Let’s start with the basics – What is nonverbal communication? Why bother with it and if so… where to start?
What is nonverbal communication and body language?
Non verbal communication is communication without using words –simple. Body language is a branch of this communication focusing mainly on the different body gestures and facial expressions.
At start it doesn’t look like much – how can someone say anything without using words? Can you say “I love elephants” without verbalizing it?
There’s a lot to be said for the things that remain unsaid. Sometimes, it’s better to let things go unspoken than to try and force words where they don’t belong. All sort of information can be gathered from:
- Facial expressions
- Tone of voice
- Rate of speech
- Volume of voice
- Physical appearance
- Stress of voice
- Personal space
- Hair style
- Engagement with others (such as how long do you keep eye contact)
We interpret and use this nonverbal communication mostly on a subconscious level – I guess you don’t tell yourself – “I’m gonna scratch my nose now” When you find yourself doing something automatically or out of habit, take a step back and ask yourself why you’re doing it. More often than not, we do things without even thinking about it – and we might not even realize we’re doing it until we take the time to think about why we’re doing it in the first place.
The intention of studying body language is to understand how people communicate without using words. This “secret” communication happens all the time, and it’s important to be aware of it because it can reveal a lot about what someone is really thinking or feeling. For example, how we interpret and react to various behaviors.
But why should I care? All I need is to be natural myself, no?
It’s about getting control of your communication:
Wouldn’t you like to know how to handle social interactions better? Or to sense the mood and thoughts of others judging by their actions and gestures?
Think of it as an opportunity to evolve and develop your social skills. It’s not about doing makeovers and changing personality. It’s a chance to understand your social environment and get the’ know how’ to handle it better.
If you need more convincing, I invite you to check this series of articles with the top 10 reasons why anyone should bother with non verbal communication and body language:
Where to start non verbal Communication?
Body language can be explained from many different aspects and points of view. For starters, I suggest reading body language page can be a good start.
After that I believe the easiest and most logical way is to study it by the different body parts – learn the most common gestures and facial expressions.
I built my site as a book. Each section in the menu is like a chapter, it will take you to a specific set of related content on that subject.
So if you want to learn about hand gestures, for example, head to the body gestures and you will find the related articles there.
Feel free to explore and pick topics that interest you or just read them all by order, with time I’ll add more and more content even to existing chapters, so it’s worth to check them from time to time for updates.
Still confused? Want more advice on the best way to start? You can start by reading this: Guide to learn body language.
It’s not an Exact Science
Keep in mind that body language is no math – there isn’t one ‘right’ answer to all situations and scenarios in your life. It’s more like doing a calculated guess taking into consideration many factors.
After all, body language is the way humans behave. Not the most predictable thing. So consider the info on this site as general guidelines – things that I’ve learned from MY PERSONAL experience and from many books and articles I read about it.
You can also have fun with it. Self experiment with the things you read. See what works for you and what not. Let social encounters be your sandbox. You may discover new insights you won’t find here or in any other site or related book.
Checkout the difference between real and fake smile.
One Last Thing
I believe I answered the BIG questions for now, especially if it’s the first time you hear about body language and nonverbal communication. If you’re like me – then at this moment you got 10 times more questions about it.
While it might be overwhelming right now, look on the bright side – it can also be the best part of your learning experience, it’s all new and exciting. Take your time and explore each topic in your leisure, in time you’ll get it all.