Tuning in to your body language


People use a lot of non-verbal communication – speaking without saying a word. Though we do not realise it, our body language is an important part of communication.

Our body language includes our facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, and even the tone of our voice.

Communicating non-verbally is a natural, unconscious language that transmits our true feelings and what we intend to do at any moment, and gives us clues on how others around us are feeling and of their intentions.

The importance of our body language
The way we listen, look, move, and react in a situation tells others whether or not we care, if we are paying attention or if we are being honest.

When our body language matches up with the words we are saying, they add more trust, clarity, and rapport. When they do not, they create tension, doubt, and confusion.
It is important to become more aware of our body language so we can better understand the feelings of others.

We also need to be conscious of the non-verbal signals we send off, so that we communicate the right message across.

Types of non-verbal communication and body language
There are different ways we can communicate without using words.

  Facial expressions
Our face can express a lot of emotions without us having to say a single word. It can express happiness, sadness, anger, surprise, fear, and disgust.

• Body movements and posture
The way we move and carry ourselves can communicate a wealth of details to those around us. This type of non-verbal communication includes our posture, behaviour and stance.

• Gestures
We use gestures everyday without being conscious of doing it. Waving, pointing and using our hands when arguing or expressing ourselves in various situations are just a few common gestures.

• Eye contact
Eye contact is a very important type of non-verbal communication. The way you look at someone can communicate many things, including interest, affection or attraction. It also plays a role in keeping the flow of conversation.

• Touch
People communicate a lot through touch. Messages can be communicated through many ways including a firm handshake, a hug, a pat on the back, a timid tap on the shoulder, a warm bear hug, an encouraging pat on the back or it can even be in the form of a firm grip.

• Space
People use their physical space to communicate different non-verbal messages such as intimacy, aggression or affection.
Have you ever felt uncomfortable during a conversation because the other person was standing too close and invading your space?

• Voice
How you say something is as important as what you are saying. When we speak, our listener takes into account the tone of our voice, how loud we speak, the timing and pace.
The tone of voice can be a sign of sarcasm, confidence, and anger or even show affection.

• Be careful! It can go wrong
Building strong relationships depend on more than words. Communicating non-verbally can have both positive and negative impacts on our bonds with others around us.
How others see us, respect or value us partly can be affected by what we communicate non-verbally. Some people are not aware of what they communicate non-verbally. So therefore it is important for us to know the types of non-verbal signals we send and when or how to use them.

Compiled by Mandy Bertin