Non-Verbal Communication 3
Kinesics is also related to the positioning of the body called Posture .It refers to the way we move, walk, bend ,stand or slouch. Posture reveals a lot of people’s attitudes and emotions. Posture performs the following functions :
a)Defensive: If you all of a sudden see some object being hurled at you ,instantly you try to adopt a different posture ,obviously, to save yourself from the object, either by ducking ,or slouching or trying to get out of the way. Best example is when your teacher tries to reclaim your attention by aiming a chalk piece at you ,you immediately change your posture by hiding under the desk.
b)Adaptive: You adapt your posture according to the space available .Example: When travelling on a local train we can adapt our posture to allow a fourth person to sit on a three seater space. We have to give in to the “Please adjust” appeal ,by our fellow passengers.
c)Expressive : When we feel low ,automatically our shoulders droop ,our face falls and our pace slows down. Thus, our overall demeanour expresses our mental state.
Let’s take a look at the different ways in which people stand and balance their bodies and what it reveals about them:
Balanced Posture: This is portrayed by a person standing firm on both feet with a fair distribution of weight on both heels. The body is relaxed , torso is upright. Arms should be relaxed and hanging down at the sides .This posture reveals level –headedness , self -confidence and inner freedom.
A Stiff Posture: One adopts this when one is under extreme tension automatically our muscles stiffen , this results in a rigid posture. People who display this posture often are said to be determined have lack of flexibility and have a great desire to prove themselves.
A Jiggling Posture: This posture is characterised by up and down movements as a result of shifting weight from side to side on back of the feet. Upward jiggling of the body is carried out in constant and abrupt movements. This is an unbalanced stance, generally visible in public speakers.
Standing with Legs Apart: This posture is adapted when people are eager to assert themselves. It reveals heightened self- awareness and arrogance. It is a defensive posture against an assumed threat.
Crossed Legs: Body tension is concentrated in crossed legs in this posture. It can reveal a defensive attitude but the tension also expresses a certain readiness for contact. Generally, a newcomer in a group unknowingly adapts this posture.
According to psychologists the way a person walks shows a great deal about his mental state and personal attitude. The pace of one’s walk reveals temperament and power. Swift movements reveal activity. Quiet movements reveal calmness, Lethargic movements stand for sluggishness, carelessness and insecurities . Distracted movements reveal nervousness and insecurity.
Different styles of walking are :
Stepping Out: People who take big steps are generally decisive, ambitious and have the ability to take action .Big steps display initiative and dislike of narrow mindedness.
Hesitant Walk: people who take little steps are cautious , adapt quickly .However, these people lack confidence but are meticulous.
Relaxed Walk: Generally this signifies a casual and carefree attitude. Young people are generally found walking in this manner. Paired with other expressions it could also stand for immaturity, indolence , carelessness.
Dragging Walk: People who walk in this manner are usually under tension, their back is rounded, chest is hollow, their movements have little variation. Round shoulders show despondency and dislike of effort , such people are usually sluggish and inactive.
Similarly the way we Sit also reveals a lot about ourselves. It is found that women sit differently than men .It is not only due to difference in anatomy or style of dressing but gender roles play an important role here.Generally, Closed legs reveal anxiety, Crossed Legs stand for self -confidence, Wrapping legs around the chair stand for inflexibility, strong inner tension and by wrapping legs around the chair the individual seeks for support against insecurity.
Gestures: We use our hands and arms to gesticulate. Gestures supplement and intensify speech. Gestures convey a lot about speakers , their interest ,attitudes and emotions .For instance a teacher may use forceful hand gestures to emphasize her view like banging on the desk , or pointing at an erring student . Shrugging shoulders signify resignation or wringing of hands standing for nervousness .If you ever get caught in a foreign country due to language problems ,you could fall back on gestures to bail you out!
Positive gestures include patting on the back, shaking hands, waving fervently on seeing a friend in excitement or a usual hand shake.
The way we position our hands also reveal our attitude and emotions :
Hands open: People showing their palms i. e keeping hands open during an argument reveal an open minded individual, ready to trust others and interested in others arguments.
Hands covered : Back of one or both hands raised against one another is representative of concealing feelings and covering insecurity. Such a person is difficult and keeps his distance.
Clinging hands: Depicts confused and insecure people, longing for support .Such individuals generally cling to handbags, files or even a hand kerchief .Such people are scared of the present and clinging to things is part of their coping activity.
Fists clenched: This is a forceful gesture .When an individual tries to prove a point vehemently automatically fists get clenched .
Hands twisted: People who twist arms are complex, people trying to hide something .Twisted hands reveal a difficult emotional life .
Fists clasped: This is a defensive gesture .Clasped hands create a barricade.
Fingers also communicate effectively. The usual thumbs up gesture stands for authority and encouragement .Upward index finger held right up to the middle of the cheek stands for a self -opinionated individual. Pointed index finger draws attention to something. Index finger across the mouth is a sign of restraint.