All of us are trained in the use of speech, to communicate what we mean in a way that other people will understand. And most of the time, others understand what we mean. In a telephone conversation, we communicate through speech alone. In a face-to-face meeting, part of the communication is carried in a non-verbal form, what is often called “body language” or “body movement”. In the next paragraphs, I am going to show what are the positive and negative of “body language” and why it is important to us.
Body language and non-verbal communication play a major role in determining how effective we are as presenters. The cues and messages that we send out while we are speaking during our presentations can either reassure our audience and therefore reinforce our spoken message, or detract from our credibility and in so doing dramatically reduce our effectiveness.
For example, imagine that that you are watching through a window as someone does a presentation to a group of people in a room. You can't actually hear the presenter's voice, but he or she seems to be speaking clearly, is making eye contact with various people in the room, is emphasizing points using appropriate hand gestures, appears to be in command of the material, and exudes enthusiasm. Without even hearing what they are actually saying, your impression will be one of competence, sincerity; even leadership on the part of this presenter, and you will have made these determinations on the basis of body language alone.
On the other hand, imagine that you are watching under similar circumstances while a second person does a presentation. This time, you notice that the person avoids direct eye contact with their audience, keeps their hands in their pockets or at their sides, shifts their weight uncomfortably, and generally appears unenthusiastic about their topic. On the basis of their body language, your impression will be one of a lack of boredom on the part of the presenter.
Positive body language is generally quite reliable as an indicator of a person's feelings. It signals interest in the other person and in the conversation. Positive body language has lot of terms and generally accepted meanings. Here are some of the terms I found and their meaning:
· Relaxed posture - Comfortably seated, relaxed breathing, no visible stiffness or abrupt movements. These indicate no major barriers to communication.
· Good eye contact - Looking in the other person's eyes, particularly when they are speaking, indicates interest in that person. Proper eye contact involves looking away occasionally to avoid staring.
· Nodding agreement - When nods are used to punctuate key things the other person has said, they signal agreement, interest and understanding. However, continual unconscious bobbing of the head usually indicates that the listener is tuning out.
· Taking notes - Shows interest and involvement, particularly if notes are on what the other person is saying.
· Smiling/adding humor - This is a very positive sign. It signals a warm personal relationship.
· Gesturing warmly - Talking with hands, particularly with palms open, indicates involvement in the conversation and openness to the other person.
For all of these positive gestures, moderation is the rule. I still remember when we did a group work in class, which is got turn to interview. Each person in our group uses different body language in order to make clarity of what we are going to say.
When positive gestures are exaggerated, they can become more negative than positive. Negative body language is somewhat less reliable as an indicator of the person's comfort with the current conversation than positive body language. Actions that are generally considered negative may just be a matter of comfort for this person, may indicate that the person is tired, or may result from other matters that are weighing on this person's mind.
· Body tense - Stiffness, wrinkled brow, jerky body motion, hands clasped in front or palms down on the table. These can indicate concern with the topic or dealing with the other person.
· Arms folded in front - Creates a barrier; can express resistance to what is being said.
· Hand on face - A hand over one's mouth is a closed gesture. Leaning on one's elbow with the chin in the