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Concept and nature of body language:-

Body language means use of different parts of a human body for communicating ideas,
thoughts, attitudes and feelings. It is a study of body movements and gestures. In body
language a person transmits the message by moving various parts of his body such as
face, head, hands, etc. For instance, nodding head up and down conveys agreement,
while shaking head from side to side shows disagreement. oving eyes, clapping
hands, circular movement of fingers, rubbing the nose in tension, moving shoulders up
and down are also e!amples of body language.
Characteristics of body language:-
1. Body language is a self ac"uired natural process. It is self imbibed and nobody
teaches it.
2. #o formal training is necessary. $he process of learning body language starts
right from both, the child cries whenever hungry or wet. %owever, some
personality development programmes nowadays teach body language.
&. 'eople master body language through e!perience. $hey ac"uire and use body
language unknowingly.
(. $he body language goes largely unnoticed, yet it has a considerable impact.
). Body language is controlled by social norms. For e!ample, even if you are happy
on the death of your enemy, you will not smile before others at his last rites. *se
of body language also depends upon the particular culture. For e!ample, shaking
hands with ladies is not acceptable in India but it is "uite common in +uropean
,. -esearch shows that women generally understand body language better than

Functions of body language:-
Body language is an important medium of non-verbal communication. .ccording to
'eterson body language serves the following purposes:-
/. Body language can convey feelings and intentions. For e!ample, gestures and
facial e!pressions are reliable indicators of whether someone likes you
0. It can be used to regulate interactions. For instance non-verbal cues can signal
the approaching end of an utterance or that someone else wants to speak.
&. Body language can be used to e!press intimacy. For e!ample touching and
mutual eye contact may indicate intimacy between two individuals.
(. It can be used to establish dominance or control. For e!ample, non-verbal threats
by an employer may signal an attempt to dominate the employee.
). Body language can be used to facilitate goal attainment, e.g. pointing.
-ole and limitations of body language:-
uch of what we say to others without using words is transmitted through the
physical movements of our body. Body language offers the following benefits:
/. 1ustains 2erbal Communication:
3nce a conversation begins, body language takes it forward. 'ostures and gestures
can be used by the speaker to emphasi4e or illustrate certain points. 1mile and other
gestures of the listener indicate his attention and provide valuable feedback. #odes
of the head, shifts of ga4e and tone of voice play a crucial role in regulating and
altering the flow of conversation. Face to face communication is in fact, incomplete
without gestures and postures.
0. 'rovides feed back:
Body language provides useful information about the reaction of the audience.
&. -eveals the status:
$he relative status of the persons who interact is evident from their body language.
. high status person adopts a rela!ed and open posture with arms and legs
asymmetrically positioned and the body leaning backward. 3n the other hand, a low
status individual adopts a rigid, closed and upright posture with arms close to the
body and feet together.
(. 1ubstitutes 2erbal Communication:

Body language may fill the gap when verbal communication breaks down. In some
countries, such as 5reece, a gestural language is fre"uently used for everyday
discourse even when speech is possible e.g. when the languages are different.
). +!presses +motions:
$he eyes, the face, the posture and gestures can e!press emotions better than
words. %appiness, sadness, anger, surprise and fear can best be 6udged from the
eyes and face of a person.
,. Facilitates Business:

+ffective use of body language makes environment conducive for business deals. In the
words of arilyn apie, 7when you can consciously 8read9 what others are saying
unconsciously, you can deal with issue at work and at home before they become

;. $ells the truth

.ccording to #ancy .ustin, 7when people do not know whether to believe what they are
hearing or seeing, they go with the body language- it tells the truth. <ou can play fast
and loose with words, but it is much more difficult to do that with gestures:.
Body language suffers from the following limitations:
a= Body language can be misleading in case of people who can hide their facial
e!pressions effectively. <ou must be very careful while dealing with them.

b= 1ome gestures may have different meanings in different meanings in different
cultures. $his may create confusion.
c= Body language may become useless when the other person shows no interest in
the use of facial e!pressions or eye contact.