Chapter 1

Defining Body Language

In This Chapter

arrowFinding out how body language speaks

arrowGesturing for a purpose

arrowUnderstanding what you’re communicating

In the big scheme of things, the scientific study of body language is a fairly recent phenomenon, with documented research covering only the last 80 years or so. In order to better understand the thoughts and emotions behind human behaviour, psychologists, zoologists and social anthropologists have conducted detailed investigations into the use and components of body language – part of the larger family known as non-verbal behaviour.

When you take the time to focus on your own and others’ physical movements and expressions, you can spot and interpret unspoken thoughts, feelings and intentions that reveal more about a person than that individual may want you to know. You can even identify some people by a particular gesture or expression such as pursed lips, swaying hips, fiddling fingers or an arched brow.

By observing people’s body language you can detect their inner state. Are they despondent, in turmoil or feeling cool, calm and collected? Through a twitch of the mouth, flare of a nostril or change of posture, people unconsciously ...

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