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Body Language Communication Tips
First, let us figure out what is described as body movements. Essentially, it is a movement of your head, posture, hands or whole body, that emphasizes anything you are saying, and helps other people understand your message better. You can categorize types of non-verbal communication into:
- Emblems – gestures that have the same meanings as words. For example, some hands or head movements can substitute such words as ‘OK’, ‘Come here’, ‘Please stop here’, etc. Be aware that different cultures interpret the same emblems in different ways.
- Illustrators – these gestures need words to accompany them. Imagine what you are doing with your hands when saying ‘..over and over again..’: that’s an illustrator.
- Regulators. When you are listening to someone and want to give a subtle feedback – positive or negative – you use head nods, different position of your hands, eyes, or sounds like ‘uh-huh’, ‘mm-mm.’ They are called regulators, and, again, are treated differently across various cultures.
Another important, often subconscious, behavior is your posture. It can be either closed when a person sits with closed arms and avoids eye-contact, or open when a person is looking directly at you with open arms and overall relaxed. In this way, you can show that you are uninterested and not willing to continue a conversation or, on the other hand, is fully involved in the discourse with your friend.
The last but not least factor of communication is the personal space. Scientists determine four main categories of proximities:
- Intimate distance – touching to 54 cm. Usually, it is only appropriate for people that are in some kind of personal relationship. It is considered rude to enter an intimate distance of an unknown person in most cultures.
- Personal distance – 45cm to 1.2m – appropriate for having an informal conversation. It allows observing person’s body language and expressions from the following distance.
- Social distance – 1.2m to 4.5m – used in the formal and business settings. At this distance, you must speak louder with more facial and gesture expressions to keep the conversation going.
- Public distance – 3.7m to 4.5m. Most likely a distance you will use when addressing a group of people or students in a lecture hall. Your body language must be expressive enough to keep up the interest of the audience.
You must understand these differences in order to approach others in appropriate ways. Using the appropriate body language helps you to convey your message correctly and not to offend anyone.