The Importance of Body Language in Communication

body language in communication

We all know that words are not the only form of communication we use, in fact, they account for around 30% of all the information in any given discourse. We use body language in communication as well. 

Understanding one another often happens thanks to a nod, a smile, or even just a look, and that makes complete sense when you think of our subconscious and how big of a role it actually plays in our lives and in the importance of body language in communication. 

Body language in communication is incredibly useful because it shows what we are subconsciously feeling and thinking, this is exactly why most of us can innately “read” its basic forms. 

This does not mean however that body language in communication is easy to understand or that everyone has a profound understanding of it. 

And even if you do, it’s still incredibly interesting – this is why we are explaining it briefly in the following lines.

  • Definition And Where It Comes From

Body language in communication is a form of non-verbal communications gestures, facial expressions, posture, eye and hand movements,s, etc. 

The importance of body language in communication can be voluntary (purposely mirroring body position, fake-smiling, etc.) and involuntary (keeping your focus on a certain point, fidgeting to show a lack of interest or nervousness, etc.), however differentiating between the two can be difficult, especially if the person opposite you is good at micromanaging themselves. 

Historically speaking, body language has been around since before we could form words – firstly because it happens on a level which we have no control over, and secondly because we used to use it as a way to communicate with animals (think of making certain animals afraid of us while turning others into our companions). 

Most scientists agree that it happens on a biological level and a good proof of that is researching people that were born blind and the fact that they still smile or frown in the same way we do. 

This type of research eliminates the cultural aspect as a form of learning and leaves only genetic instincts as a source for body language. 

  • Body Language In The World Today

In more recent times, the importance of body language in communication is necessary in these fast-paced times. 

As we use more and more non-direct forms of communication (phone calls, messages, social media, etc.) we get more disconnected from this form of expression – a phenomenon that has caused a lot of younger people to have trouble both understanding their own body language and that of their companions. 

However, this does not mean that its importance is diminished or that we should try to avoid it. In fact, this is why body language in communication is so important to maintain a connection with all aspects of communication as a means to relate to other people. 

In fact, the more we can understand our modern body language, the better conclusions we can draw about ourselves and our feelings in the world. 

A newly learned bonus of reading about the importance of body language in communication also comes in jobs connected to reading people. 

Our deeper understanding of it in spheres connected with people is a huge help – think of interviewers and people working in the FBI as well as sellers of pretty much anything. 

Interesting Examples

  1. Crossing arms in front of the chest –  this means that the person is closing off from the conversation and doesn’t want to share
  2. Talking with your hands open and palms pointing up – means that the person is being honest and telling the truth 
  3. Slightly tilting your head to the side – this shows interest in the conversation 
  4.  Smiling with eyes wrinkling – this is a genuine smile, it shows interest, emotion, and overall positivity 
  5. Copying body language – this usually happens involuntarily and if that’s the case is a good sign, it shows agreement and warm feelings towards the other person
  6. Leaning in and keeping eye contact – shows honest interest and possible desire for a deeper connection 

Body language is something we all experience on a daily basis and yet still don’t understand completely but there is great importance in body language in communication as a means to read the room and other people. 

This proves both how complicated we actually are and how much we rely on our subconscious. Relying on our subconscious mind can be a catch twenty-two as if someone has had bad experiences in the past one could potentially misread the body language. 

Learning how to read body language is incredibly valuable because it helps us in communicating better both with others and within ourselves. It helps us to connect with deep aspects of ourselves. 

It also provides insight into what the other person is actually thinking – some people even say it’s as close as we’re gonna get to mind-reading, a superpower most people have dreamed of. 

With all that in mind we doubt anyone would disagree when we say that body language is not only useful from a biological point of view, it is also incredibly interesting and provides insight into crucial moments of everyday life. 

In a quantitative study examining the use of body language in healthcare, it was observed that sound expressions emphasized laughter, and eye contact with members stood out in visual expressions in rapport building as examples. The healthcare team examined established rapport with patients in clarifying their needs and planning care by using body language to affirm the patient. 

It is observed that nonverbal communication is important in the healthcare setting which can impact patient outcomes. Eye contact for an instance was shown to improve patient satisfaction. The key to patient compliance as well as patient support involves both non-verbal as well as verbal communication. 

References

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17478072/ 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26312521/

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