The essence of kinetics in communication
By: Vijay Garg
There are basically three elements in communication: words, the tone of voice, and non-verbal behaviour including facial expressions, gestures, and posture. These are also known as the 3 “V”s: Verbal, Vocal, and Visual. Hence a communication can be divided into two parts including Verbal and Non-Verbal communication.
For example; if a person says that he is honest, then the verbal part is “I am honest”, however, if he tries to avoid eye contact, feels sweating, fumbles or look anxious then this part is counted as the body language. Hence body language is an important part of human interaction. This includes all aspects of communication like moving of your hands while you try to explain something or the nervousness that you show at the time of interview are all different parts of body language.
Body language is different from the sign language; a body language is a form of mental and physical ability of human non-verbal communication, consisting of body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements. Humans send and interpret such signals almost entirely subconsciously. These signs and signals are something that is really taken care of at the time of interview and determine the selection of the right candidate. Physical expressions like waving, pointing, touching and slouching are all forms of nonverbal communication and are part of body language. The study of body movement and expression is known as kinesics. Various researches prove that the movement of body parts during communication tends to ease the mental tension of human beings.
Physical Expression: Body language is present in our lives all the time. Every time we talk to some other individual in real life, body language will be used. Hand gestures, smiling, use of eyebrows etc. are all part of body language. Sometimes we really don’t realize how much impact these things have on our daily lives or something special in our life like an interview or a competition. Some people look really confident; while some tend to feel shy to begin to lose their confidence in some particular situation. This is all related to the body language. Some basic physical expressions are:
Eye Contact: Eye contact is a very strong body language reading technique. Consistent eye contact indicates that a person is thinking positively of what the other person is talking about and is quite in the command of instructions that are being given to him by the other person. It can convey many other messages like taking off the eyes gives a strong message that the other person doesn’t trust the speaker enough. If a person is avoiding an eye-contact, it can also indicate that a person is lying. Lack of eye contact can indicate negativity. On the other hand, some people have anxiety disorders and often unable to make eye contact out of discomfort. Eye contact can also be a secondary and misleading gesture because cultural norms about it vary widely from place to place and religion to religion. If someone is looking at you but is making the arms-across-chest signal, the eye contact could be indicative that something is bothering the person, and that he wants to talk about it. Or if while making direct eye contact, a person is fiddling with something, even while directly looking at you; it could indicate that the attention is elsewhere. If the person looks from one eye to the other, then to the forehead, then it is an indication of the authoritative position of the person. During an interview, a person talking with an eye contact gives an indication of his confidence level and is often preferred over the others who fail to do so.
Hands and Arms: One of the most basic and powerful body-language signals is when a person crosses his or her arms across the chest which could be could indicative of the fact that a person is trying to put up a barrier between themselves and others and is not really interested in closeness. However, some hand related gestures like the rubbing of hands indicate that person is feeling cold. When the overall situation is amicable, it can give an indication that a person is thinking deeply about whatever is being discussed, but in a serious or confrontational situation, it can mean that a person is expressing opposition to the particular thing being discussed which may also be evident from another sign if the person is leaning away from the speaker. A harsh or blank facial expression often indicates outright hostility of the listener.
Handshake: A handshake is a simple act when two people extend their hands towards each other when they meet. A lot can be interpreted from the way of the handshake. A strong handshake is a clear indication of an intellectual personality. A loose handshake is an indication of the lethargic behaviour of the person and also indicates the non-seriousness of a particular person towards the other person. We never think about these things but this matters a lot once you enter into professional life. A loose handshake at the time of interview would ruin your first impression and would lead to interviewer losing his interest in you.
Posture and Composure: A lot about you can be figured out from your posture. While a straight smart posture is an indication of energy, confidence and intellectual personality of a person, and always gives a clear indication of the positive attitude of that particular person. A person with correct posture always impresses others. On the other hand, a person with really lose posture with his hands resting on the table during the interview will never be able to impress his interviewers. Hence one needs to be really careful about these small things in order to make a big impact. An improper posture may give a sign of boredom.
Tips to Improve your Body Language
Actions speak louder than the word. A good body language impresses everybody, as the first impression that you give others is by the way of our body language. The most important thing to keep in mind is to feel relaxed and great inside as this gives you a feeling of confidence and also tends to ease your tension. In the meantime, it is advised to practice good body language in general until it becomes a natural habit for you. However, there can be few useful tips:
Boost your Confidence with Knowledge: You can really take control of your body language when you have proper knowledge. If you are going to deliver a speech you won’t feel confident if you don’t have proper knowledge, even though if you have your written material with you, you would be tensed about the fact that what will happen if someone asks you a question. Hence, to overcome this it is better to have proper knowledge about various facts and to research about the facts in advance that you may require. The main source of extra knowledge can be books, magazines or the internet. The best source of knowledge, however, remains newspaper. The newspaper is a whole collection of many facts that are well explored by the readers who have a daily habit of reading.
Smile to make Things Easier: Smile to make things easy, sounds funny? But this is actually true. If you are in some difficult situation try smiling to reduce your stress, smiling certainly boosts your confidence and makes things easy. No matter what the task is when you grimace or frown while doing it, you are sending your brain a strong message that this particular task is really difficult and I should stop, the brain then responds by sending stress chemicals into your bloodstream. And this creates a vicious circle, the more stressed you tend to become; the more difficult it gets for you to do the task. On the other hand, when you smile, your brain tends to get a feeling that this is a regular task and you won’t have any difficulty doing this. Hence you are able to perform the job well.
Socialize More: Socialization is yet another way of improving your body language. When you tend to go out meet your friends and sometimes also friends of your friends, you tend to communicate more and begin to gain a command over your speech and also tend to lose your shyness of talking to new people. Going out with friends or to relatives also leads to some discussion and if you are a part of some healthy discussion, you also tend to learn some useful facts that may prove to be of great importance for you at one point or the other. Also at new places, you tend to learn different behaviours and etiquettes.
Curb your Enthusiasm: Your enthusiasm can sometimes take over you and begin to make you over-whelmed and you tend to get puzzled or too excited and make mistakes. If you are an extrovert, you are most likely to make a favourable first impression because everyone is drawn towards passionate people whose emotions are easily read. But when your communication style lacks nuance and subtlety, your over-exuberance can overwhelm (or exhaust) an audience. In situations where you want to maximize your authority try to minimize your movements to have a good impact. To curb your enthusiasm take a deep breath, bring your gestures down to waist level, and pause before to bring your mind in a stable position before you begin with anything important. When you appear calm and contained, you look more confident and also your mind is in a stable state to think well.
Vijay GarG is Retired Principal