Scientific Portal on Body Language, Kinesics, and Nonverbal Communication#

Reading Body Language - Clusters

It’s very amazing to know that we all communicate nonverbally (through body language, facial expressions and voice) by most. Same fact excites many enthusiasts to jump start reading others and why not. Knowing someone’s thoughts and intentions is decisive but also it's more important to interpret them more accurately.

Putting pieces together
Interpreting this article is quite easy because we all are aware of different words that have been put together in an acceptable sequence and by following grammatical rules. Shifting their positions, dropping them or defying grammar would lead to irregularity or confusion and perhaps make no sense at all. Same rule applies to interpretation of body language, kinesics and nonverbal communication.

Interestingly, body language has its own vocabulary, grammar and syntaxes. We communicate nonverbally with the help of different clues or signals that are grouped together or given away one after another in a sequence. It's identical to the way different words create a meaningful sentence. Single word may not convey message but a complete sentence can easily make sense.

Combination of different sensory stimulus/inputs, facial expressions, eye contacts, gestures, movements, postures and para linguistic clues convey a distinct message. Most of us try to interpret each of them in isolation, often leading us to complete misunderstanding. Like composing sentences, we need to put them together. This method is called as CLUSTERING. A cluster clearly makes sense of distinct nonverbal message. Let’s take an example of it.

Most of us know that crossing arms over chest is a self-defensive or controlling action. As it clearly appears, we cover vulnerable parts of upper body (torso). Definitely, it's not a welcoming or open approach at all. But crossing arms isn't a clue to self-defense only when it is put in different clusters. Look at these pictures and find what each person is likely to express. Keenly observe their facial expressions (especially eyebrows), postures (especially neck) and gazes (how they make or don't make eye contact).
Warning or Criticizing (Left) Helpless, Sad & Fearful (Center) Disagree or Disappointed (Right)
Also, we need take physical environment or specific situation into account while looking at a person with arms crossed on its chest. This old lady wearing a sweater is protecting herself from cold by crossing arms so that maximum body heat would be retained. Even here, her posture gives an idea about how intensely she would be suffering from cold. Look at hunched back, lowered chin and legs tightly held together.

Interpreting body language by clusters is very crucial to understand overall mood or conditions of person in any given circumstance.

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2 comments:

  1. In many interviews and in many recruitment process,many times body language is a key point to judge the candidate.
    Along with body language,his facial expressions
    is also a point of judgement.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Really simple yet effective approach to explain the process.

    ReplyDelete

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