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body language

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									                             BODY LANGUAGE
Before we begin lets start with a simple question i.e “What is Body Language ?”

1. Body language is the way people unconsciously telegraph their private thoughts
and emotions through body movements – the way in which they
 fold their arms,
 cross their legs,
   sit,
 stand,
 walk,
 use their hips,
 eyes and
 even in the subtle way they move their lips.
 We indicate our being puzzled by wrinkling our eyebrows,
          cross our arms to remain aloof,
     shrug our shoulders to show indifference,
     wink to display intimacy or
     slap our forehead to acknowledge forgetfulness.

When we encounter people, we usually
 look first at their face to see if their expression reflects what they are saying.
 Then we listen to the tone of their voice to check if there are any indications of the
    emotions involved.
 Finally, we actually listen to the spoken words.
 Even if these are cynical or sarcastic, we will accept them as a joke if the speaker‟s
    face is jovial and happy.

2. Our body is sensitive to our emotional state and clearly transmits whatever messages
    we intend or do not intend to communicate.
         Eg, you can‟t fool your mother or wife about their culinary prowess or
             cooking abilities by sweet sounding words, if your Body Language says
             otherwise. Therefore, it is evident that all of us speak two languages - one
             using words and the other using body movements.

The Characteristics of Body Language

3. Two essentials of any language are
 a medium of communication and
 a script.

4.      Medium of Body Language.            The medium of Body Language is, of course,
the body. It covers a range of aspects of the body, such as :-
         Facial expressions (smiles, nods).
         Gestures (especially hand and arm movements).
         Body movements.
         Posture.
         Visual orientation (like eye contact).
         Physical contacts (handshakes, patting).
         Spatial behaviour (proximity, distance, positions). Two or more people in a
            large gathering or in a public place may indicate that for the time being they
            are a closed group by their spatial positions.
           Appearance (including clothes).
         Non-verbal vocalisations. Paralanguage is the technical term for voice cues
            that are non-verbal, eg,
             laughing,
             crying,
             groaning,
             yawning and intonation,
             voice quality and
             emphasis which are commonly used to reinforce verbal meaning.
               There are also feedback signals such as „good‟ and „really‟.
             Whistling could also fall under this category as it indicates a variety of

5.      Does Body Language Have a Script?              Body Language often follows an
unspoken script. The strange part is that if we were asked to explain or describe how we
understand the script, we find the task difficult if not impossible. But the fact is that we
read or interpret it rather easily, moreover we ourselves use the script.

 Eg, we say to someone, “That was terrific,” but transmit the message in a way that
     makes it clear that we do not mean it and are being sarcastic.

 The script for sarcasm requires of us a lot of specific non verbal actions like
      raising of both eye brows in an exaggerated manner, or
       speaking very slowly or
       changing the tone of our voice and
       lacing undue emphasis on the word „terrific‟.
6.       Although we may not be aware of the hidden rules that govern
listening behaviour, we can immediately make out whether the person we are talking to
is paying attn or not. In a conversation, a listener nods his head and mutters hmm
sounds. A faint smile may indicate that the listener is enjoying the conversation whereas
a raised eyebrow or the corner of the mouth pulled down may indicate disagreement.
These are silent messages that control our conversation.

7.       Having seen in general what Body Language is all about, let us now see a very
interesting aspect that I‟m sure all of you will start relating to.

Territorial Zones and Spaces

8.     We have an invisible space around us, that we treasure as our own possession
and carry around with us wherever we go, which means that we walk around inside a
sort of private bubble, which represents the amount of space we feel we must have
between ourselves and others. Our interactions with people involve either letting them
enter this zone or being kept out of it, as per our opinion of them. Any „invasion‟ of
this territory, which is larger for introverts than for extroverts, invites a reaction by way
of one or more aspects of body language, eg, avoiding eye contact or turning our face
9.       Sit and mood also affect proximity and distance. Introverts who have to travel in
crowded buses or lifts, day in and day out learn to adapt. The space bubble of someone
who is angry or under stress expands, and the person needs more space.

10.      This aspect of Body Language extends to all living things as well. Animals, birds
and fishes fight tooth and nail to defend their territories. An integral part of our
relationships has to do with how we approach and enter others‟ zones and how we
guard our own.

11.      Personal territory can further be divided into zones which are :-

         (a)   Intimate Distance Zone.This zone extends up to 18 inches and is reserved
for family, relatives and friends.

(b)    Personal Distance Zone.               This is a rather large area that affords a
person privacy or social intimacy. Some examples are the house, garden, office or
the vehicle. Temp territory includes a favorite chair or a bed at home, the kitchen
for the lady of the house, etc. This zone may extend from 2 ½ to 4 feet giving
credence to the old adage of keeping people at arm‟s length.

(c) Social Distance Zone.              We maintain this distance, which may extend
up to 12 feet, while interacting at a business level or with unknown people at a
casual social gathering. Bosses maintain this distance by the large table before
them, as do shopkeepers with the counter.

(d)   Public Distance Zone.          This is the distance maintained by, say,
politicians due to security reasons or by actors on stage and is characterised by
difficult to see facial expressions, a louder voice and exaggerated body
movements to convey your pt.

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