The body has a physical vocabulary, which makes communicating our thoughts and feelings easier with our body than with words. Mimes are masters of body language. Silent movies relied on it to tell the story. Body movements and facial expressions played out the drama. Likewise, it can be revealing to turn off the sound and watch the body language and facial expressions in a movie, commercial or a political speech. You might see some enlightening body talk that you may have missed with sound.
We are social beings with the need to express our emotions, opinions, control and respect and to give feedback about the similar communications we have received from others.
The body posture determines the message we want to convey and the response we desire from others. We constantly edit and adjust our postural communication by adding theatrics for emphasis, sincerity for believability, humor for lightness or manipulation for control. Our body can curl and withdraw or swell with pride and jump for joy. It cannot hide our playfulness or gratitude.
Our posture, how we move, our body tension, how we breathe, the duration of eye contact, the physical distance we keep, the tone of our voice and what we wear or carry with us often tell others something more important than the words we use. Understanding and adjusting this non-verbal body language can reduce misunderstandings and help us to communicate more clearly and effectively.
The body is a wonderful tool for postural communication. When used well, it can offer dynamic action, affectionate gestures and subtle nuances of facial expression. Positive, expressive body talk can greatly enhance your performance as a speaker, teacher, coach, parent or lover – all without words.
Diane Whitacre, Structural Anatomist, RT ©2017