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The 8 Aspects of Body Language

By: Julie-Ann Amos - Updated: 1 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
Body Language Face Eyes Posture Gestures

Nearly all body language behaviours and non-verbal cues include one or more of eight primary elements. It is these elements alone or in combination, that communicate so powerfully to the people around you. Some might be quite familiar to you, while others might be a bit more surprising. Regardless, as you read through this article you are almost guaranteed to think of many examples of how each element appears in your own non-verbal communication patterns.

The Eight Primary Elements of Body Language
The eight primary elements of body language are commonly listed as follows:
  • Face – Your face is a major source of expression when communicating with others. It can smile, frown, remain neutral, show anger, show disgust, indicate you want to speak, and show interest.

  • Eyes – Your eyes are often the first piece of body language others see or notice. They can be used to make visual contact, avoid visual contact, express feelings based on intensity and length of eye contact, and the like.

  • Posture – Your posture includes how you hold your head, shoulders, legs, arms, and hips. Each of these parts of your body work separately as well as together to send non-verbal cues. Examples include tilting your head, slumping your shoulders, turning your hips sideways, and the like.

  • Gestures – Your gestures can be related to verbal communication or unrelated to verbal communication. For instance, you might wave at another person as a way of saying ‘hello’, but you do not have to actually say the word out loud for the message to be clear. Or, you might use hand gestures to emphasise a key point during a speech or presentation; in this case, your gesture is related to the verbal communication.

  • Voice – Your voice is used to verbalize language, but is an integral part of your non-verbal communication. For instance, your tone of voice, volume, emotion, pace, and the like, all influence the messages you send as part of your body language.

  • Movement – Your movement, whether using your entire body or just part of your body, is both flexible and commanding. For instance, moving toward another person may send a message of dominance or assertiveness, while moving away from another person may send a message of avoidance, submission, or simply bringing the interaction to a close.

  • Touch – This is one of the most powerful elements of body language. It is capable of communicating so many different messages, and can also be interpreted in so many different ways. Touch is usually divided into four main categories: friendship, professional, social, and intimacy.

  • Appearance – Your physical appearance includes clothing, neatness, body shape, and anything else that provides visual messages and cues to other people. For instance, you dress conservatively and formally for a funeral, but casually and informally for a backyard barbecue.

As you can see, there are a huge number of variations that can be created within each element of body language, and even more that occur when you combine two or more elements. All of these elements connect together into body language in ways that are both conscious and unconscious. Learning about the key elements of body language and increasing your awareness of them will help you in all aspects of communication in all aspects of your life.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
We need also to know the aspects of body communication.
Ruriel - 14-Mar-13 @ 5:47 AM
need to know how bodylanguage work.
dexter - 18-Sep-12 @ 5:18 AM
It's all very interesting and I guess there is some truth in it, but there's always the fact that some people just have mannerisms and twitches over which they have no control, or just don;'t realise they are doing it. I know someone who stares hard into your eyes and makes you feel intimidated, it's just the way they've always been, it doesn't actually mean much.
Stary Eyed - 28-May-12 @ 7:52 PM
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