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December 31, 2011

Reading Body Language - Context

Similar to a Cluster, Context makes a nonverbal message more clear to understand. CONTEXT is an environment, background, circumstance, setup or situation according to which any nonverbal message should be interpreted, decoded or analyzed. Without knowing the context, reading body language would mislead us.

While interpreting, context is critically important than the content itself. However, most of us couldn't establish the context in the first place, Hence let's see how exactly two different environments, circumstances, situations or surroundings can give two different meanings to the same expression, movement or action.

There are two different persons taking out their frustration following a sequence of events. One person is standing in the audience gallery while watching a football/soccer match with his favorite team playing in it whereas another person is a senior police officer who is standing inside the police station with his colleagues.

Actually, both of them are in two completely different environments and conditions while expressing their feelings, motives, intentions and emotions as a result of something they're exposed to at the given moment. Here, the context plays very crucial role in understanding what they want to convey actually.

Both of them suddenly yell and smash fist on their palm. Smashing fist on the palm is one of the ways of taking out frustration (sadness with anger) over unexpected or impending failure, loss or shortfall. We punch our fist on the palm because we cannot punch or hit the person who caused the failure, loss or shortfall in the first place.

The young football fan smashes his fist on palm after watching an ace player missed the goal post during the last few minutes of the second half. He takes out his frustration over the wasted opportunity by his favorite team (or a team player) in making the goal for winning over its opponents at the end.

On the other hand, the police officer listens that a criminal who was arrested after a year long pursuit succeeded in escaping from prison a few minutes ago. He smashes his fist on his palm, yelling “Damn it!”. He takes out his frustration because all efforts he and his team took to arrest the criminal got wasted due to the escape.

Why exactly Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak did it?
Tucking prevents entangling and soiling of the neckties.

If the correct context (a good example presented above) cannot be established within the required amount of time then even a well know cluster can given an entirely wrong message to an interpreter which happens with most of us all the time and throughout our entire lives.

Related Articles:
1) Body Language Brain 2) Clusters 3) Congruence 4) Proxemics 5) Micro Expressions 6) Para Language 7) Postures 8) Hand Gestures 9) Challenges 10) Interpretation 11) Baseline 12) Basic Bodily Clues 13) Is Human Communication 93% Nonverbal? 14) Artificial Intelligence and Body Language

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