Friday, February 26, 2010

Body Language (Part II)

--Role of voice in body language--
Apart from expressions which are visual, intonation or voice also plays an important role in body language. The words that we use to convey a message can be given additional emphasis by the tone of our voice. The tone will convey to the receiver what he should know about the way-the message needs to be inferred. For instance, a question such as ' Before now why have you not told me this?' can be conveyed in a variety of ways by using different kinds of intonations. Through our tones, we can enhance the message with expressions such as anger, disappointment, dislike, enjoyment or happiness added to the actual words. When we talk on the phone, we can not make use of body signals or gestures as the receiver cannot see our body language and therefore we often compensate for that by placing more stress on the way we use the intonations in our voice.

Emotional Voice
We can lace our voice with different emotions. When we feel emotional and still want to continue talking, there is a quiver in our voice. The tremble can be a sign of an assortment of emotions and can be considered in different ways by men and women, as well as by each individual. It is important to keep in mind that the situation, as well as gender and culture, can play a role in determining those differences. The whole range of emotions and ways to express them is not only closely related to the intonations in our voice and body language but also to our breathing.

Golden Silence
In the art of communication, silences have a vital role to play. Even when we are silent, we are still communicating! When we convey to the other person depends on the kind of silence it is. Mostly the subject of the conversation plays a major role in this. The time gap in between words provides space for feeling and thinking. The more emotionally loaded a subject is, the more silence is needed. To be silent in company when there is a lot of talking is an art in itself. Many people have this idea that when there is silence it means that there is just nothing more to say. But that is not true. It often means that people are trying to figure our something intuitively about themselves or about the other person(s). Quite often, people notice something about the body language of other(s) and pay attention to that.

Intimate Silences
There are times when people require silence to work out for themselves how intimate they want to be with others. But for more people, when there is lull (temp. quite period) in conversation in a group, they find it hard to handle. They become nervous or they feel tht they have to say something and get embarrassed if they have nothing to add to the conversation at that moment. It is at such moments that we all say strange, stupid or boring things and later wonder at our mental health for saying such stupid things.
People who do not like to talk about a particular topic for whatever reason will use a silence or berak in the conversation to create a diversion by changing the topic. In the therapeutic world, silence are often used to give someone the opportunity to become more aware of themselves or what they have just said. Silence in a group can be an indicator of the level of comfort and intimacy within the group members or it can also indicate distrust. Silences can also make some people feel threatened.

--Body Posture--
Reading a person's body posture can tell us various things about that particular person; the way people hold themselves gives us important information. For instance, when a person is down in the dumps, the information is conveyed by their sagging shoulders and having very little eye contact. The message this gives the world is that they are not interested in their environment or the people in it. On the other hand, a person who walks straight and strides into the room, carries with him the impression of confidence and a positive attitude.
Our body posture often reflects our feelings pretty well. Through our body posture we can also convey our interest and respect for another person. To turn to the person one is talking to, indicates interest in what the person is saying.

Close or Open

A person's body posture can be closed or open. When a person is not feeling ease with someone, he will often assume a closed position, he will possibly cross his arms or legs or will hold an object such as a bag in front as a barrier. The bag and the crossed arms and legs provide barriers and protection at his vulnerability.
Trust has a lot to do with the way a person positions himself in company. It is quite normal to start the acquaintance of someone with a bit of a closed body position until the person establishes some level of trust and comfort that goes with that till he has established a level of intimacy. Trust is established by our body language interactions as well as what we say.

--Kinesica and Neuro Linguistic Programming--
The study of the language of the body is called kinesica. The more recently developed theories on human functioning have given life to Neuro Linguistic Programming (N.L.P). N.L.P uses body language as its main source of information to tell more about the way we operate as people, by ourselves or when we are together.
For instance, we alter the position of our body continually in conjunction with our environment when we are in company or in a public place. Research has shown that we have a higher success rate of getting our message across to another person when we take on a similar position as hi/her. Subconsciously, we replicate the other person's movements like crossing and uncrossing legs, turning our bodies in different directions. This process is called modeling in N.L.P.

Body Movement
Though we are often not cognisant of the body language signals we send out to other people, yet unconsciously we are able to decode the body language of others. We rely on our intuitive feelings with this process of interpreting and reading between the lines of what the other person is saying to us. Movement is also a part of body language. All movements, in our face, with our head, our legs, our feet and all body parts, our gestures, combine to make our body language harmonious. Gestures, combination of a series of smaller body movements can be learned.
For example, when we want to say ok: our thumb and index finger make a circle and our other fingers stretch upwards, while our facial expression compliments what we are signing with this signal. It is often humorous to see the attempts of young children who learn these signals and do not always get them right in their efforts to duplicate their new learning.
When a gesture has different meanings in different societies, it can be amusing as well as a cause for complications. So one should be ware of where and when one is using the gestures.

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