What Are the Different Types of Body Language?

Body language basics
About two-thirds of our daily communication is done nonverbally through body language. Here’s how to better develop nonverbal communication to create a positive impression.

The ability to communicate well is a key strength in both personal and professional relationships. However, it’s not just your words that speak the loudest. Nonverbal communication or body language is a powerful communication tool that is typically performed instinctively.

To better understand how your body speaks for you, take a look at the different types of body language below.

  • Facial expressions: The face is a mirror of the mind and can reflect your thoughts, worries and desires. Additionally, your face may reveal your feelings, such as disgust, happiness, sadness, excitement or boredom, no matter how much you try to hide them. Even subtle movements, such as pinching of the nose, narrowed eyes, smiling, pursed lips or the angle of the mouth, are means of nonverbal communication.
  • Hand gestures: We often use our hands to explain things. Hand movements and gestures often portray your clarity of thoughts, knowledge and confidence. For example, rubbing your palms together may be a sign that you are all geared up to start some work. These hand gestures may also reveal your nervousness.
  • Eye movements and contact: Eyes speak volumes. Not looking straight at the person or audience you are addressing may signal a lack of confidence. Also, the size of your pupils may reveal a lot. For instance, widened pupils may represent interest.
  • Head tilts: Tilting your head toward the speaker suggests interest and concentration on the subject.
  • Posture and body movements: Movements and postures such as sitting cross-legged, shaking a foot, shrugging and slouching contribute to creating an impression.
  • Manner of walking: The way a person walks may reveal a lot about their inner emotions, such as excitement, confidence or nervousness.
  • Touching the face or hair: Rubbing or touching the face or playing with your hair is also a means of nonverbal communication. For example, twisting your hair may seem like flirting, and pulling one’s ears may look like indecisiveness.
  • Way of talking: This includes your voice modulation and volume, speed of talking and pronunciation (how clear it is).
  • Space: Standing too close or too far from the other person may look awkward, which makes the space between each person also important.
  • Touching the other person: Your touch reveals your emotions and personality, which can include handshakes, hugs and pats on the head or back.

What does body language mean?

Body language is a means of nonverbal communication and forms a substantial constituent of our day-to-day interactions. From the moment you walk into a room, you create an impression of yourself. Thus, whenever you interact face-to-face with anyone, your body language comes into play.

What is the importance of body language?

Understanding body language is important because about two-thirds of our everyday communication is done through it. It can help you improve your interactions with people and create a positive impression.

Although body language may often be misunderstood, it can give you crucial cues about the other person’s intent. Developing positive body language helps you interact more clearly and comfortably with people, which can help in all walks of life, such as getting a job, during a business transaction or being in a relationship.

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