How Body Language Communicates When Words Can’t

Communication is arguably one of the most important actions an individual engages in throughout their life. While many of us immediately think of the way we speak to others and how we interact with others verbally, there is far more to communication than simply speaking. Body language is a substantial form of communication, and is often delivered without awareness or control. How exactly does body language communicate? First, let’s take a look at communication as a whole and how it functions in day to day life.

The Importance of Communication

Communication is a vital part of the human experience. Although most of us immediately leap to spoken communication as the primary form of interpersonal interaction, spoken communication is far from the only way to connect with another person, and may not even be the primary way in which people communicate. Communication as a whole is important, because it conveys information about ourselves, others, situations, and ideas to those around us. Communication is often pinpointed as one of the most important components of close and intimate relationships, and is frequently targeted as an important sill to learn to successfully navigate leadership positions and management practices. Without adequate and accurate communication, you are unlikely to be understood, to get what you want, and to effectively navigate the world at large.

How Body Language Factors Into Communication

Body language factors into communication in some important ways, the most significant of which is its ability to precede verbal communication and lay the groundwork for an interaction, be it a romantic, personal, relational, academic, or professional interaction. Body language includes virtually all movements and attitudes adopted and expressed by the body, and includes hand movements, rigidity and flexibility of the body, facial expressions, posture, and even general body movement. Body language is, more often than not, involuntary, and indicates the truth of how a person is feeling more than words may. This is why body language is considered an important part of overall communication: it can indicate honesty or dishonesty, and can lend tremendous insight into how a person is feeling.

Body language can be controlled and manipulated the same way that verbal communication can be controlled and manipulated, but micro-expressions are less often able to be carefully monitored and controlled, as they usually occur without conscious thought and come before large body movements or spoken language. These expressions are the ones that can be utilized to more fully understand an individual’s behavior, thought processes, and feelings, and are frequently the focus of body language experts and analysts.

Recognizing Others’ Body Language

Body language can be a useful measure of how others look at and interact with you and others. Recognizing body language is not a simple practice, however; experts can study for years to learn how to effectively recognize the posture and facial expressions of people. While you may not easily become an expert on body language, you can familiarize yourself with the basics of body language in order to more fully understand yourself and the people around you. A stiff posture, for instance, often indicates discomfort or anger. Relaxed posture can illustrate a person feels safe and happy. A tense jaw usually suggests that someone is feeling angry or upset at the state of things, while a soft smile can indicate affection or relaxation. Learning the basic ins and outs of body language can help you more effectively navigate your relationships and your place in them.

Tempering Your Own Body Language

While you may be interested in learning how to identify body language in order to understand others, you may also be interested in learning how to manage your own body language to prevent others from easily seeing how you think or feel about a certain person or situation. Although you may not be able to truly tame your micro-expressions, you can learn how to effectively manage your larger body language to appear calm, collected, and relaxed, even when you do not feel at ease. Deep breathing can be used to construct a more relaxed, easy air, and smiling can create the appearance of openness and trust. Open palms are also considered an indicator of friendliness and welcome, and a straight spine and relaxed shoulders convey confidence and strength. Reading articles about body language can help manage your own body language and “read” the body language of others.

Using Body Language to Your Advantage

Knowing how to navigate body language can help you more effectively navigate your relationships, manage your first impression, and succeed in the workplace, in your relationships, and even in academic pursuits. Body language can positively or negatively impact your chances of doing well in job interviews, in dating, and in already-established relationships, so learning how to understand the body language of others and manage your own is a valuable skill.


Blog oficial da escritora Fabíola Simões que, em 2015, publicou seu primeiro livro: "A Soma de todos Afetos".


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