Communication includes listening. In terms of observable body language, non-verbal (non-spoken) signals are being exchanged whether these signals are accompanied by spoken words or not. The sending and receiving of body language signals happens on conscious and unconscious levels. Body language, and more technically the study of body language, is also known as kinesics (pronounced 'kineesicks'), which is derived from the Greek word kinesis, meaning motion. See also the free , which can be used to test/reinforce the learning offered in this article. (N. B. US and UK-English spellings, e.
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G. , 'ize' and 'ise' are used in this page to allow for different searching preferences. Please feel free to change these according to your local requirements when using these materials. )Understanding body language involves the interpretation of several consistent signals to support or indicate a particular conclusion. Body language is a powerful concept which successful people tend to understand well.
The study and theory of body language has become popular in recent years because psychologists have been able to understand what we 'say' through our bodily gestures and facial expressions, so as to translate our body language, revealing its underlying feelings and attitudes. Body Language is also referred to as 'non-verbal communications', and less commonly 'non-vocal communications'. The term 'non-verbal communications' tends to be used in a wider sense, and all these terms are somewhat vague. For the purposes of this article, the terms 'body language' and 'non-verbal communications' are broadly interchangeable. This guide also takes the view that body language/non-verbal communications is the study of how people communicate face-to-face aside from the spoken words themselves, and in this respect the treatment of the subject here is broader than typical body language guides limited merely to body positions and gestures.
If you carry out any serious analysis or discussion you should clarify the terminology in your own way to suit your purposes. Does body language include facial expression and eye movement? - Usually, yes. What about breathing and perspiration? - This depends on your definition of body language.
And while tone and pitch of voice are part of verbal signals, are these part of body language too? - Not normally, but arguably so, especially as you could ignore them if considering only the spoken words and physical gestures/expressions. There are no absolute right/wrong answers to these questions. It's a matter of interpretation. A good reason for broadening the scope of body language is to avoid missing important signals which might not be considered within a narrow definition of body language.
Nevertheless confusion easily arises if definitions and context are not properly established, for example: It is commonly and carelessly quoted that 'non-verbal communications' and/or 'body language' account for up to 98% of the meaning that people take from any human communication. This statistic is actually a distortion based on , which while itself is something of a cornerstone of body language research, certainly did not make such a sweeping claim. Mehrabian's research findings in fact focused on communications with a strong emotional or 'feelings' element. Moreover the 98% non-verbal proportion included vocal intonation (paralinguistics), which are regarded by many as falling outside of the body language definition.
Care must therefore be exercised when stating specific figures relating to percentages of meaning conveyed, or in making any firm claims in relation to body language and non-verbal communications. It is safe to say that body language represents a very significant proportion of meaning that is conveyed and interpreted between people.