be a consequence of the editorial style which frequently dictates that items in programmes should be short so that several subjects can be covered in a single p rogramme. You should watch some on television and note how they wait for the laughter and applause to die down. Short hesitations. It can a l so. In other contexts. A long pa use can be an indication that a speaker has dried up. with the early part of the afternoon showing another peak (though rather lower than the morning's) and evenings being the worst time. Studies of ability in carrying out tasks at different times of the day suggest that mid-morning is best. t hat the pattern of silences and pauses returns to normal.does not seem to matter too much which category you find yourself in. Part of this difference. It is only in chat shows. . is also very important in humour. when one interviewer may talk to only two or three people in the course of an hour or so. as long as the 'larks' can do their most important work early in the day and the 'owls' can organize their lives so that the reverse happens. if people feel they are working more productively in the evenings. Rhythm. in conversation. show thoughtfulness and an unwillingness ( ) be rushed for a response. can indicate that a speaker is nervous or is telling lies. but because their pacing of the joke and their ti ming of the punchline are at fault. especially if it persists. before continuing with another gag. Perhaps it is the relative absence of distractions in the evening and at night which makes some people prefer them. it may be interpreted as shyness. Those who are poor tellers of jokes often are so not because the jokes they tell a re not funny. Pauses when people are speaking on television tend to be shorter than in any other medium. in the form of timing. 1 09 Silences and pauses The duration of silences and pauses can have communicative value. if associated with many speech errors. but not out. is an illusion. that may be a better finding for them than whatever research suggests should be appropriate.

He discovered not only that people move rhythmically when they are speaking but also that the listener moves in time with this rhythm. As one person finishes . waiting for applause or laughter to almost die out before continuing. synchronizing with others produces a rhythmic pattern which some believe is necessary for successful communication to take place at all. From a detailed frame-by-frame analysis of films of people talking to each other. his eye-blinks or the way he puffs on his pipe synchronize with the words he is listening to.110 In public speaking. control and regulate our face-to-face encounters with others. Speakers at conferences will often indicate that they expect applause by pausing. Indeed. head nods. You may even be able to identify ways in which you can improve your use of silences and pauses when communicating with others. Dovetailing in discussions A good deal of research has been carried out by kinesicists (see Chapter 4) into how we synchronize our interaction with others. but becomes apparent only when a film of a conversation is analyzed frame by frame. In some ways. in a study of the pattern of eye contact between two people who were conversing in order to get to know each other. If you can. In particular. how long they typically are and whether they occur in appropriate places. the effective public speaker uses the same kind of timing techniques as the successful comedian. This is particularly noticeable at a stage-managed political conference. researchers have discovered that we use all of the aspects of body language we have discussed so far to pace. you can see how you use silences and pauses. It is significant. that it is often only high-status members of the party who can make the technique work almost unfailingly. pauses can b e used to great effect to wring either laughter or applause from an audience. William Condon was one American researcher who spent many thousands of hours in the analysis of films. tape yourself giving a speech or even simply engaging in conversation with someone else. however. In this way. found that there is a pattern of eye contact both at the beginning and the end of long speeches. Even when a listener appears to be sitting perfectly still. we use eye contact. body movements and gestures in a far from random fashion. Much of this rhythm is not immediately obvious to a casual observer. Adam Kendon.

even the humblest of us will stand an i ncreased chance of being listened to if we use some behaviours rather than others. Normal politeness will then enable you to lower the volume and be allowed to finish it. who immediately looks away and begins saying what he wants to say. It is interesting once again to watch people talking on video.what he is saying. when he will again begin to move quite conspicuously. However. the more successfully you will be able to communi­ cate both non-verbally and verbally. he looks steadily at the other. The better you can time and synchronize your contributions to conversations and discussions. Kendon also found that. as in communication with certain kinds of mental patient. Then he may settle back and show very little movement at all until he sees that the speaker is coming to the end of what he is saying. a listener will show increased synchrony of body movements. perhaps even exactly echoing the movements of the speaker. Speaking a little louder than the general level of conversation will often secure attention for long enough to enable you to begin making your point. By moving in this way. he is signalling that he now wishes to speak. Michael Argyle suggests there are various signals which we can use to achieve this. Kendon found that if this did not happen. conversation can become impossible. We unconsciously defer to those we perceive as higher in the social or organizational hierarchy than ourselves. It is through rhythms as subtle as these that the whole process of interpersonal communication is regulated. This time. because this may be seen by others as heing as rude as interrupting. of course. If it breaks down. If we want to say something. simply interrupt. we can. 111 Getting a word in edgeways I f you wish to break into a conversation. to see if you can detect any of these very subtle movements which help people to synchronize what they are saying with what other people are saying. when someone begins to talk. it helps if you are a person of high status. showing that he is paying close attention. But there are subtler methods. however. his movements will adopt the other's rhythm but will not match them. with the sound turned down. there was often a pause before the other person began to speak. It is important not to raise the volume by much. .

How to use time effectively It will be useful for you to develop your skill in non-verbal communication by using 12 techniques. Or you can simply look steadily at the other person. as the research by Kendon indicated. you are offered an opportunity to speak. in listening. Normally. which will help you both to use time better when communicating and to use it better in a whole range of everyday activities. head nods. but again may be seen by others as rudeness if the increase in volume is excessive. drawn from chronemics. You can indicate the same thing a little more subtly by keeping a hand in mid­ gesture at the ends of sentences. To prevent someone interrupting you. You can drawl the final syllable. By using signals like these it is possible not only to increase your effectiveness in conversations and discussions with others but also to feel that you are getting more personal satisfaction out of them. or get a word in edgeways themselves. You can request further clarification of the point or you can simply restate what has been said. You can grunt or make 'uh-huh' noises. can work. on the other hand. as we have seen in Chapter 3. The triple head nod is thus interpreted by others as signalling something other than attention. Synchronization is satisfying. If. but wish to decline it for the moment. in fact. you can simply nod. you have several choices. 'but' or 'well'. You can come to the end of a hand movement which is accompanying the speech.112 Making triple head nods. This acts as a deterrent. You can finish by trailing off or saying 'you know'. Times (and hence speeds) on equivalent activities are recorded in a notebook. It shows them. To show that you are willing to let someone else take over the speaking role in a conversation. are single or double. if you like. The techniques can be briefly described as follows: 1 Increased flow rates. . An activity (say. You can simply come to the end of a sentence and pause. especially if accompanied by verbal signals like 'yes'. that we want to speak ourselves. reading) is timed and then on subsequent occasions is speeded up slightly until a point is reached where it cannot comfortably be speeded up further. You can end on a prolonged rising or falling pitch. which will encourage others to proceed and develop further. you can raise your voice.

7 Adequate incubation periods. The self-training programme outlined below is an example of a flexible performance strategy. S Allowance for imaginative and intuitive responses. Doing things at the most propitious moments and moving smoothly from one activity to another. 3 Flexible performance strategies. Before a task. A systematic approach to an activity is devised and used. assessments and other reactions. On subsequent occasions. After. Record in a notebook all results. 12 Critical analysis of performance. analyze and evaluate. An activity has to be completed in progressively shorter times until further improvement cannot be made. You have to study your records. . or key features of a situation. this means doing things when you are in the most productive frame of mind. 9 Critical incidents and learning periods. 6 Accurate feedback. Results are again recorded. is completed. This means being able to identify those cues. This is obtained from the record-keeping referred to earlier and helps you to avoid repetition of errors. and see where further improvements can be made. use whichever of the 12 techniques are appropriate (you don't have to use them all every time be flexible) to achieve improved performance. Time it and assess the quality of the performance. 113 A self-training programme or flexible performance strategy would typically take this form: • • • • Select an activity. where a skilled operator glances periodically down the line to be ready for nervous or awkward customers before they actually reach the counter. When you 'just know' the best and quickest way to do something. 4 Anticipatory scanning. Essentially. such as airline check-in procedures. you think or look ahead to the next and plan how to tackle it. This can be seen in many public contact occupations. 1 1 Slippage and down time.2 Deadlines. Having a kind of 'reserve bank' of activities for spare odd moments or for when unexpected delays occur. Some time has to be set aside to allow what is learned from using these techniques to mull over in the mind. which are more important than others. two weeks. S Selective perception of cues. 10 Timing and synchronization. evaluate the progress made. say. or a stage of a task.

1:1 0 c: � :t:::: 0 Cl I/) a. Q) � • • • • Q) 0 1:: c: 0 Q) a..30 pm An airline flight scheduled to depart at 1 1 ..00 pm A party timed to begin �t 8.s::. c: :> � 0 s: 0 • • � figure 9.00 am Meeting a friend for a drink in a pub at 7.. CI) . timed for 9. � � .30 pm An early moming radio interview to be broadcast l ive at 7 . 0 0 � 1:1 Q) 0 c: c: Q) . 9 10 11 12 1 2 3 4 5 Q) I/) 0 1:: c: Q) Cl 'iij a. Exercises and experiments 1 Punctual ity is the politeness of princes To find out how the people you mix with feel about punctuality.s::. 2 How do you spend your time? Take a sheet of A4 paper and divide it into rectangles so that you have a space for each half-hour of the working day from Monday to Friday. you will find. Q) � 0 � s: 0 • • • • . CI) a. 1 5 pm A blind date in a pub at 7.plan n i n g e x e r c i se . c: 0 I/) � a. Time creation is..1 a sam p l e t i m e . .. record in each space the main activity you have been engaged in..s::.J .00 pm A meeting with your boss at 2. 00 am A blind date outside a cinema at 7.114 • Decide whether it is worth your while to seek further progress or whether to turn to another activity to progress in. ask them what time they would actually arrive for the following appointments: a b c d e f 9 h A doctor's appointment at 9. What proportion of your working day is spent in face-to-face communication with others? An example of a typical day's record is given in Figure 9 . c: Z 0 � 0 Cl a. 0 c: ::J � I/) 'iij 0 Cl Q) c: c: 0 � .45 am A dinner date with friends fllr 7. 1 . 1 5 pm An interview for a job you would really like to get. Using these techniques should result in greater efficiency and effectiveness and the creation of more time for yourself. one of the most liberating of experiences... For two sample weeks.30 am.

on average? Try shortening calls slightly. without in any way appearing rude to others. or serving in a bar. If you have a watch or calculator with a timer or stopwatch facility. It makes you aware of what is really happenin g and can produce some surprising results. someone not being able to get a word in edgeways. time every telephone call you make or receive and log them in your notebook. what are the benefits (in addition to lower telephone bills)? You should find that calls can often be shortened appreciably without adversely affecting the quality of the communication which takes place. either around you or on television. try looking ahead briefly to the next task or part of a task. Do you find it helpful in preparing for what is to come? . You should also find that this is another illustration of the benefit of timing an activity. If you can achieve it. long uncomfortable pauses. try to time calls to the nearest minute as accurately as you can.3 How long is a telephone call? Over the next week. What is the average length of call you make? What is the average length of call others make to you? Which are longer. if you have not. What are the results? Do you find yourself being accorded a greater share of talking time? Do you find the experience rewarding? Have you been able to identify any other techniques for gaining access to conversations and discussions? 5 Working together Observe other people talking. try using the techniques for cutting into conversations outlined in this chapter. this should be easy. 115 4 Cutting in When talking with friends. dealing with a queue of people. and look for examples of failure to synchronize. Examples would be both people talking at once for part of the time. 6 Plan ahead When you are reading. working through an in-tray.

deli berate or unconscious. 'urns'. of pauses. pitch. to name but a few of the features that are more i mportant than many people suppose. changes in tone. 'ers'. pace and accent.In this chapter you will learn: • about the nonverbal aspects of speech what we say can be con­ • siderably affected by our use. .

only 7% of the impact is verbal. How do you set the volume of your speaking. but they are perhaps of even greater daily significance. If you can enlist the participation of another person in this exercise. record yourself trying to convince either a friend or an imaginary stranger that you are to be trusted. the rate at which you speak. the tone. In other words. voice quality. tone. rate of speaking. We infer many things from the voice (ignoring words spoken for the moment) . In this chapter. and speech itself. your accent. The non-verbal aspects of speech include many elements. in deciding whether we believe or trust someone. We make judgements about age. Exercise: trust me 117 Using a tape recorder. The verbal element is much less significant than is commonly supposed. attractive­ ness. only to be totally repulsed as soon as they opened their mouths and we heard their vocal characteristics. sex. We also use vocal characteristics in j udging occupations. especially those sexist aficionados of the Miss WorId contest. and how do you . voice quality (for example. we shall be concerned with the 3 8 % which is attributable to non-verbal aspects of speech and with how that relates to the 7% verbal component. that they should support you as a candidate in a local government election. by the nature and number of speech errors. whether it is nasal. the remaining 93% is non-verbal. at some time or other have met an attractive stranger and been quite drawn towards them. non­ verbal aspects of speech. They refer to the proportions of the impact of a message in a face-to-face encounter which are accounted for by facial expressions. The figures 55-3 8-07 will be less well recognized. or that you are talking a potential suicide down from a ledge.The statistics 36-24-3 6 will be familiar to many people. In deciding how to interpret these aspects. so much the better. and in helping to make our minds up a bout whether we like someone or not. social class and educational background. Most of us will. pitch. we take account of volume. pitch. accent and stress. We are also affected. breathy or resonant). as we shall see later in this chapter. for instance. You might pretend you are trying to persuade someone that something you have to sell is worth buying. It is an area of study to which the term paralinguistics has been applied.

A high speed of speaking will tend to prevent the growth of trust. people tend to rate those with 'standard' accents as more trustworthy and plausible than those who have regional accents. the very antithesis of trusting. Trust is a relationship in which two people have an equal status. volume should be neither too high nor too low. It is a two-way process. You will also need to sound reasonably confident. If you are working alone. Fast talkers are often perceived as being just that. A voice which is too soft gives an impression of diffidence or submissiveness. You need to avoid shrillness in pitch. By this stage in working through this book. It is very difficult to trust someone unless you feel that they also trust you. . Loudness gives an impression of a wish to dominate.118 place stress on the words you use? How does your use of the various non-verbal aspects of speech integrate with the verbal aspects or the words themselves? How successful do you think you have been? If someone else is working on the exercise with you. In the United Kingdom. It is difficult to trust someone who does not sound as if they trust themselves. you will have to rely on your own best judgement when you play the tape back. more competent and more to be relied upon than those with 'working-class' accents. Your tone of voice has to be neither too harsh nor too smooth. for instance. Voice quality which sounds nasal or breathless is not likely to instil the kind of confidence which will lead to trust. You should by now be noticing some improvements in your sensitivity in using body language. Exercise review If you have had reasonable success in conducting the exercise you should have noticed some of the following points: 1 2 3 4 5 6 In order to inspire trust. Harshness grates upon the listener and will tend to repel them. again hindering the establishment of a relationship in which both are equal. which will militate against the creation of a relationship of mutual trust. you will be able to obtain this kind of feedback from them. that teachers with what are normally regarded as middle-class accents are rated by their students as being better at their subjects. Too much smoothness can make them think they are having the wool pulled over their eyes and will make them suspicious. Research has shown. A voice pitched fairly low so that it has a soothing quality . this should not be too d ifficult.will be more likely to be trusted.but not too soothing . if you have been doing the chapter exercises conscientiously.

except with questions. gestures and breaking eye contact. Emphasis can be achieved by repetition of the words with a similar but slightly stronger repetition of the vocal characteristics used. a slow speed of speaking and a relatively uniform stress upon the words. followed by short pauses. have a particularly important role in this regard. a high speed of speaking and more noticeable stress on key words and phrases. To emphasize you have to be selective. or at least a wish to dominate. Emphasis can be given to important words and phrases. as we have just seen. The important point to remember with all techniques to achieve emphasis in communication is that the more often they are used the less effect they have.. Non-verbal aspects of speech can be used to support the emotion being expressed. this too can have an emphasizing effect.. Punctuation in speech is indicated by some of these elements as well as by such things as head nods. Too much emphasis leads to no emphasis at all. If the rate of speech is suddenly raised or lowered. on the other hand. are characterized by higher volume. too much use of stress will have the same effect as too much volume and will communicate an impression of dominance.. The non-verbal aspects of speech. occur. There are usually pauses between sentences. solemn tone. These will normally be where the ends of sentences are. where it rises. S. Sadness is usually characterized by low volume. Anyone who is not too sure where to place full stops when writing can help themselves to some extent by reading aloud what they have written to see where the marked drops or rises in pitch. 119 I � CD DI J � i Supporting what is said Body language in general can be used to support and give emphasis to what is said. Imagine a piece of writing in which every sentence had an exclamation mark at the end of it. � CD C DI CD CD iii o ..7 You may have noticed that placing a l ittle stress on positive words and phrases rather than on negative ones helps. a deeper voice quality than normal. by increasing the volume and by placing stress on them. Pauses can also occur before and after particular words and phrases which a speaker wishes to emphasize. a breathless voice quality. . Pitch usually falls at the ends of sentences. Happiness and elation. sharper tone. However. however.

. J IQ ! � CD III 5. Often. You may say to someone 'I'll murder you' or 'I hate you' and yet may be smiling as you say it. Errors may also take the form of corrected sentences. You are clearly serving no useful purpose if your body language is contra­ dicting your words at every turn. � i ::lI IQ C III IQ CD iii o . omissions and other variations from the norm. such as saying 'dissidence' instead of 'diffidence'. to read without speech errors. even when reading from a prepared text. In all such cases.1 20 Speech errors Most people find it extremely difficult. Using 'urn'. Contradicting what is said Errors in speech and other aspects of body language tend to produce situations in which what is said conflicts with what the body is doing. A person might tell his friends that he is not attracted by an attractive woman and yet be unable to resist frequent long looks in her direction. it is better to train yourself not to make such noises as silences are more often interpreted as drying up by speakers than they are by listeners. Political body language One of the advantages of living in a democracy is that politicians are freely reported by the news media. Stuttering or stammering which is not a normal part of a person's way of speaking will be interpreted as nervousness or deception. These errors can take the form of simple mispronunciations of words. The situation is immeasurably worse if you are unaware of it. 'er' and 'ah' or similar noises enables the speaker to pause for thought without falling silent and thus appearing to have dried up. You might say to someone that you are very interested in what they are saying and yet be unable to maintain eye contact and may frequently look away at other people. This makes it even more important that you should be able to examine your own use of body language critically . coughs. an increased error rate can be an indication of telling lies or trying to deceive in some other way.. unfinished sentences.. it is the body language which will be believed.. however. As we shall see in Chapter 13. Their frequent appearances on television are of most interest to the student of . A person may be speaking pleasantly to another but their body language and especially tone of voice may be frosty.

body language, since it is here that they can be most conveniently studied. Like football matches, politicians are best watched on TV. The use of close-ups, the ability to use videotape recordings to watch a piece of behaviour over and over again, and a reasonably close-to-nature colour system all help to provide an a bundance of information. When sitting, politicians tend to adopt forward lean. This i ndicates a desire to cooperate with the listener in discussion. They often use more eye contact when they are speaking than is normal - not only to make them appear dominant but also to give them a better chance of controlling or regulating the interaction between themselves and their interviewers. They also try to have the last word in interviews because they realize not only the verbal effect of achieving this but also the non-verbal cffect. We tend to believe that the last word on a subject should be allowed to the person of highest status present. When they are standing, politicians use gestures so exaggerated as to put the ham Victorian actor to shame. Demagogues will saw the air wildly as they rant and rave. They will thump the table, point accusingly, raise their arms in appeals to the Almighty and pause dramatically after a particularly felicitous phrase for applause. Even quite mild politicians seem to change personality once they are on the rostrum. It is like the pedestrian, k ind and considerate, who becomes the road hog once he or she gets behind the wheel of a car. Politicians take great pains to conceal their attempts to deceive people. They have to deceive people, not because they are fundamentally less honest than the rest of us, but because they have to present policies sufficiently different from those of their opponents to command our support. They know that, once in office, they will not be able to carry out those policies without modifications which make their policies similar to those of their opponents. In other words, in governing the modern state, the options available to governments are limited. Hence, the politician who claims to be going to do things differently has a credibility gap to overcome. It is a gap which few cross successfully. Those who do make sure that they control the lower parts of their bodies, which is where the tell-tale signals will be given. It is not for nothing that the public speaking politician frequently hides behind a lectern stand or, when seated, uses a table drape to conceal the giveaway areas.

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Politicians seek to be trusted. They will maintain eye contact with a frank look. They will have a firm, warm handshake. They will nod frequently when listening, as if anxious to know the finest detail of your problem. They will place a protective arm around your shoulder - and you will be outside the door before you realize its purpose was to steer you out to make way for the next supplicant. Above all, they will smile. The major political parties train their principal spokesmen and women in how to deal with the media and how to present a favourable image both of themselves and of the party. This image is established and maintained almost entirely non­ verbally. After all, the words of the policies and the speeches exist already and if they were inadequate no amount of image manipulation in the world would help. Politicians have been known to change their clothing, to change their hair styles, to soften the tone of their voices and to alter their posture and gesture pattern in the quest for a better image.
In the UK there are even differences between the parties. The typical Conservative male wears a dark suit, shirt and tie, has a smart hairstyle and polished shoes. His skin is smooth and he has the air of being well fed. His accent is middle-class and the tone confident and assured. His gestures are restrained and his posture either upright or casually asymmetrical. The Conservative female is similarly conventionally dressed and well groomed. Her voice, manner and behaviour match the male's perfectly. The Labour male, on the other hand, has less of an interest in appearance. His voice may contain any one of a myriad of accents from upper crust to working class. Posture is more hunched and gestures made with less thought for their effect. They tend to stand closer than their Conservative counterparts and they use the head cock of interest more. The Labour female is more likely than a Conservative to wear casual clothes. Her hairstyle may not be quite as smooth, but more natural. Gestures will be more like the man, as whose equal she rightly regards herself, and she makes a great deal of use of the head nod and the head cock.

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The body language of minority groups and of demonstrators at such events as peace marches repays careful observation. At the other end of the political activity range is the body language of the statesman. This is characterized by low peripheral movement, restraint in upper body gestures, upright postures, restrained head movements, slight smiles in public and a measured, even pace of speech. Observe television reports of meetings between heads of

states and of the United Nations and you will see how often this apparent stereotype occurs. The body language of international statesmen is becoming as standard as the services and facilities in international hotels. In fact, political body language all over the world is assuming a sameness - which is discouraging rather than hopeful. One of the problems of homogeneity is that it tends to lead people to assume that they are all using the same meaning of a word or gesture, when this may not be the case. At least if differences between people are preserved, some care is taken not to assume that an action means one thing when it might mean something else.

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Laugh and the world laughs with you
Doubt has occasionally been expressed as to whether a laugh is a piece of non-verbal behaviour or whether it is close enough to being a word (as other exclamations often are) to be considered to be verbal. We shall regard it for our purposes here as non-verbal. Laughter usually follows on from, or may accompany, smiles and grins. It can be graded from the quietest chuckle or slight giggle to the most raucous of belly laughs. Laughter is also infectious. When one person in a company starts laughing, it is very difficult for the others to avoid following suit. And why should they? For laughter lifts the spirits. Since we are concerned here with �inding ways of improving our use of body language it is worth considering the laugh as an aid to this end. You should, where you reasonably can, encourage laughter. If you have the facility to make people laugh, use it; if you have not, at least encourage those who have. As long as there is an emphasis on laughing with, rather than at, the results should be entirely positive and beneficial. All you have to avoid is an inane, pointless cackle. Friendly, convivial laughter should not be too difficult to find.

Exercises and experiments
1 Er, ah, urn
Select one or two public speakers, lecturers or speakers on television. Record the number and types of speech errors they make. Which is the one that each is most prone to make? You should usually find that nearly every speaker has a favourite speech error. ' Er' is by far the most common.

Which parties are most similar to each other in styles? Which are the furthest apart? Is it possible to tell what a person's political opinions are likely to be from their body language? 3 Keep sti ll Using a tape recorder and standing in front o f a mirror. record a short talk on a subject you know well. Is it possible? If it is. Compile a list of typical non-verbal behaviours associated with each party. Try to make the talk without any body language at all. 4 There's a call for you Observe people telephoning. How close is their body language to what it would be if they were conversing face to face? Which kinds of body language can be communicated by telephone and which cannot? Are any non-verbal behaviours more exaggerated when telephoning than in face-to-face encounters? Do any never occur? .1 24 2 Party political broadcast Watch several party political broadcasts on television and see if you can identify the favourite facial expression. Compare and contrast them . is it easy? You may very well find this exercise virtually impossible to carry out. body movement. and so on of each politician. posture.

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unexpected and significant differences. .In this chapter you will learn: • • about cultural d ifferences in the use of body language some of the more u nusual.

Body language. the Americans wanted to limit the length of meetings and to reach agreement on general principles first. Another example concerns the use of time. he was asked to wait in an outer office. but when you encounter those from other cultures it becomes fraught with difficulties. Later examination revealed that the American habit of being outspoken and forthright was regarded by the Greeks as indicating a lack of finesse. All kinds of cues came back that the time was not yet ripe for such a meeting. Further. is complex enough when you are dealing with people from your own culture. At this point. he jumped up and told the secretary he had been 'cooling his heels' for long enough and that he was 'damned sick and tired' of this kind of treatment. Time passed. can cause poor communication and can even cause communication to break down altogether. Effective cross-cultural communication is so important in the modern world that breakdowns like these need to be studied for the lessons they can teach us. An American attache new to a Latin country tried to arrange a meeting with the minister who was his opposite number. 45 minutes. The American persisted and was eventually reluctantly granted an appointment. After 1 5 minutes. This the Greeks saw as a device to pull the wool over their eyes. 25 minutes. One example describes some negotiations between American and Greek officials. His stay in the country was not a happy one. 1 27 . he asked the minister's secretary to make sure the minister knew he was waiting. since the Greek practice is to work out details in front of all concerned and to continue meetings for as long as necessary. They also make it increasingly important that people who live and work in countries other than their own should be given training in the local body languages as well as the local spoken language. The time of the appointment came and went. He had forgotten that a 45-minute waiting time in that country was no greater than a five minute waiting time in America. which made them reluctant to negotiate. 30 minutes. which had reached stalemate. leaving the details to be sorted out by sub-committees. Twenty minutes. When he arrived. Things can so very easily go unintentionally wrong that we shall find it useful to consider some of the principal difficulties and some of the ways in which they can be avoided. Edward Hall tells of instances in which inappropriate non-verbal behaviour. coupled with general cultural insensitivity. as you should be aware by now.

facial expressions. and so on. or on tape. Record in your notebook. analyze it. Some of the things you may have noticed are: 1 2 3 4 5 6 Whites typically spend about half the time in eye contact and half the time looking away. most of the research attention . clothing styles. When you have collected as much information as you reasonably can. If you live in an area which is not multiracial. especially of arms and shoulders during conversation. gestures. proximity and bodily contact. So far. If you cannot find this number. Black people choose more vivid colours and stronger patterns for their clothing than Whites. Blacks tend not to look at the other person when listening. Cultural differences There is still a great deal of research needed into the precise nature of the differences in the ways various peoples around the world use body language. What seem to be the main differences between Blacks and Whites in the use of body language? What are the similarities? What differences are there between the sexes? Exercise review It is quite possible that you will have collected a rich amount of data which will repay careful analysis and tell you many things about how different races and different cultures interact. formality of clothing. Also select five White men and five White women. select your subjects for observation from television programmes. including colours. Blacks do more touching.1 28 Exercise: Black and White body language Select five Black men and five Black women to observe. when used by Blacks this indicates that the individual has switched off and is not attending to the speaker. White people do not touch each other except in greetings. The facial expressions of Black people are less restrained than those of Whites. conduct the observation with as many as you can find. Black people use more palms-upward hand movements than Whites. A limp stance and lowered head indicate submissiveness when used by White people. patterns. Record as much detail as you can about eye contact patterns.

Nevertheless. The Japanese look at other people very little and tend to focus their eyes on the other person's neck when conversing. Germans stand further apart. to a lesser extent.seems to have focused on the Americans. certain countries of Europe. In research into the use of eye contact. In fact. As far as gestures are concerned. Arabs stand closer and at a more direct angle. hoth at those they are conversing with and at other people. Americans and the British tend to be relatively restrained in their facial expressions. for instance. the Arabs a nd. In Japan. some interesting findings have been made. they feel quite upset if other people do not show an equal curiosity in them and feel they are being ignored. 1 29 . On the other hand. To suggest that someone is a liar they lick a forefinger and stroke an eyebrow. position is often as important as proximity and you will see traditional families walking in public with the father in front. Bowing occurs in greetings and farewells. They extend the arm palm downwards and flutter the fingers. then the wife. however. The Japanese keep a very straight face in public and use a faint smile in private. I talians stand closer to other people when conversing. One contrast in posture can be seen when comparing the habit of Arabs in squatting cross-legged with the Japanese bow. but they look for longer. the Japanese. They look at each other when listening and when talking. Arabs are very dependent on eye contact when conversing. and the children at the back. probably Arabs and Indians have the richest vocabularies. and persons of lower status bow lower than those of high status. Germans often tend to have a more upright posture than people from Latin countries. The Japanese have formal gestures for such actions as summoning others to them. Swedes have been found to look at each other less often than other Europeans. tend to be much more volatile. It is not uncommon at international conferences to see Americans and Europeans retreating before Arab advances as each tries to get to the preferred distance from other people. They find it very difficult to interact successfully with someone who is wearing dark glasses and whose eyes cannot therefore be seen. They make more use of smiles in greetings and business and formal meetings than Europeans. Italians. A number of European gestures have already been discussed in Chapter 4. it has been observed that Greeks look at each other more in public places.

sadness and disgust.. fear. some races have quite strict rules. There are cultures all around the world in which people smile when they are happy and scowl when they are angry. though Arabs touch a great deal and men will frequently hold hands. Amongst various other non-verbal behaviours which have been observed is the fact that tone of voice is particularly important to Arabs. Arab women must be so well covered by clothes that only their eyes are showing... they can tell the emotional state of the speaker. In Japan. Michael Argyle identified seven elements which commonly occur in greetings: • • • • • • • close proximity with a direct orientation the eyebrow flash smiling eye contact bodily contact. Even Arab men will generally be well covered by clothing.1 30 :::I IQ J DI c :::I Q.. Schoolchildren and students have a uniform of white shirt and black jacket and trousers (or skirt. Non-verbal universals There are other universally understood examples of body language . White gloves are also worn by chauffeurs and private hire taxi-drivers .. either to shake or simply to be seen a head toss or a head nod in the form of a bow.. anger. if � ::::L Q. . That is. Ekman and Friesen found that people of 1 3 different cultures were able to distinguish accurately between the non­ verbal expressions of joy.we have already encountered some in Chapter 2. Lift-girls in big department stores wear uniforms and white gloves. even in most otherwise non-contact cultures the presenting of the palm of the hand. in the case of girls). Arab females are not touched at all in public. Emotions can be recognized from tone of voice across cultures. In appearance. for instance. an activity which Europeans find disturbing. though they have a tradition of bathing together without there necessarily being a sexual connotation to the activity. even if people do not understand the language.. . something which causes amusement to Europeans. Japanese touch each other very little in public.. . surprise. They also make a lot of use of smell and even breathe on each other when conversing.. iii i a Latins use touching behaviour more than other races.. uniforms abound.

..... 1 stee p l i n g . many salesmen carry literature and visual aids with them so that they can approach close to the prospective buyer. People will tend to buy more from someone close to them than from someone who remains at a distance. The head cock shows interest. Unbuttoning the j acket can signal an opening up to other people. Sitting forward on a chair can communicate both interest and a desire to agree with others . It can also be seen in other situations when someone wishes to signal confidence and high status. hence. so this can also be used to communicate cooperative intent. But it can. the salesman moves away until the buyer's behaviour relaxes and becomes less defensive.. 1 ) is common in negotiations. Steepling (see Figure 1 1 .. f i g u re 1 1 . Signalling a willingness to . It can also show interest in what someone else is saying.Negotiating styles Gerard Nierenberg and Henry Calero have made an extensive study of body language in negotiations.. 1 31 � � a c J CD III c ::I CL CD iii :F � � CL . They note the importance of proximity when trying to negotiate a sale. show defensiveness and weakness. having recorded 2500 negotiations for analysis.cooperate in a negotiating situation can be achieved in a number of ways. . especially when the prospective buyer is considering what is being offered. in fact. If the buyer reacts by folding his arms or with some other defensive gesture. as we have seen.

More frequently it signals boredom or at the very least a waning of interest. awareness of the passage of time varies across cultures. Business as usual As we have seen. persons of senior rank and status should be recognized first. Americans are gregarious at first meeting and are not too interested in differences in status. . These negative reactions can prejudice the success of negotiations so some action needs to be taken to remedy them. Time is flexible and people who appear to be in a hurry are mistrusted. Competitiveness is encouraged. backward lean. Arabs like expressiveness and periodic displays of emotion. frowning and closed gestures and postures should communicate unwillingness to others. A brisk. You should sit as near as possible to the person you would like to do business with and should talk about the matters which concern you amongst whatever other conversation is going on.1 32 Drumming with the fingers and tapping with the feet are behaviours to watch closely in negotiations. In the USA. If the bargaining is to be hard and nothing is to be given away. This may involve getting the drummer or tapper to speak (most people do not drum or tap when talking) . the obsession with time and schedules means that punctuality and efficiency are important. Forward lean. Africans like to get to know someone before getting down to business and the general chat at the beginnings of business meetings can go on for some time. Waiting for appointments can be expected not only in Latin countries but also in the Middle East. Group-style business meetings with several things happening at once are typical. as they tend to show boredom or impatience. as Robert Moran points out. then doodling. smiling. Something should be done to involve the doodler in discussion. In the Middle East. businesslike approach is preferred. Respect is expected to be shown to older people. Lateness is a normal part of life. Doodling may simply show that a person needs something else to do as well as listen. head cock. open gestures and postures are most appropriate for those who wish to seem willing to cooperate in negotiations.

it should not be touched. 1 33 ! :::s ca c III ca CD III cr iii a c :::s Q. In most parts of the world. Anyone who has to do business overseas should do a little research before going. this is the way you would call a dog or some other animal. .. a person may move his right hand backwards and forwards to communicate a refusal or disagreement. In Asia. Yugoslavia.... Several negotiating sessions will normally be required. . however. In japan. people do not like to be singled out as unique and prefer to be treated as part of a team. the same action is interpreted as showing anger. Toasts are an important part of business dinners and you should prepare an appropriate one in advance. a common way is to hold a hand up with the index finger extended. In a highly competitive world. CD g: � :::!.. Personal contact is preferred to letters and telephone calls.. Accordingly.. Bulgaria and Turkey a more usual way is to toss the head to one side. there a re pitfalls to be avoided. Robert Moran illustrates this by dramatic examples.. Q. In japan. We scratch our heads when we are puzzled. In the USA. but with Arabs and in parts of Greece. It may make the difference between getting an order or not. Long­ standing relationships are highly valued and are worth taking time to establish.I n China.. Arabs will show agreement by extending clasped hands with the index fingers pointing towards the other person.. We often pat children on the head as a sign of affection.. you can signal that everything is all right by forming a circle with the thumb and index finger and spreading out the rest of the fingers. perhaps clicking the tongue as well. as the ( :hinese are another people who do not like to rush things. agreement is shown in Africa by holding an open palm upright and smacking it with a closed fist. But you should remember that in japan the same gesture means money and in Brazil it is an insult. Appointments should also be arranged in advance. but in Islamic countries the head is regarded as the seat of mental and spiritual powers. In Arab countries. . If you wish to summon a waiter at a business l unch in Western countries. shaking the head means 'No'. On the other hand. showing the soles of your feet is an insult and an Arab may also i nsult someone by holding a hand in front of the person's face.. Women often occupy important posts and expect to be treated as equals. to find out what main non-verbal pitfalls need to be avoided. the businessman who fails to appreciate the power of body language in business contexts will find himself paying a high price. I n using body language in particular business situations.

. It is often surprising how delighted people will be and how warmly they will respond if you have made some effort to communicate with them on their own terms. You should use body language that has universal. . try to consult a native of the country for an explanation).. Russia. Look particularly at the use of eye contact. But there are one or two other things you can do to minimize the risk of causing offence and maximize the chances of having a pleasant and trouble-free stay. iii a if I Q.. speed of speaking. or near­ universal.. record instances of body language which are unusual. Generally speaking. Try to watch films from. Listen for tone of voice. posture.. a friendly expression. an avoidance of aggressive movements and an awareness of the most obvious body language dangers will help to smooth over awkwardness and embarrassment. together with what they mean (if in doubt.. preferably where you do not understand the language. Smiles. finding out about the body language of the people you will be meeting is a sensible precaution. If this is supported by some attempt at least to learn key words and phrases from the spoken language. . They will often be more willing to come forward and meet you half way. like the Japanese. speech errors. Exercises and experiments 1 Foreign films Watch one or two foreign films. France. there will be fewer difficulties.. presenting the palm of the right hand in greeting should all help to ease you through the initial phases of encounters to the point where you can use other descriptive gestures to indicate what you want or what you wish to tell the other person. currency as much as possible. say. pitch and so forth.. and so on. respond very favourably when appropriate body language is matched with a few halting words. eyebrow flashes. India. head nods. or on tape...1 34 � CD CD CD \\I J i a c What to do when you can't speak the language Whether you are abroad on business or on holiday. head cocks. Even those who live in quite formal cultures. gesture. and the Far East to get a good coverage of different cultures. In your notebook. Germany. .

. How do others react to you? What are the most useful forms of body language? Are any situations impossible to deal with? . i � ::::!. try positive. or seeking permission for time off work. act as if you were a foreigner who does not speak the language. Which way is more successful? 1 35 g � � ca ca CD DI i a 3 Business body language Observe business people talking in a public place.. .. such as deciding what the family will watch on television. Co c ::::I Co . closed gestures and postures.. open gestures and postures. On the next. timing and synchronization and proximity and orientation as well as other aspects of body language.. such as a hotel lobby or airport lounge. On the fi rst occasion try to get your own way by using negative. 4 I ' m a stranger here myself With a group of friends who are willing to participate in the exercise. What are their most frequently-used non­ verbal behaviours? Do they differ in any way from members of the general public? Consider appearance and physique..2 Getting your own way Select an everyday negotiation.

In this chapter you will learn: • the role of body language in occupations such as • • • • • nursing teaching television interviewing business other forms of contact with the public. .

by examining how it can be used more effectively when we are at work. for the sake of convenience. television interviewing. in indicating attitudes to workmates. Look for examples of anticipatory scanning (looking ahead to the next person or persons to be dealt with while still attending to the person at the head of the queue). airline check-in desk or supermarket check-out). in industrial relations. Of all the possible aspects of the use of body language at work which could be considered. The chapters that follow will consider its use in everyday encounters. We shall turn our attention at this point to examine a little more closely some of the practical applications of this knowledge for improving our use of body language in specific contexts. in personal attraction and developing better relationships with others. and in contributing to personal growth and self-development. in this chapter. The kinds of occupations in which body language is most important are those in which there is face-to-face communication with members of the public. But first. We begin. study the people who are working there.We have now considered all of the main aspects of body language and how it is used in our encounters with others. In these 'public contact' occupations we can also. include such activities as nursing. all forms of business activity. in motivating others and in the building up of work teams. Exercise: anticipatory scanning techniques 1 37 We have already encountered anticipatory scanning in Chapter 9. let us begin with an exercise. Here we will develop our understanding and use of it a little further. Do those who use anticipatory scanning techniques seem to be better at their jobs than those who do not? Record in your notebook or on tape the forms the anticipatory scanning takes and the situations in which it most frequently occurs. as usual. we shall also examine its use in meetings. What of the people who do not use it at all? How does its absence affect their work? What else do you notice about the use of anticipatory scanning in public contact situations? . The next time you are in a public place where people are being served or attended to in some way in sequence (for example a bar. and teaching. cafeteria.

be preparing the drink for the next person. Occupational body language Nursing is an occupation in which body language is important because the people nurses deal with. Facial expressions should concentrate on showing interest and they should make liberal use of head nods for the same reason. those who use anticipatory scanning techniques will. which they obtain from these brief looks ahead. enable them to change their attitude and behaviour to fit the needs of the individual customer. neatness in appearance. arm round shoulder. At airline check-ins. light hugging. brief glances down the line. In some way. Effective body language for nurses will include increased use of eye contact. They will be in particular need of comfort and reassurance. Gestures should be kept to a . where there is a queue. oh' ). the snippets of information about people yet to be attended to. and so on. In bars. if your own job involves public contact with a sequence of people. and the use of encouraging vocalizations ( 'mm-hmm'. or may be worrying about whether everything is all right at home. may be apprehensive about an operation or about their chances of recovery. head nods when listening. close proximity and direct orientation. You should find that it not only increases your personal effectiveness but also improves your sense of job satisfaction.Exercise review You will probably have noticed that it is those who use anticipatory scanning techniques who are best at their jobs. make periodic. taking an order from the next person and identifying the person who will be served after that. 'mmm'. The head cock will also be useful. in addition to feeling unwell. open gestures. Television interviewers need to use more eye contact than average because of their role as listeners rather than talkers. attention to synchronization when talking to patients. smiling and other positive facial expressions. What you should now do. and the like ). They will be looking particularly for nervous travellers who may need a smile of reassurance and for those who are impatient at having to queue and who will need to be treated with additional tact. forward lean in posture. increased use of bodily contact of a supportive nature (hand holding. as they are attending to one person. is to try to develop anticipatory scanning techniques for yourself. it can enable bar staff to serve more than one person at once they can be waiting for the money from someone who has just received a drink.

plenty of eye contact and a greater attention than usual to appearance. yet people are often forced closer together than normal because of camera requirements. Posture may use either forward lean or asymmetrical leaning back according to whether the dominant requirement is to show interest or to put a nervous interviewee at ease by making the setting more relaxing. What was said in the last chapter about differences according to culture should be of particular interest. and they also need 1 39 ::J IQ IQ CD J i !I. Proximity should be dictated by what the interviewee appears to feel comfortable with. This is probably because their public image will be greatly affected by how the viewing audience. reacts to them. Other occupations have their special requirements. give no head nods. Receptionists need pleasant facial expressions. A reason for this is that in many situations businessmen and women have to keep their cards close to their chests. An indirect orientation is thus preferable. Body language can so easily give things away. They will also interrupt frequently with a new question before the previous one has been answered. so it is necessary for them to try to control it as much as possible. which is usually inadequate for the proper discussion of a topic. One of the most important lessons the business communicator needs to learn is to adapt his or her use of body language to that of the people with whom business is being done. Shop assistants need to appear 'smart. Attention to synchronization will be important and non-verbal aspects of speech will be used to keep the talk going for as long as whatever time has been allowed. be frosty-faced. Facial expressions will tend to be neutral. On the other hand. though there will be smiles on greeting and parting. The same is true of some job interviewers. There is normally no body contact and most people who appear on television seem to want their appearance to be as smart as possible. gesture frequently even when the interviewee is speaking.minimum as these may distract the interviewee. iii I . with head nods and head cocking being subtler than in most other contexts. though directors seem to prefer a 00 orientation. Eye contact needs to be dominant rather than submissive. Head movements will also tend to be restrained. Business people need a different kind of body language. interviewers who wish to unsettle an interviewee will deny eye contact. adopt an over-rigid or over-relaxed posture and a direct or turned-away orientation. which may run into millions. but not necessarily stylish.

These changes in appearance then filter down into society itself. teachers need to be aware of cultural differences in the use of body language. anticipatory scanning techniques. One occupation in which mastery of body language is especially important. often done in a deliberately flirtatious manner. if they are generally sensitive to students' non-verbal indications of appropriate proximity and respect their personal space. They should be confident. well organized and emotionally stable. Salesmen need to use plenty of eye contact. . Being a pop star is not normally regarded as an occupation. tend to be exaggerated. Like many others. warm and rewarding. Head movements also become more obvious and dramatic. They should use a relatively upright posture to indicate their dominant role in classroom interaction. with heightened make-up (even on men) and outrageous hairstyles. as well as head nods to reinforce. In general terms. i f they are dealing with sequences of people. but use forward lean to show attentive­ ness. a profile of effective teacher non-verbal behaviour can be offered. It's not all tinsel and glitter in show business ! Their body language contains prolonged eye contact with the audience. On the basis of the research into non­ verbal communication. and close proximity and bodily contact where this can be achieved without awkwardness and embarrassment. Smiles are broader and scowls more fearsome. yet pop stars often work a lot harder than the rest of us. Teachers can use body language to often devastating effect. head nods and head cocks when customers are indicating their needs. What looks like pleasure to us can frequently be quite arduous. They also need to present a smart and conventional appearance. Life imitates art. Appearance is usually unconventional and may even be bizarre in the extreme. hostile. teachers should be friendly. This kind of behaviour can be promoted non-verbally if teachers are aware of restrictions on bodily contact. Expressive gestures should be used to support what is said. angry or arrogant. is teaching. not least because of its influence over the young and their development. both on and off stage.1 40 to use smiles. a n upright posture and. reward and encourage others to speak. as is avoiding appearing to ridicule or be sarcastic. They should adjust their orientation to suit the competitive or cooperative nature of particular tasks in class. They should be able to make contact with all-members of a group of students. Facial expressions. Attentiveness to student responses and contributions is important.

Formal dress may not be necessary. Facial expressions will indicate attitudes to the topic. All facial expressions should help to present an appropriate self-image and to obtain positive responses from others. but an over-casual style will tend to reduce student ratings of academic competence. lt is worth studying meetings to see the individuals who succeed most frequently in getting the floor and how they do it. This may be true. without interrupting. Teachers may argue that how they dress in no way affects their ability. When speaking. Where this is assured. rate of speech and timing of utterances will all be varied to suit the situation.Smiles help to provide reassurance and indicate liking and approval. though there is more scope for expressiveness when standing than when sitting down. Sensitivity to timing and synchronization will enable someone who wishes to speak to cut in j ust as the previous speaker is finishing. volume. pitch. as well as showing willingness to interact. but just ahead of others who may be trying to get in. eye contact with the chairman can help to 'keep the floor'. but may also be varied in order to lend expressiveness to what is being said. tone. eye contact with other members of the meeting in sequence will help to retain attention and provide feedback on how the points that are being made are being received. If they do not use high volume or interruptions. The same may be said of gestures. Teachers who prize their standing with their students cannot afford to ignore it. Speech errors and hesitations should be reduced as far as possible and pauses should be used to retain students' attention. Stress. A high level of eye contact will usually be fitting. 1 41 The effective use of meetings Body language can be used in meetings to indicate a wish to speak by leaning forward or by raising an index finger. though it should be reduced if students exhibit signs of discomfort. Appearance can be important in determining whether students accord credibility to what a teacher says and thus needs to be taken into account. but the evidence shows that students are influenced by this factor in forming their opinions about who are good teachers and who are not. It will mainly be used to obtain and provide feedback during classroom interaction. for emphasis and to encourage student contributions. . it is usually because their timing is j ust fractionally sharper than that of their colleagues.

he or she can achieve many things.. save a lot of effort in trying to be heard. a turned-away orientation. then. it tends to be the case. close proximity and orientations which deter intruders to the group. It is surprising how often a chairman will turn to someone and actually invite them to speak if their facial expression. Attitudes to workmates By our use of all the aspects of body language. open gestures. he or she is almost bound to give their true feelings away. a frosty face. them. The chairman can use head nods to encourage someone to keep on speaking or can deny them to deter them from continuing. In fact. because of the influence of non-verbal factors the neutral chair is virtually a myth. relaxed postures. His facial expressions can show approval or disapproval of what is being said and thus help to control the direction the meeting takes. Careful use of body language can. and our attitudes towards. But. we reveal to those we work with our feelings about. shows that they disagree strongly with what is being said. Groups in which the pattern of interaction is like the second example will tend to be more effective than those in which it is like the first. It does not always follow.1 42 � c CD J !. . of course. for example. speakers will hesitate before speaking against the wishes of someone who has been accorded high status by being placed in the chair. Being invited is always better than gate­ crashing. So much for the impartiality of the chair. all betray a negative attitude. Often. Non-verbally. He or she can gesture to keep people quiet or to get them to speak or can turn away from those who are saying things he does not agree with. Denial of eye contact. The one person who needs effective use of body language most is the chairman. that a happy group is a productive group. He can prevent someone from speaking if he wishes simply by denying eye contact and looking at others to show it is their turn to speak. Whether the chairman wants to or not. unless unusually skilled in the use of body language. Frequent smiling and laughter. perhaps fortunately. Work would be a wretched affair indeed if the most effective groups were the most miserable ones. iii II � . bodily contact and sharing speaking time all characterize a work group in which everybody gets on well. It may simply be a happy group.

Open gestures. because this will help people to like each other better (or at least dislike each other a little less). as will. It has a greater bearing upon the relationships between management and workers than many people may be prepared to admit. the occasional slap on the back and the reassuring hand on the back of the upper arm. Friendly facial expressions and smiles should help. they must feel that they can contribute to discussions and meetings. BL often stood for British Leyland and became associated in the popular mind with poor industrial relations and breakdowns in communication.The BL of industrial relations In the context of British industrial relations. head nods and head cocks when listening to others' problems or point of view on work­ related matters. Forward lean in posture. something has to be done to assist them. again. If people are to feel motivated. positive facial expressions. closer proximity. BL simply stands for body language. Gestures need to be rather limited. though head nods and head cocks when listening may be less likely to be regarded as insincere. rather closer proximity. Bodily contact appropriate to industrial relations probably extends no further than the handshake when agreement has been reached and. direct orientation. however. but timing and synchronization can become very important. with some asymmetry to make the situation less formal. Here. though there is a role for less inhibition when expressing emotions with which everybody present can be expected to agree. Motivating others Body language to motivate will include. appropriate bodily contact and supportive vocalizations will all help to create the kind of climate in which people are likely to feel motivated. Team building Warren Lamb took the view that i t i s impossible t o separate postures and gestures: they merge together in such a way that . 1 43 Since good industrial relations depend upon successful negotiations. modified perhaps with indirect orientation. for the same reason. in greetings and farewells. fruitful meetings and give and take on both sides. Appearance is probably a minor matter here. increased eye contact. the kind of body language which will be helpful will include increased eye contact. forward postures. will help. If they have difficulty in achieving this.

that is. submissive people will happily allow this and may actually welcome it because it removes the necessity for them to make active decisions when they would far rather be passive. One of the most noticeable characteristics of many effective teams is that many of the members look alike. There is no doubt that patterns of non-verbal communication do affect how well a number of people develop into a team. head movements. Dominant people like to control and regulate interaction.1 44 you have to consider both simultaneously. and even generally interact more comfortably. with people who are similar in appearance to ourselves. Which kinds of job are easiest to portray non-verbally? Which are the easiest to guess? Are both categories made up of the same jobs? 2 The ideal workmate Make a list of the non-verbal behaviours you would look for in an ideal workmate. and non-verbal aspects of speech. timing and synchronization. appearance and physique. There is more than a grain of truth in the old adage 'Birds of a feather flock together'. a dominant person and a submissive person will often get along very well together because their body language dovetails. Exercises and experiments 1 What's my line? If you can enlist the participation of a few other people. There will also be similarities in the use of all the other aspects of body language. We tend to feel we can work better. but we really need to consider the influence of all aspects of body language rather than just two of them. or are at least complementary. bodily contact. . The others have to guess what the occupation is. get them to take it in turns to portray an occupation by using body language alone. there may not be similarity so much as comple­ mentarity . gestures. it helps considerably if their posture-gesture merging patterns match each other. Use the headings eye contact. postures. He also believed that if people are to be welded together into effective teams. facial expressions. Sometimes. proximity and orientation.

if you are all middle-aged and White.3 Guess who's coming to work I magine that a new worker at your own place of work was as opposite in appearance to you and your workmates as possible (for instance. Is the use of body language a factor which affects how well they play? Which players seem to operate best together? Is this purely because of footballing skill or does body language affect the situation? � !!l. that he or she is young and Black). How would this affect the way in which the group or team you work with operates? 1 45 ! il c III (Q CD cr iii 4 Haway the lads! Study the members of your local football team and the way they play. * .

In this chapter you wili leam: • the role of body language in various situations encountered in everyday life • a systematic approach to analyzing other people's body language during small talk. .

fellow passengers. other customers. Mother gets up and the first people she meets are her husband and children. Father meets his wife and children. perhaps for several hours. If she is a housewife. the meter reader for the gas or electricity board. the person delivering mail orders. members of the parent-teachers' committee. It forms a constant stream of activity throughout every waking hour. fellow office workers.In addition to work. our own body language and that of other people will be continuously supporting (or contradicting). Have them talk about subjects which will not give their age away (for example. Consider the day of a fairly typical family. and how we behave then can more or less determine the eventual outcome of the entire meeting. These encounters can range from the briefest passing and acknowledgement of someone in the street to an extremely formal and prolonged evening function at which we have to be on our best behaviour. other mothers meeting their children from school. members of a children's theatre group touring schools. In each of these encounters. Play the tapes to other people and see if they can identify the age and sex of the speakers from voice alone. regulating or controlling the interaction which takes place. and then possibly the newsagent. and people in the pub when he finally catches up with his wife. friends. Exercise: age and sex 1 47 I � g ijj i Tape record the voices of several people of various ages. friends in the pub after work. the postman. Note these down in your notebook. Then watch the picture as well as listening to the sound and see if this helps you to decide how accurate you were. Record males and females in roughly equal proportions. If you are unable to enlist the participation of other people. It is particularly important at the beginnings of encounters. class­ mates. If you can find out from a Who 's Who-type reference book of television personalities how old people actually are. teachers. The children meet their parents. there are all kinds of other places in which we meet people and all kinds of people that we meet. shopkeepers. she could during the day meet neighbours. . the babysitter. so much the better. conversing and acting according to quite rigid rules. friends. and people in the pub after the meeting. shopkeepers. sit with your back to the television and see if you can guess the age and sex of several speakers. and the babysitter. restaurant staff. avoid having an older man talking about his war stories). the station ticket inspector.

Younger voices have a more confident. These first impressions tend to last. however. We rate their attractiveness. if the person is an attractive member of the opposite sex.1 48 Exercise review you might expect. even brash. Tone tends to deepen with age. sound to them in many cases. Hence the dependence on body language. though it tends to sharpen and sound quite fragile with extreme age. Indeed. whether we are going to like them. because it does have a strong influence upon us in our society and depends almost entirely on body language for its effect. It is often also quite easy. which­ ever form of the experiment you tried. As The first five minutes In the first five minutes of an encounter. what he or she is like. If more than two-thirds of the voices were correctly allocated to age and sex. incidentally. how easy or difficult they are going to be to deal with. they can even be affected by what we are told about someone in advance of meeting them. We assess people on several counts when we first meet them. we can be conditioned by this and respond in a friendly manner when we do meet them. The real problem comes with people whose ages are approximately between 30 and 70. and so on. For most people. it is not too difficult in most cases to identify a person's sex from voice alone. and may develop a tremor. Volume tends to be higher with younger people than with older ones. which does not merely mean rating their sexual attraction to us. this will be a factor. we are heavily dependent upon body language for information about the other person. that children's voices can be spotted without difficulty. Very old people often have a voice q uality that is relatively easy to distinguish. to identify race or nationality. and we do not begin to get detailed verbal information until later. The fact that they are formed very quickly does not seem to detract from their strength and permanence. particularly an encounter with a stranger. We depend on body language because the opening stages of conversations tend to centre around small talk and general trivia. We will return to personal attraction in the next chapter. this would be a good result (allow five years either side for age). It is interesting to note that we do not seem to be prepared to defer our judgements until we have this information. There are some clues which can be used. . like the weather. We seem to need to have to size people up quickly. You will probably have found. If we are told that we will like someone because they are friendly.

as it may be with some women with deep voices. If they had been likely to be negative. Things may change if we become more socially egalitarian. Again. These responses will also be affected by our perceptions of the other's status. our responses to people we perceive as being older than ourselves will differ from those we make to younger people. very small breasts and a male body shape. head cocks as we show interest in what news they have for us. we determine the other's sex. Other aspects of people which we assess in the first few minutes include their voice quality. forward lean. We try to assess a person's age. too. These behaviours are then followed in the initial stages of most conversations with stereotyped exchanges of the 'How are you? ' 'I'm fine. we have a long way to go. We respond differently if a younger person is of high status or an older person is of low status. general appearance and physique. or with some men who are soft-skinned and have female gestures and postures. and their educational and cultural background. their race or nationality. The conversation will either . close proximity and direct orientation. how are you? ' variety. as we are forming the first impressions we have j ust discussed. in the form of smiles. If this is difficult.As a part of attraction assessment. handshakes and perhaps hugs or holding the upper arm with the free hand while shaking the hand with the other. but they are still with us and cannot be ignored. 1 49 Opening and closing conversations At the beginning of an encounter the kinds of body language which can be observed include a great deal of eye contact. There will probably also have been eyebrow flash on first recognizing our companion. we would have done whatever we could to avoid the encounter in the first place. where they live. Although all men and women are equal. we do respond differently to persons of the opposite sex. and facial expressions which are more likely to be positive. We may also assess their social and political attitudes and opinions from their use of body language. than negative. but here. the resulting confusion can adversely affect the communication between us. These differences might disappear as society becomes more sexually egalitarian. likely occupation.

we've finished what we wanted to say to each other' . then. 'Right. How to spot a liar There is an old j oke about how to tell when a politician is lying. crossing and uncrossing the legs. he is telling the truth. and smiling. but the movements of the hands are less easily . as we have seen.indeed. which runs as follows. he is telling the truth. major movements of the legs. in the lower half of the body. using the hands to lever oneself out of the chair. he is lying. increase when we are trying to deceive others. The encounter is well under way. Leakage (non-verbal behaviour which an individual fails to control and which can give clues as to the real truth) most frequently occurs. Clearly. Both participants will unconsciously synchronize with each other. such verbalizations may actually accompany the body language. forward lean. Facial expressions may be capable of control. These include breaking eye contact. But when he opens his mouth. as described in Chapter 9. Shuffling the feet. and an accomplished liar may be able to maintain eye contact with his listener. left positioning (in which the person wishing to depart is pointing towards his or her proposed exit). Facial expressions and head movements will change to suit the verbal content of the conversation. twitching the toes. in real life no such easy and simple criteria apply. orientation may change so that it does not remain constantly direct and perhaps threatening. and so on. When he smiles. the body language settles down into the turn-taking in eye contact described in Chapter 1 . Mark Knapp and some of his colleagues investigated what they call 'the rhetoric of goodbye'. increased head nods. After the transition point. They identified a number of items of body language which seem to accompany the endings of conversations. Other behaviours which may be present include sweeping hand movements and. an uncrossing of the legs with a striking of the foot against the floor. perhaps preceded by striking the hands on the arms of the chair as if to say.1 50 shortly move on to more substantial matters or will tend to be short-lived. that's it. when sitting down. Gestures will emphasize points being made. Attempts at deception do also involve the upper half of the body to some extent. But there are certain behaviours which occur more often when people are lying than when they are telling the truth. When he points an accusing finger.

whilst not in themselves being indicative solely of falsehood. inconsequential chats about another person's general (though not specific) health. if we wish. rugby or cricket team and similar matters may seem to some people to be hardly worth spending time on. We can even. Liars are less likely to engage in bodily contact or even to approach closely. the weather. One gesture has been found to be common amongst those seeking to deceive. we can give most of our concentration to other people's body language. drumming the fingers and gripping arm rests. and made more speech errors. Albert Mehrabian. when he investigated how people behaved when they were conveying truthful messages and how they behaved when the messages were untruthful.to say the least undemanding. discovered that those who were lying talked less. voice tremors. talked more slowly. Body language is nearly always a better guide to the truth than even the most eloquent words. Their body language very often contradicts their spoken words. It is used to signal helplessness. they may say they would be very willing to submit themselves to a full enquiry and yet their facial expression may show distaste and their gestures and posture closed. It comes down again to context. systematically turn our attention to each aspect of body language . licking the lips. Yet they can have an importance quite out of proportion to their apparent significance. do occur more often when people are attempting to deceive others.and we do. Their rate of body movement also seemed to be slower. Touching the side of the nose. gulping. It is as if deceivers were trying to enlist our sympathy because they could not help themselves. This is the hand shrug in which the hands are rotated so as to expose the palms. We have to keep reminding ourselves that there are very few pieces of body language which have meaning on their own regardless of context. perspiration. Blushing.controllable. touching the eye. the fortunes of the local football. when the verbal content is . During small talk. shaking and playing with pencils or spectacles are other fairly obvious activities to watch for in people who are not telling the truth. For instance. 1 51 Small talk Vague.

Next time you meet someone for a casual chat about nothing in particular or the next time you meet a stranger at a party. signal greater intimacy between you or only the other's wish for greater intimacy? . towards you or away from you ? Look at the posture . Are they positive or negative ? Smiles and interest or scowls and disgust? Are there few or many changes in expression? Are there any micromomentary facial expressions you can spot? What about head movements? Do they show interest with head cocks ? Do they encourage you to speak with head nods ? Do they respond to your head nods ? Does the rhythm of their head movements fit the rhythm of their speech ? Next. where it occurs. consider facial expressions. Do they approach closely or not? If you move closer. First. or is their full attention given to you ? Secondly.1 52 so that we can learn more about the other person in less time than it would take to do so purely intuitively. eye contact: do they use much or little ? Do they appear to want more or less eye contact? How dilated are their pupils? Are they left breakers or right breakers ? Do they keep looking around at other people. which way do they cross them. try the following approach. Take each aspect of body language discussed in this book in sequence and consider how the other is using it. hands. are their gestures few or many? Are they expressive ? Are they appropriate ? Are they open or closed? Do they fold their arms in front of themselves or set up other barriers ? If they cross their legs. D o they use any? In greetings only? Are they touchers or non-touchers ? Which parts of the body do they touch most frequently as they are talking? Arms. backs or elsewhere ? Does_the touching.is it upright or stooping? Do they use backward or forward lean ? Consider proximity and orientation. shoulders. Another advantage of a systematic approach is that it enables us to check that we have not missed an aspect out. do they back away or turn to a less direct orientation? What do you do if they move closer ? Is their orientation direct or indirect? Is it symmetrical or asymmetrical ? Horizontal or vertical ? Now consider their use o f bodily contact.

taken in what for them is a normal environment. make things progressively easier and more natural. listen to the non-verbal aspects of their speech. in any case. 1 53 Exercises and experiments 1 Who said that? Obtain photographs of several people. yet systematic method of evaluating how other people use body language in everyday encounters. acquaintances. of course. Practice will. assess their appearance and physique and how you feel it affects your response. but these should provide you with a simple. why? Nervousness or a failure to synchronize for some other reason? Finally.Next. Be careful not to miss anyone out. is there anything you can do about it? . Then get them to tape record a couple of minutes' speech about a topic which will not give the environment away. bus drivers. See if other people can match the voices to the photographs. many other questions that can be posed. Do they make many speech errors ? How fast do they speak ? Do they speak loudly or softly? Have they a harsh tone or a smooth tone ? How do the non-verbal aspects of their speech affect your response to them? There are. family. You should then be able to improve your use of body language without becoming too self-conscious and deliberate. Then classify them into friends. canteen staff. What is the pattern of your daily interactions? Are you spending as much time with friends and family as you would like? If not. and so on with whom the interaction is purely functionaQ. strangers and non-persons (people like waiters. How successful are they? 2 How many people do you meet a day? Make a list of all the people you meet in a day. Do you find them attractive ? Are they taller than you or shorter? Does this have any effect? Are they fat or thin? Does this affect your response to them ? What about their timing and synchronization? Does the discussion you are having dovetail neatly or do you find yourselves both speaking at the same time ? If so.

or get a group together to play the game.1 54 3 What's the first thi ng you notice? When you meet strangers. and see how accurately you can identify the truth tellers . what is the first thing about them that you notice? Does it differ for males and females? For older people and for younger people? What are the physical characteristics you look for (or respond to) in an attractive stranger of the opposite sex? 4 Tell the truth Either watch a television programme in which people claim to be telling the truth. What deception cues help you to eliminate those least likely to be truthful? Ask those who seem to be able to pick out the right person more often than other people if they know how they do it. . You will probably find that many of them put it down to a hunch and are totally unaware of how they have been influenced by body language.

In this chapter you wili leam: • the part played by body language in establishing and maintaining relationships with the opposite sex • how nonverbal behaviour can be used to make an individual appear more attractive with better self-presentation impression management. and .

then. over the years. It is not quite as easy to identify what it is that women find attractive in men. studies which ask people to rate photographs of attractive women find that most respondents will agree on who they find the most attractive. a narrower waist. they are seen as having a socially desirable personality. if they think it is true. Whether all attractive people possess these qualities or not is clearly open to doubt. When compared with unattractive people. interesting. relatively broad hips and long legs are all usually regarded as attractive. but what people perceive as reality. muscular biceps and a large penis. In other words. poised. as being more maritally competent. Truth is not always reality. a softer complexion. Clearly. blonde with brown eyes and with vital statistics of 35-24-35. Glenn Wilson and David Nias describe a study which revealed that. as we now do. beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. At least one study found. So what is it that we are looking for ? Who and what do we find attractive ? Most of the studies carried out seem to suggest that men look for those characteristics in women which differentiate them from men: fuller lips. whether or not he was slim and . it is still possible to influence what the eye sees in the first place. after all. aged 2 1 . But averages always do. Several studies have shown that they are more likely to be regarded as being talented. however. Sft Bins tall. as more intelligent and as being happier. many women who do not match these stereotypes are regarded by men as attractive .or at least come closer to it than we might if we were in ignorance. Knowledge is always power and knowing more. that women were more interested in a man's eyes. conceal a range of individual variations. kind. about what people find attractive enables us to take steps to present them with what they wish to see . for all practical purposes. sociable and outgoing. a muscular chest and shoulders. sensitive. this will tend to encourage their development anyway. But if they are perceived as having them.1 56 True though it may b e that beauty i s in the eye of the beholder. it is true. as having higher occupational status. absence of facial hair. Men imagine that they look for tallness. large firm breasts. narrower eyebrows.nevertheless. Miss World has on average been an English-speaking model. But why should we bother ? One reason is that those who are perceived by others as being attractive are credited with having other attributes. warm and responsive. As we said at the beginning.

Mark Cook and Robert McHenry quote a study which suggested that the ideal face for both sexes is oval in shape with a clear complexion. appearance o r some other aspect of body language ? . a medium-sized mouth. however. facial expressions and gestures are expressive. attractive females. Exercise: 1 0 out of 1 0 1 57 1 ::::I !!!. starring 8 0 Derek and Dudley Moore. This exercise seeks to apply the same approach to persons of either sex. pupil dilation is high with plenty of eye contact. enlist the participation of others so that you finish up with a reasonably large number of completed scales. Some readers will remember the film 1 0. i g.whether he had small and sexy buttocks. Using the rating scale in Figure 1 4. No face. Which i s more important. If you can. The film was based on a long-standing habit of young Western males when looking for the company of young. ears which do not protrude. dependability and general character. rate several strangers over the next week. say. a straight nose. Every aspect of body language has a contribution to make and we often overlook a less-than-perfect face or figure when. so some variation from the ideal is inevitable. large blue eyes. personal attraction does not depend simply on appearance and physique. long eyelashes. You should obtain a clearer idea of precisely which non-verbal behaviours and physical characteristics appeal to you in other people. or we like the sound of someone's voice. based in part on the idea of scoring the attractiveness of people on a scale running from one to 1 0. A number of studies have found that women are much more interested in a man's personality. is perfectly symmetrical. 1 (make as many copies of it as you need). bushy eyebrows for men and fine eyebrows for women. In reality. You should also find that your ratings tend to agree with those of others who took part in the experiment (if you were fortunate enough to find some friends or colleagues who would) . Exercise review Two things should emerge from this exercise.

Place a X in the appropriate box. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Hair Forehead Shape of head Face Eyes Nose Mouth Ears Neck Skin Body build Shoulders Chestlbreasts Arms Hands Waist Buttocks Abdomen and pelvis Thighs Knees Calves Feet Shape of legs Length of legs Eye contact Facial expression Head movements Gestures Posture and stance Proximity and orientation Bodily contact Timing and synchronization Non-verbal aspects of speech TOTALS: (For a 0 rating simply leave blank) Max = 330 fi gure 14 .1 p e r s o n a l att ract i o n assessment s c a l e .1 58 Score people 1 to l O on each of the following aspects of appearance and other uses of body language.

he smiles. The moment comes when their eyes are almost locked together. Susie. Before that can happen. Susie nods agreement. As his eyes become accustomed to the rather subdued lighting. He doesn't realize it yet. Pete is already in danger of coming on too strong and turning the women off. One of them. His thumbs are hitched into the waist of his jeans and his hands are hanging loose. which will make subsequent communication more difficult. fashionably-dressed l S-year-old with short. disco or night club and see what body language they might use to initiate interaction and begin to get to know each other. crosses one leg loosely over the other so that an ankle rests on a knee. This will cause the one who does so some embarrassment and may therefore set in train a negative reaction. but in reality they are barely listening to each other. They appear to be wrapped up in each other's conversation. If his stance is too overtly sexual. a pert. warm. a group of young women is sitting chatting. he is already indicating to all the unattached women present that he is looking for a partner. He wants to look away. he contrives to return the look with increasing frequency. We shall call the young man Pete. though not in an obvious way. blushing slightly 1 59 1 !!!. orders a drink from the attractive floor waitress and continues looking around.Boy meets girl Let us visualize a first encounter between a young man and a young woman in a pub. Susie smiles back. Pete catches one of these glances and continues looking at her after she has looked away He likes what he sees. and if the mutual gaze continues too long without a development one of them will have to break gaze and look away. . As they talk. glances dart towards the boys around the room. Without realizing it. A slight. Pete enters and pauses just inside the door. but what should he do? Once he is aware that Susie keeps looking at him. but he is already being watched himself and every move he makes is telling the watcher something about him. friendly smile. looking around. dark hair. At a table beside the small area set aside for dancing. as does Susie. He sits down. He nods barely perceptibly towards the dance floor. he spies an empty table and makes for it. They are picking out the ones they will respond to if asked to dance. Even so they seem to be pointing towards his crotch. is already interested in Pete and keeps glancing in his direction. he will be seen as regarding himself as 'God's gift to women'.

How will Pete know that Susie likes him and is not j ust passing the time until something better walks in the door? What signals will she give ? Nothing can be completely certain because. as can perspiration. but her facial colouring may be heightened. asks her to dance and they go on to the floor. on whether the other gives the amount and kind of eye contact desired (if he now keeps glancing too obviously at other women it will tend to put Susie off). or has an unacceptable accent or voice quality. he may notice that the pupils are dilated. or fatter or thinner. But he is not yet home and dry by any means and there are numerous pitfalls still to avoid. or has undesirable breath or body odour. then they will both be sizing each other up on a number of characteristics. the moment will come when Susie will abandon her friends and sit with Pete between dancing periods. Although she might not stroke . If he looks into her eyes. on facial expression (if he doesn't smile again she may interpret it as loss of interest). and a host of other non-verbal behaviours. If they go on liking what they see. he may interpret this as a sign of interest. as we now know. He will be over the second hurdle. Because the lights are low and the music is on the loud side. goes over. body posture and orientation (if he keeps dancing with his back to her. just a tingling sensation of pleasurable anticipation. gestures (if she keeps stroking her hair.1 60 even though she doesn't really feel embarrassed. he has surmounted the biggest barrier in human communication. Their relationship will have progressed a stage. Pete and Susie will not have much opportunity to talk. This can be a favourable sign. If his initial attraction to her (and hers toward him) is maintained once they are close enough to find out if the other is taller or shorter than desired. the invitation to interact in the initial encounter. If his general assessment of her indicates that she is neither drugged nor drunk. They will assess each other (as we saw in Chapter 1 3 ) without knowing it. however slight (as long as it's not simply the result of dancing or because the place is over-warm). With hardly a word before success was assured. she will go and sit down with her friends). non-verbal communication is more dependent on context than verbal communication. he may see her as vain). She might not actually blush. He gets up. or is as physically attractive as seemed to be the case at some distance.

even though they have not yet had the opportunity to talk to each other in detail (the music is still too loud for this ). Bodily contact will also be more frequent and. however. the duration of mutual gaze will be extended. these are similar to those which are important in establishing friendships generally. Something similar will apply if the orientation is not reasonably direct. in the case of lovers. negative expressions will be more readily tolerated. . But it is also true that. if you cannot simply relax and show them how you are really feeling? Similarly. We can now leave Pete and Susie to enj oy themselves and each other. What are friends and lovers for. Proximity and orientation. after all. if only because one is in the presence of people one feels close to. gestures and posture. their bodies have already spoken volumes.her hair vainly all the time. at work and in everyday encounters. simply because of this. it is not necessary to attend to head movements. occasional grooming gestures and clothes-straightening (especially pulling down a sweater slightly so that it emphasizes the breasts) can be signals of interest and even readiness for sexual activity. As greater looking often leads to greater liking. at the very least this will provoke leg-pulling comments and at the worst it will lead to your exclusion from the group. it will be inferred that all is not as well as it should be. but it does. as we saw. If you persist in dressing totally differently. do need more attention. Appearance may not seem to matter much. Facial expressions will tend to be positive. In many ways. 1 61 Take your partners The example of Pete and Susie illustrates some of the general principles of using body language to find attractive mates and even to establish relationships of a less permanent nature. Close friends and lovers will suspect something is amiss if greater proximity is not permitted. if this is not frequent and extensive. having a different hairstyle or making-up (or not making-up) in an odd way. secure in the knowledge that. Eye contact between lovers and friends has an even greater importance than it has.

But how do charismatic personalities use body language ? Is their use of it what makes them stars? If it is.1 62 I ! ::J Timing and synchronization may tend to look after themselves. you will need to use all your sensitivity in deciding what is appropriate. but the non-verbal aspects of speech will be important. can the rest of us learn how to become stars ? . Getting on with people Empathy is the term often used to describe the ability to be able to view a situation or problem from someone else's point of view. or your tone is harsh and your friends are gentle people. or your voice is too loud and your friends are quiet. Successful empathy. With facial expression or gestures. If they want more eye contact. g. you could well have problems. Careful attention to the key areas of body language between lovers and friends will not be misplaced. Star quality Stars possess charisma. empathy is a question of adjusting to what other parties to the interaction feel is appropriate. these approaches have a far­ reaching significance. That is what makes them stars and makes them stand out from the crowd. If your accent does not fit in. a liberal use of head nods (single and double of normal size . to reinforce and to reassure. As far as head nods are concerned. Essentially. You can let them give the lead in timing and synchronization. because the other might make no obvious indication as to preference. of the kind necessary in counselling. Since their role is to draw out. the initiative lies with you.not exaggerated) will help to encourage the verbal flow necessary for effective counselling. depends on a more than usually sensitive response to the body language of others and on using it more effectively oneself. direct orientation or bodily contact. You may find that some study of the body language of those closest to you will provide insights into the key areas in the specific context in which you find yourself. you can provide it. As counselling and advising are everyday skills as well as professional skills. appearance and non­ verbal aspects of speech. greater proximity.

you have to be in the right place at the right time. or eye contact. with lowered brows and a seductive expression. body language must be an important factor. They use anticipatory scanning when moving through a crowd of fans. Stars smile and grin a great deal Their facial expressions are always fast-changing and expressive. as it were. to bring the audience into the interaction: their 1 63 1 :::J !!!. So does the captain of the school soccer team whom the girls have a crush on. Our everyday experience tells us that there are many good singers. They love to look and. They feed upon it and thrive upon it. perhaps in the case of some pop singers. Clearly. luck plays a part . So does the guard on the train who chats to her passengers over the public address system and at the end of the j ourney commends them to the safe-keeping of the Almighty. In the case of teenage idols. as can many other body movements. but only a few of them become stars. and good comedians. which makes people defer to them and which causes them to be raised on to a pedestal in the popular mind. Either that or. as if to allow everyone as clear a view of it as possible. If they have long hair. But it is present to some degree in many of the people you meet in the course of an average day. They must be open and the hands are frequently palm up with the arms stretching out as if to embrace the audience. defensive gestures help. good actors. it can on its own provoke squeals of delight from the fans. they are sullen. The old man in the pub who is a 'bit of a character' has charisma. But body language is also crucial. good dancers. They blossom in the limelight of others' attention. A common head movement with stars is to toss the head back­ wards. Gestures are important to a star. it is quite a dramatic gesture. They look around at their audiences. ! g. It is most common in leaders (whether political or otherwise). Palm-up or palm-outwards gestures of various kinds and an avoidance of closed. entertainers and sports personalities. especially. For some stars it is the most important aspect of body language. . but it seems to be a quality that some people have which draws others' eyes to them. Charisma is difficult to define. Stars (even the stars of everyday life) will be high on gaze and mutual gaze. charismatic individuals will be dominant rather than submissive. The head is often tilted back.Certainly. to be looked at. As far as their use of body language is concerned. It often occurs at pauses in songs or when taking the audience's applause.

which is unfortunate . Appearance is almost always highly attractive or highly unusual. Proximity is not usually close. picking pieces of fluff off the clothing. This may seem to provide a stereotypical picture of a star. breathy. How to be more attractive Of all the aspects of body language that have been discussed. All we can do here is highlight some of the aspects of body language which accompany star quality.stroking the hair. you never turn your back on your audience.and may even be overtly sexual in nature. straightening clothes . Orientation in situations like television chat shows may be asymmetrical and indirect as there is usually an attempt to create a relaxing and informal atmosphere in which interviewees will disclose more about themselves than they might otherwise. Posture tends to be upright with some forward lean. There have to be things about them which distinguish them from others. Very often one arm is extended with the hand palm up and the other hand is on the hip. Stars are nearly always people you look at but do not touch This may be part of the reason why pop fans will often go to great lengths to get close enough to touch their idols. 'mid-Atlantic' accent. except when moving through fans. For this kind of reason. You do not have to practise them all before you can become a star. They talk a lot and often in a fast. individuals. If stars looked like chartered accountants or shop assistants. though television close-ups can give the illusion of proximity.stars are. They especially like to talk about themselves and their successes. That must be remembered. it would be more difficult for us to put them on their pedestals. Orientation towards the audience will usually be direct and stems from an old convention in the theatre that. which are the ones that will make other people think you more attractive ? Let us take each aspect in turn and see what we should be doing: . they are often more heavily made up and their style of dress is both colourful and fashionable. Bodily contact is infrequent. Gestures are often self-manipulative .1 64 role a s receivers might make them passive and therefore less likely to applaud unless they were brought in in this way. by definition. as in teaching. Their timing and synchronization are sharp and dominant.

6 Proximity and orientation: Approach as closely as you can without embarrassing others. This applies to both sexes. People like listeners. without overdoing it. Use open postures. you should be able to improve your attractiveness to others significantly and noticeably. but attractive people talk more. Smile a lot in a warm. friendly manner.1 Eye contact: Lookers are normally preferred to non-lookers. 1 65 If you feel you are presently deficient in your body language in more than two of these areas. 3 Head movements: Use single and double head nods to encourage others to speak and to show attention on your part. 5 Posture: When standing. be reasonably erect. Perhaps the best way is to keep your hands out of your pockets and avoid arm-folding and other barrier gestures. Use open gestures. Who initiates interaction? The male. Use a 0° orientation wherever possible. in . 4 Gestures: Be expressive. but try to talk as well as listen in roughly equal proportions. as discussed in Chapter 9. Encourage touching from others. but men may have to restrict colour a little more and do not need to have such soft skins. Keep skin soft and smooth. Keep slim. Adopt forward leaning. Exercises and experiments 1 Who ma kes the first move? Observe people in a place where they are meeting for the first time (a party or a dance. say). 1 0 Non-verbal aspects of speech: Do not talk too much or too fast. 9 Timing and synchronization: Be sensitive to the operation of these factors. symmetrical posture for showing interest. 8 Appearance and physique: Dress according to group norms. 7 Bodily contact: Touch as often as you can without causing offence. Use head cocks for the same reasons. 2 Facial expressions: Be lively. who. When seated. Aim for a reasonably standard accent and avoid regional extremes. Control volume. adopt backward leaning asymmetrical posture for informality. Give people as much eye contact as you think they can take. literally. Keep your chin up. but go for colour where you can. pitch and tone to suit the environment. You will have to balance the two. Let your face register interest.

compare your assessment with those of several other people. If you can. still tends to adopt an outgoing role? Or the female. On which aspects do you agree? .Westem culture. sexy What are the body language components of sex appeal? List them under the ten headings used in this chapter. How do they use the 10 aspects of body language we have discussed in this chapter? What differences do you notice from what has been suggested here? Try to meet some stars in person and conduct the same analysis. Are there any differences between their behaviour in real life and their behaviour on television? 3 Partners for life Study the body language of people you know who have been happily married for at least 1 0 years. perhaps by permitting longer than normal eye contact? What body language brings two male or two female strangers together (except in homosexual encounters)? How does this differ from a mixed-sex encounter? 2 Stargazing Study television stars. Do they echo each others' postures and gestures? Do they echo any other aspects of body language? How does their behaviour differ when they are apart from when they are together? 4 Hello.

.In this chapter you will learn: • the role of body language in personal development how effective use of and body the • language can personal ment • contri bute to growth exploitation of human develop­ the role of body language in the development of synergic relations • how nonverbal behaviour can be observed and recorded for analysis.

By now it should be clear that. use the numbers 1 to 5).. and it will be the task of this chapter to show how the work done so far can be continued after you have finished the book and how you can continue using body language to increasingly better effect. at the end of the book. your tutor should be able to arrange for the games to be played in the classroom. I've done body language. Give all the pieces of paper to one person. Body language is so central to self-presentation and impression management that it makes good sense to see its development as but a means to an end. There have to be continuation and follow-up if improvements are to be maintained and consolidated to provide a solid base for even further improvements. you closed it and said to yourself. then the work done in the course of using this book will have acquired additional usefulness. If you are using this book as a class text.n There are many non-verbal games that you can play. 'Right. Write numbers on pieces of paper sufficient for the number of players (for instance. after all. in presenting ourselves to the world at large and seeking to manage or control the impression we make upon it. who gives each of the other players a . It would. We shall look at some of them in this chapter. if there are five players. Exercise: secret messages . and you should try to find opportunities to play as many of them as possible. But the value is enhanced if the aim is greater effectiveness in communication and improvement is seen as making a contribution to personal growth and the exploitation of human potential.. whatever improvements had been made would soon disappear.and by now. as there is in developing any other personal skill. that's it. c. if you have been carrying out the exercises and experiments at the end of each chapter. If.. Everyone sits in a circle around this person. we can achieve this larger purpose of personal develop­ ment.. which will help to develop your use of body language in a general way and thus contribute to your personal development. what's next?' Clearly.1 68 j !!!. be less than fully useful if. But we might be able to take things further. here and at the end. This first game involves the non-verbal transmission of messages.. body language can be improved . you should see in yourself signs of that improvement. I I There is clearly some value in developing body language skills for their own sakes. if you can enUst the cooperation of family or friends. as we claimed in the Introduction.

The person in the middle has to try to take one of their places.. 2 and 5). together with smiles and eye contact at appropriate points in the interaction. which he or she shuffles and redistributes. everyone gives him or her the numbered pieces of paper. except the person in the middle calling the numbers.. How. for instance.. the players must first find out non-verbally which players have the numbers called. there are certain things worth looking out for. Exercise review 1 69 .. You will find it useful to make a list of the things you learn from playing this and the other games in this chapter. do the players establish who the numbered players are without the person in the middle finding out? Which aspects of body language do they use? How can the person in the middle best catch the non-verbal messages which pass between players? Is it more difficult to make others understand your number or to understand someone else's? How do players signal the moment when they wish to change places? Sometimes a kind of conspiracy against the person in the middle can develop in which several players pretend to be the nominated numbers. the other person and a smooth pattern of interaction. For this to happen with relative ease you need clear channels of communication. This produces confusion and makes it easier for players to change places. you need to become skilled in establishing rapport with others.. It can be played until everyone has had a tum in the middle or until everyone is tired of it. You can use a warm. and for you to find that each encounter makes some small contribution to furthering personal development. They must make sure the person in the middle does not also find out. and acceptance of. If the person in the middle succeeds in taking a player's place when the changeover occurs then that player goes into the middle. some degree of trust in. The game then begins again. There are several things you can do to create rapport. You can make . The players with these numbers have to change places. friendly manner. No one may speak. Establishing rapport For successful c ommunication to take place between you and other people. Since no one knows anyone else's number. The person in the middle calls out two numbers (say.numbered piece of paper which they keep concealed from the others. 0'1 In playing this game.

if you wish to find out more about a person you are more likely to achieve this if you first volunteer information about yourself. sympathetic interest in the other person. giving them your full attention.. This can be done both verbally and non-verbally. You will need to reduce any anxiety or defensiveness shown by the other and you should be concerned to see that the impression you make on the other is a good one. You will need to motivate them and make them want to take part. and listening carefully to what they say will all help.rapport more likely by treating the other person as an equal. in the main. which makes it easier to establish rapport. you will need to keep the other person involved in the interaction. Eye contact will be higher than average. Finding a common interest or experience can help to create a bond between people. UI In discussion. low volume and various supportive vocalizations. such as a soft tone. so this aspect of body language may be important. Facial expressions will show interest and a good deal of use will be made of smiles. This can be helped by using non­ verbal aspects of speech. Proximity will be close and orientation either direct or side by side. consist of nods and head cocks. Head movements will. He has shown that people will disclose more and behave differently when the person they are with has first let him. In other words. . Bodily contact will often be appropriate. Rapport is easier to establish between people who look and dress alike.or herself be known in various respects. and generally meet them on their own ground. or the willingness of people to disclose information about themselves to others. Clearly. making it clear that there is plenty of time for the encounter. many of these things can be achieved by using appropriate body language. Showing a keen. You can adopt the other's terminology and conventions.. . holding a hand or placing an arm round a shoulder. Self-disclosure Sidney Jourard has done a great deal of research into what he calls 'the transparent self'. You can establish the smooth and easy pattern of interaction that is needed by using the various techniques discussed in this book.. Postures will be forward more often than not. Timing and synchronization will be crucial and it is better if you let the other person dictate the pace and style of interaction and seek to fit in with it and encourage it. Gestures will be open and encouraging.

c.. by an increased use of gestures and by more changes in posture. Examples might be fathers behaving as children. you can engage in self-disclosure by. a great deal of interactive skills training neglects or even totally ignores body language. In this kind of activity role-reversal. All bodily movement makes a contribution to enabling others to make an assessment of us. of the kind suggested in this chapter. Exercises and experiments like the ones in this book provide this. both in yourself and in others. Again.. for instance. An integrated approach to the development of interactive or social skills would contain several elements. and vice versa. in which you assume a role opposite to that which you would normally occupy in a situation. It is often easier to disclose yourself to a stranger than to a friend. salesmen behaving as customers.f i .Non-verbally. a substantial part of what happens is non-verbal rather than verbal. Games. As we have seen. Self-disclosure is worth encouraging. there is a need to redress the balance. discussions of situations with others and reading (perhaps of some of the books listed in the Further Reading section) will all make a contribution.n I nteractive skills It would be remiss of us if we were to complete our consideration of how to use body language more effectively without giving some thought as to how non-verbal skills relate to other interactive skills. using a greater variety of facial expressions. It leads to self-awareness and knowledge and these in turn lead to self-development and personal growth. is particularly useful. Imitations of models of good practice. If responses are recorded. especially of inner thoughts and feelings. feedback (perhaps through the use of video taping) enables participants to judge how well or how badly they have performed.. If people think they are unlikely to see someone again. which promotes further improvement. managers behaving as shop stewards. . Role-playing provides an excellent opportunity to integrate both verbal and non-verbal skills. in any face-to-face encounter between people. this makes it possible for you to provide yourself with feedback. that person acquires 'stranger value' and more is disclosed. at the moment. There would be practice. also help. 1 71 i i ! . Since.

When it is. gestures. however. These include watching films or television programmes and then discussing people's behaviour with others.1 72 i '0 II i a.. that is synergy. but you can still achieve a great deal on your own. (II Synergy Synergy is said to occur when the outcome of a situation is greater than the sum of the inputs. . head movement. having someone read a passage and assessing the emotional state being portrayed when the words cannot be heard. Although caution has been urged over encounter groups. or doing some elementary recording of body language in the way suggested later in this chapter. Things need to work together particularly well for synergy to be produced. that is synergy. = Non-verbally. The important point to keep in mind is that skill in using body language needs to be seen in the context of developing interactive skills generally.. some people can find them useful. If the involvement of others can be secured. i 3 a . the party at which everybody really enjoys themselves and seems to go with that extra swing... Synergy can also be promoted by eye contact. There are. postures and non-verbal aspects of speech where these have an influence on people's reactions to what has j ust happened and anticipation of what is about to happen. so much the better. When things are going so well and with such a rhythm that an occasion acquires a dimension of magic and a sense of being special. the football team which does not merely win its matches but seems as if it cannot lose.. it adds an extra quality which is well worth striving for. alternative forms of sensitivity training which are less stressful. It is sometimes described by the formula 2 + 2 5. Examples of synergy might include the performance of a play that is not j ust good but gets several curtain calls from a rapturous audience. that is synergy. When everybody is working together so well that it seems as if they simply could not make a mistake. synergy is promoted especially by sensitive timing and synchronization. When an artist gives such a perfectly timed and paced performance that it is absolutely flawless.

A person appointed as the game leader calls out a number.t if behaviour present: figure 1 5 .. Anyone left over drops out of the game. One chair is left . record their body language on a coding sheet (see Figure 1 5. This can later be analyzed for the purpose of establishing patterns and to identify peculiarities in behavioural styles. Two possibilities follow. 1 ). 1 b o d y l a n g uage c o d i n g s h eet Exercises and experiments 1 Random g roups A group of players moves freely around a room. c. Half sit on chairs and half stand behind the chairs. it will be useful to make some more systematic recordings of non-verbal behaviour. No-one may speak. This should provide even more information for analysis and assessment.n 1 Eye contact 2 Facial expression change . The game continues until only two people remain. and the players have to fORn into groups of that size.Recording body language For those who wish to pursue their study of body language further.2).. Differences in their use of body language should be detected.t .. 2 Is a wink as g ood as a nod? A group of players is divided into two groups. it is interesting to see who are the most successful players and who are the least successful. In this game. Second. e. such as two or four.t .g • 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 I t 3 CL i I . arranged in a circle.t 3 Head movements 4 Gestures 5 Posture change 6 Proximity and orientation change 7 Bodily contact 8 Appearance (rate on scale 1 to 1 0 ) 9 Timing and synchronization 8 .t 1 0 Non-verbal aspects of speech . while watching a chosen subject on television or in real life.t . record your responses to your subject's body language on a rating scale (see Figure 15. • 1 73 • First.

1 74

I

!!!.

i

!

.....

(JI

Attractive/good looking Smart Clean High self-esteem Ambitious Warm Approachable Sought after Happy Calm Rewarding Generous Sociable Permissive Kind Has 'presence' Distinguished Respected Confident Assertive Charismatic Star Success Progressive Colourful Likes children Businesslike Extrovert (outgoing) Active Takes risks Impulsive Expressive Responsible Practical Casual Independent Peaceful Bright Masculine Straightforward Honest Open Spendthrift Liberal Drinks Sympathetic Considerate

_______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______

Unattractive/ugly Unkempt Dirty Low self-esteem Unambitious Cold Aloof Avoided Depressed Anxious Unrewarding Mean Unsociable Strict Cruel Has no 'presence' Undistinguished Spurned Timorous Submissive Mediocre One of the crowd Failure Reactionary Colourless Does not like children Disorganized Introvert (inward looking) Lazy Cautious Controlled Inhibited Irresponsible Reflective Obsessive Dependent Aggressive Dull Feminine Devious Dishonest Shifty Thrifty Conservative Abstains Unsympathetic Inconsiderate

Place ./ at point on scale for example: Clean !I _ _ _ _ _ Dirty _ Warm _ _ _ !l _ _ Cold _

fig ure 1 5 . 2 s e m a n t i c d iffe rential rat i n g scale for p e rc e p t i o n s of oth e rs ' n o n ­
v e r b a l b e h av i o u r

empty (Le. there must be an odd number of players). The person behind the empty chair has to wink at a seated player. That player has to try to get to the empty chair and the person standing behind has to try to prevent him or her. If he or she succeeds in preventing the escape, both players change places and the person with the empty chair tries again . It is worth noticing if one attractive member of the group gets more winks than anyone else, and if seated players try to avoid being winked at by unattractive standing players.

1 75

3 The magic m i rror
Each player finds a partner and stands facing them. The players try to move in such a way that they copy each other, as if they were mirror images. Those who observe the game should look to see who gives a lead, which people are better at copying than others and which people do things that are almost impossible to copy. ......

en

4 Silent d rawing
A number of people sit round a piece of paper, supplied with crayons or felt-tipped pens of different colours. No one speaks. Each person contributes as much or as little as he or she wishes to create a drawing on the piece of paper. Who starts? Who does most? Who does nothing at all? How does the group decide it has finished? What are the most common non-verbal behaviours?

5 Come in if you can get i n
The players wait outside a room. They come in one at a time and take up a position they find comfortable near people they like. No one may speak. The game finishes when everyone is finally placed. How many groups form? Who is left out? What body language do people use to show that they want someone to join them? How do they show they do not want someone to join them?

[1761
n o ::1 n c til o ::1

-

_.

We are approaching the end of our consideration of body language, its nature, its uses and how it can be improved. You should not think of this as the end of your study of body language, however. You can continue that for the rest of your life, if you wish, by always paying more attention to non-verbal aspects of communication than you did before you read this book. Hopefully, you will have overcome the embarrassment that many people feel over discussion of body language. You should be able to regard it as a skill in the same way that reading, writing, listening and speaking are skills. As these can be improved by training, so can body language. Of all the points that have been made in this book and of all the information which has been given, which are the most important? What are the essential features of body language that you should concentrate on and seek to develop in your everyday encounters with other people at work and at play? You are free, of course, to form your own opinions on this on the basis of what you have learned both from reading the book and from carrying out the exercises and experiments. You might nevertheless find it useful to have a view against which you can measure your own. Let us consider each aspect of body language separately, but remember that its effective use requires all aspects to be integrated. We must remind ourselves that we only separate the aspects for convenience of examination. contact is likely to lead to greater liking, greater awareness and more accurate understanding of others' body language. We have to remember that communication is as much a question of accurate reception of signals as it is of skilful transmission. Pupil size is a useful indicator of liking, at close quarters. As it is

Eye contact should be encouraged. Avoid staring, but more eye

information which is more likely to provoke a favourable response. Just let them flow as a natural accompaniment both to the rest of your body language and to what you say. C­ !/!. Head movements. progressing smoothly and so they. as it were. yet their faces are usually so expressive that their ugliness almost becomes a kind of beauty. should be encouraged. Even unattractive people can appear attractive if they have lively and expressive faces. arm pats. On the other hand. it can be more revealing than many other aspects of body language. and avoid hogging it. shoulder pats. We can always soften any stress produced by this by adopting an indirect orientation. Not that you should content yourself with being a permanent listener. it is worth noting that high-status individuals exhibit low peripheral movement in the form of few gestures and few changes in posture. convey active interest and involvement. Stooping and slouching should always be avoided as these will almost always give an impression of lack of interest or other negative feelings. it is a question of judging what is most appropriate in the circumstances. other people to talk. But there are times when an asymmetrical leaning back will help to keep the atmosphere informal and relaxed. and even encourage. barrier gestures. but not to the point of being contrived and affected. to distance ourselves rather more than in many other cultures. Palm up or palm outward gestures are especially useful to encourage. The more you allow. Avoid defensive. especially nods. arm round shoulders and guiding hands on the arm or back may be Posture should be upright with forward lean when trying to Proximity should be encouraged. Once again.beyond conscious control. embarrassment. When we are alone it is worth remembering that reflective thought is encouraged more by a horizontal orientation than a vertical one. can help to keep an encounter Gestures should be open and expressive. the more they will like you. Handshakes. Movement provides others with information about us. Many comedians are ugly or have odd-looking faces. so there can be several advantages in allowing closeness. too. 1 77 Facial expressions should be lively and expressive rather than g 5 o :::I too carefully controlled and restricted. In our Western culture we tend Bodily contact should be encouraged where it will not lead to . simply that you should seek to share the floor.

irking to improve them. . and 'ahs' wherever you can. g the best ones to start with. But because it does also have a vital role in supporting (or contradicting) verbal communication it needs to be developed in the same way as other communication skills. the growth of human understanding and the promotion of truly effective interpersonal communication.you can exercise some control. care needs to be exercised here and progress in using bodily contact should be dictated by what others find appropriate. It is limited in the amount and range of information it can convey and is most suited to portraying emotions and attitudes. Perhaps the best way is to observe carefully those people you can identify as having a particularly acute sense of timing and who are able to synchronize with others with seeming perfection. Avoid speaking too loudly with too harsh a tone. Keep an eye on your own and other people's body language. without seeming too polished and glib. practise the instruction and guidance offered in this book. You will be taking important steps in the development of your full potential and will be helping others in the achievement of the highest objectives to which humankind can aspire. as your skill in using it continues to improve.1 78 g 5 e­ !II. But. your enjoyment and satisfaction in interacting with other people grows accordingly.perhaps by listening to a tape of yourself . Experimenting with clothing can often reveal new ways of dressing which produce a more favourable response from others. read other books on body language and you should find that. you should remember that body language is only one communication skill. as we said. overweight people might seriously consider either slimming down or at least dressing in ways which disguise the excess flesh. that this will bring about improvements. Aim to maintain as uninterrupted a flow of speech as possible. are aware of the characteristics of your own speech . It is more a question of following others' initiatives rather than taking too much of a lead. it is worth "" '. 'ers'. Non-verbal aspects of speech provide an area in which. Appearance and physique should be changed where you can see Timing and synchronization are based on such subtle signals that it takes a good deal of time and effort to refine them. Nevertheless. Since a high value has been placed upon slimness in our society. once you Above all. Avoid speaking too rapidly and using 'umms'.

( 1 972 ) The Psychology of Interpersonal Behaviour. University of Chicago Press. Newleaf. Diagram Group ( 1 999) Body Language.E. ( 1 994) The Body Language of Poker. Penguin. in spite of the fact that some research was done over a hundred years ago. body language (or non-verbal communication. as researchers usually call it) is still a very young subject. ( 1 978) Sexual Attraction. Although a great deal of research has been done in the last 30 years. P. M. Caro. Wiley. you will. Blake. Axtell. much remains to be done. D. R. Argyle. M. Clayton. Argyle. M. A. ( 1 972) Kinesics. Penguin. R. ( 1 975 ) Bodily Communication. ( 1 999) Body Language in Relationships. Nevertheless. R. Sheldon Press. Parker Publishing Co (USA). find it useful to read some of the books below. Cundiff. . Methuen. Cook. Lawrence & Wishart. if you wish to pursue your interest in body language. M.In research terms. Darwin. Harper Collins. M. ( 1 973 ) Kinesics and Context. ( 1 997) Body Language: The Meaning of Modern Sport. ( 1 99 8 ) Gestures: The Do's and Don'ts of Body Language Around the World. Pergamon. Birdwhistell. ( 1 865. ::s (Q _. Carol Publishing Corporation. & McHenry. ( 1 999) Body Language: A Visual Guide. Cohen. republished 1 965) Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. C.

J. Neill. W. Prentice-Hall. Nierenberg. (ed. D. J. ( 1 971 ) Self-disclosure. J. J. University of Toronto Press. ( 1 973 ) How To Read A Person Like A Book. D. Prentice-Hall. Cape. G. W. Lamb. Korte.T. & Calero. Mehrabian. Hall. Rinehart & Winston. R. R. ( 1 965) Posture and Gesture.O. & Baxter. Morris.H. B. Early. Harrison. H.L. ( 1 975 ) Unmasking the Face. Cape. E. C. Pan Books. G. Wayland. A. ( 1 971 ) Body LAnguage. ( 1 996) Body Language. Matthews. Kleinke. ( 1 982) Nonverbal Communication. & Friesen. ( 1 979) Gestures. ( 1 959) The Silent Language. ( 1 996) The Body Language of Children. Sage Publications. C. S. ( 1 993) Body Language for Competent Teachers. Mehrabian. Lewis. Van Nostrand Reinhold.. Rozelle. Holt. P.W. Ekman. . ( 1 999) Body LAnguage. S. Wiley. ( 1 971 ) Silent Messages. Knapp. Doubleday. Duckworth. Hanau. Fast. ( 1 972 ) Nonverbal Communication.M. Aldine Atherton. D. Lillenas Publishing. Hall. Graywolf Press. ( 1 974) Beyond Words. ( 1 972 ) Nonverbal Communication in Human Interaction. ( 1 975 ) The Tell-Tale Eye. Harper Collins. & Caswell. ( 1 99 8 ) Body Language in Literature. A. Lovitt. Morris. R. Wadsworth.V. ) ( 1 99 8 ) Body LAnguage: Writers on Sport.H. Prentice­ Hall. ( 1 975 ) First Impressions. D. M. Routledge. ( 1 990) Signs and Symbols: Body Language. ( 1 977) Manwatching. Jourard. E. Souvenir Press.C. Hess.!.Duckman.

Sage Publications. C. ( 1 99 8 ) The Body in Language. ( 1 956) Nonverbal Communication. Ruesch. H. Cassell. ( 1 99 8 ) Body Language. Prentice-Hall. ( 1 9 8 3 ) Nonverbal Interaction. R. Scheften. & Harrison. Robson. 1 81 . D. A. P. Ruthrof. G. L. Prentice-Hall. ( 1 972) Body Language and Social Order. University of California Press.E. W. R. Zunin. ( 1 995) Body Language Secrets for Success at Work.P. G.M.Quilliam. Open Books. & Kees. ( 1 972 ) Contact: The First Four Minutes. & Nias. ( 1 969) Personal Space. J. F. Watts. S. Wiemann. Sommer. Bloomsbury. Gunn & Ham. Wilson. ( 1 976 ) Love's Mysteries. Thorsons. ( 1 996) Winning With Body Language. (ed) ( 1 979) Skill in Nonverbal Communication Individual Differences. & McLaughlin. Talmy Franklin. Wilson. R. J. Rosenthal. Oelgeschlager.

1 3. 1 00. 1 49 aggression 1 3. Ray 45. 97-102. 1 37. 26. 62. 89. 1 30. 1 00. Charles 1 9 deception 1 20. 99. 34. 1 37-8. 1 33 chronemics 1 06 classroom behaviour 1 40-1 clothes changing exercise 1 02. 26. 46. 52.[1821 :::J C. CD >< accent 1 1 7-8. 1 78 empathy 1 62 encou nter groups 1 72 endomorph 99. body language of 1 28 bodily contact 81 -92. James 68 Berne. 1 01 . 1 30. Paul 22. 26. 1 64 adaptors 42 · age 1 0. 1 30 attitudes 1 1 . 1 6. 1 1 4-1 5. 22. 29-30. 42 ectomorph 99. 65-6. 27. 1 73-5 1 03-4 communication skills 1 6. 94-5. 42. 1 29. 1 50-1 depression 28. 61 Americans 1 27. 1 3-1 4. 75-8 domi nance 1 1 . 90. 92-3. 58. 1 1 1 . 1 30 distance 68-9. expression of 1 3. 1 30. 56 Derek. M ark 1 3. 1 4. 97. 1 03-4. 88. 37. Eckman . 1 3. 1 65. 1 60 1 52. 51 . 1 9. 1 31 charisma 1 62-4 children 1 0. 52. 1 43. 28. Michael 1 0. 86. 27-8. 21 . 1 40 appearance 26. 42. 1 03 exercises and experiments 1 6-1 7. 1 03-4. 1 61 . 1 70. 1 77 body types 99-1 01 Calero. 1 65-6. 1 44-5. 23. 1 60. 1 1 7. 25-6. 60. _. 56. Henry 42. 1 51 crowding 75-8 cultural differences 1 28-30 un iversals 1 30 Darwi n . 1 33 antici patory screening 1 1 3. 1 1 9 doodling 1 32 dramatic performances 66 Baxter. Eric 90 Birdwhistell. 1 43. 1 41 . 26. 39-40. 1 6. 42. 1 23-4. 38. 79-80. 53-4. 42. 1 32 anger 1 9. 1 03 emblems 42 emotions. 23. 1 48. 1 47-8. 50. 28. 56. 1 62. 22. 1 38. 22-3. 22-3. Bo 1 57 disgust 22. cooperation 69-71 Condon. 1 35 Argyle. 34. 1 9. 1 34-5. 1 78 . Will iam 1 1 0 Cook. 1 22. 1 01 Blacks. 28. 1 42 attraction 1 2. com petition vs. 1 57 context 1 3. 1 53-4.

37. 1 �. 62. 1 1 0. 1 83 1 21 . 1 49 facial expression 1 8-30. 1 38. 45. 63. 1M Lamb. 49. 1 41 listening 1 2. 34. 61 . 1 72 Hall. 1 56. Warren 158.eye contact 7-1 7. 42 gaze 9-1 6. 48. body languBU" III 1 39. 1 65 eyebrow flash 1 2. 35. 1 50 Greeks 1 27. 61 . Robert 1 57 markers 34. 1 43 grooming 63. 68 . 1 59 Germans 1 29 gestures 41-54 goodbye 43. 88 Knapp. 1 38-8. Robert 1 32 Morris. Kendon. 1 27 handshakes 87-8. 1 06. 1 110 laughing 1 23 leakage 46. 1 40 observation of body langunua 1 73 occupations. 1 29. 26. 1 30 feedback 1 1 -1 3. 1 62 Hedin. 1 29. 1 22. 76. 1 49 hair 24. 1 1 0. 1 06. 1 02. 75-8 physique 99-1 00 posture 55-86 proxemics 68 proximity 67-80 pupil di lation 1 57 . 83. Nieren berg . 4 7 . 1 03 messages. Gerard 42. 1 39. 24. 1 31 . Edwards 68. 37. 1 50 head nods 38. 68. Sidney 83. 87. secret 1 88-8 micromomentary expreslllol1l' 17 Moore. 1 1 7. Adam 1 1 0 kinesics 45. 1 1 9 haptics 86 head cock 23. Richard 87 homosexuals 1 4. 1 30. 37. 51 . 23 interviewing 1 39 inti macy 87 Italians 1 29 Japanese 1 27. 1 1 3 first im pressions �. 37 meetings 1 41 Mehrabian. 1 59 McHenry. Mark 82. 25. 63. 95-7 formality 1 65 Friesen. 1 38-41 . 25. 1 43. Albert 80-1 mesomorph 99. Dudley 1 57 Moran . 1 29 Jourard. . 1 49 head movements 31 -8. 94. 81. 76. 78. 1 52 fashions 1 02 fear 26. 1 29 greetings 1 9. 69. 1 39. 89. 1 61 groups 60. Desmond 47-8. 1 43 impression management 1 68 industrial relations 1 43 interaction 1 2. 1 50 leave-taki ng 50 legs 46. 1 00. 1 3 1 non-verbal communication 42. 1 1 2. Wallace 22. 1 42 paral ingu istics 1 1 7 pauses 1 09-1 0 personal development 1 87-75 personal space 69. 1 42. 1 70 looking 9-1 6. 1 40 interest 22 . 1 110 liking 1 3. 35-6. 86. 76. 1 41 -4. 1 63 happi ness 22. 68-9. 83 Hong Kong 76 illustrators 42 im itation (posture and gesture copying) 56. 50. 1 70 1 38-40 business 1 39 nursing 1 38 pop stars 1 40 receptionists 1 39 teaching 1 40 1V i nterviewing 1 39 orientation 67-80. 1 43.

non-verbal aspects of sympathy 52 synchronization 1 05-1 5 synergy 1 72 tapping 1 32 territoriality 76 time and timing 1 05-1 5 touching 81-92 training in body language 27. Robert 75-6 speech. 38 zigzag table 72-3 1 1 6-24 stance 55-66 staring 1 0. 1 21 universal body language 1 30 verbal comm u n ication 1 6. 32. 87 watching exercise 8-9 winking 1 2.1 84 quasi-courtship behaviour 49. 1 7 1 -2 see a/so exercises and experiments trust exercise 1 1 7-1 9 turn-taki ng 1 50 lV . 58. 1 60. observing body language o n 64. 51 . 1 69 regulators 42 role-playi ng 1 71 Rozelle. 1 31 -3 sex differences 37. Richard 68 sadness 22 Scheflen. 52 rapport 51 . 1 27. 1 76 status 1 1 . 53 silence 44. 1 09-1 0 small talk 1 51 -2 smile 1 9-21 Sommer. 1 78 vocal characteristics 1 1 7 warmth 52 . 98-9 sign languages 42. 60-1 steepling 46. Albert 49. 97. 1 31 'stranger value' 1 7 1 surprise 27 . 39. 63. 63 scratching 42 self-disclosure 1 70 selling 52.