Body Language and How to Understand the Mind of the Other Person You’re Talking to

Body Language – Not infrequently, a person will communicate with other individuals only with body expressions, alias without speaking at all. Even without spoken words, it turns out that these body expressions can also be a form of communication that reflects a person’s message or feelings. For this, surely Sinaumed’s also often does it right?

A simple example of body language is the use of the thumbs-up gesture to express agreement with the other person. Unfortunately, not everyone can read and understand the meaning of body language given by other people because sometimes in one area with another the meaning is different. This may be influenced by cultural differences that exist in the region concerned.

Then actually, what is body language? What forms of body language are often used by individuals in communicating? How do we read the gestures made by the other person so that we can understand the meaning of his thoughts?

So, so that Sinaumed’s isn’t confused about what body language is, let’s look at the following review!

Basic Concepts of Body Language

In short, body language is communication that contains a message and is conveyed non-verbally or without using words. This language is a process of exchanging thoughts or ideas that contain a certain message and is conveyed in the form of gestures, facial expressions, eye contact, touch, use of special symbols, postures and body movements, to silence.

According to David Cohen in his book entitled Body Language in Associations , suggests that body language can actually be a form of “mask” to express feelings to others. Everyone’s way of speaking is different as it reflects his personality, therefore the body gestures that people make will also be different from other people. Not only that, it turns out that the language spoken by each person can be included in semiotics, you know…

Meanwhile, according to Alo Liliweri in his book entitled Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication, he also argues that body language, aka body movement, is also part of non-verbal behavior, which conveys ideas or messages through communication symbols to other people. Since the process of communication in everyday life is something that is important, this language is also included in other options for communicating besides using words (verbal).

An example of this language that is often encountered is the use of the thumbs up sign which means agree. This language can also be a complement when communicating verbally to convince the other person. Usually the salesperson will use this language in the midst of their verbal communication to attract the attention of potential buyers to be willing to buy or use the product being offered.

Forms of Body Language

According to Beliak and Baker (1981), revealed that body language has three general forms and types, namely eye contact, facial expressions, and limb movements. Well, here is a brief description:

1. Eye Contact (Gaze)

The first form is eye contact, referring to the way someone looks at the other person, especially when carrying out verbal communication. In fact, not infrequently, eye contact that is made without any verbal communication can also convey messages to others. Yep, just paying attention or looking at someone without saying a word can actually send a message to other people, even though not everyone can read or understand that eye contact. Not only that, through eye contact can also support verbal communication that is being carried out. For example, the presence of a glazed look, anxiety, fear, enthusiasm can be seen from eye contact.

Does Sinaumed’s realize that the eye contact others make of us can also have meaning? In fact, not infrequently eye contact from someone can be a certain sign of the situation and condition they are experiencing, although some people often misunderstand the meaning of eye contact.

Let’s take the example of a ticket from the police. The police will usually use body language in the form of eye contact with transportation users, be it motorbikes or cars, to check the completeness of the documents they have. If these drivers do not bring complete paperwork, they will tend to have eyes or even dare not make eye contact with the police. Their “do not dare” to make eye contact because they simply know that they are at fault for the incomplete documents of the vehicle they are carrying. Actually, there is a certain science to learning this eye contact, especially with criminals. Unfortunately, the meaning of body language, especially eye contact, is different in every country, so it often causes misunderstandings.

2. Facial Expressions

The facial expressions that we often display when conversing with other people are also included in body language. This facial expression includes how the facial expressions are displayed when carrying out verbal communication, as a form of reaction to the message contained in the conversation. However, it should also be noted that facial expressions don’t have to be displayed only in verbal conversation, OK? Even when you’re in silent mode, you can do that too.

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A person’s face can be likened to a mirror of the person’s thoughts and feelings, so that from the facial expressions displayed, we can “read” what message is to be conveyed. However, it should also be noted that facial expressions are not necessarily independent of their thoughts and feelings, because it all depends on how people look at them.

There are many people who do have a stern face, but their true nature is friendly. So many people misinterpret it and think the person is really curt, even though his face is like that. Facial expressions that reflect feelings and messages can usually be seen when they react to something.

3. Gesture or Body Movement

Gesture is a form of language in the form of hand, shoulder, leg, and finger movements. Usually, the use of this gesture is to support the conversation so that it is more convincing for the message to be conveyed. For example, if you want to talk about how big a building is, you will definitely describe it verbally accompanied by hand gestures above your head as if the building is towering.

Body Language Functions

According to Mark L. Knapp

According to Mark L. Knapp, body language as non-verbal communication has five functions as a complement to the ongoing verbal communication, which are as follows:

1. Repetition

The use of body language can function to repeat ideas that have been previously conveyed verbally. For example, a child is asked “Would you like to buy ice cream?”, then the child answers “Yes” out loud while jumping up and down with a happy face.

The act of jumping up and down accompanied by a happy face is also included in the body language which seems to give a repetition of the answer to his approval.

2. Substitution

The second function of using body language is to replace verbal symbols. In this case, one does not need to say any words to respond to something. Just by doing body language, surely most of the other people who are the other person will understand.

For example, body language in the form of body movements in the form of shaking the head can be interpreted as a sign of disapproval of the context of the conversation, especially in the Indonesian region.

3. Contradiction

The third function of using body language is to reject a verbal message by giving another meaning in the form of a non-verbal message. For example: when in the middle of giving a presentation, Deni gave a verbal compliment to his friend in the form of “You are great”, but after that he just pouted his lips.

4. Complements

The fourth function of using body language is to complement and support verbal messages. In this case, usually thoughts and messages are not conveyed verbally, so it is only limited to body language. Example: when someone is falling, because of the pain, one cannot say “it hurts” or “ouch”, but only shows a facial expression of pain.

5. Accentuation

The last function of using body language is to emphasize the verbal message to be conveyed. Example: when angry, someone will express his annoyance by hitting something around him as a form of confirmation to others that he is angry.

According to Paul Ekman

1. Emblems

The label can be a translation of a person’s non-verbal message. But in this case, the meaning or translation of the body language that is done varies in each region. For example: in the US, the gesture of the fingers forming a V sign means victory, while in many other countries the gesture means peace.

2. Illustrator

The function of usage is to explain or show an example of something being talked about in a verbal conversation. Example: Lita is talking about Fahrul who has a tall stature, so she gives more explanation by using body language in the form of gestures in the form of raising and lowering her hands from the ground to describe how tall Fahrul is.

This function is further divided into 8 forms, namely:

  • Batons , namely a movement that shows a certain pressure on the verbal message to be conveyed.
  • Ideographs , namely a movement that directs the mind to verbal messages. This form usually takes the form of facial expressions.
  • Deictic Movements , namely movements to show something as a “substitute” for verbal messages.
  • Spatial Movements , namely movements that describe the size of the situation.
  • Kinetograph , which is a movement that describes a physical action.
  • Rhythmic Movements , namely movements that show a certain rhythm.
  • Pictographs , namely movements that describe something in the air.
  • Emblematic Movements , namely movements that describe a certain verbal statement.

3. Regulators

The next use function is to direct, supervise, and coordinate verbal interactions with others. In this case, usually the use of body language is manifested in the form of eye contact.

4. Adapter

The fourth usage function is to describe iconic behavior that is usually conveyed consciously by the person concerned. Usually, the body language that is manifested is in the form of body gestures.

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5. Affect Display

The last function of using body language is to describe feelings and emotions from someone without having to say it verbally. In this case it is usually manifested in facial expressions to show a reaction to something.

How to read other people’s thoughts from their body language

Actually, to read the other person’s mind based on their body language is not difficult. It’s just that, many people are smart in manipulating their body language so that the messages given are often not processed by us. But in general, when someone responds to something that is not much different. Well, here is the description.

Lying People’s Body Language

  1. Touch nose. People who lie, usually tend to touch their nose when conversing. Not infrequently, they will also pretend to scratch their nose.
  2. look away. People who lie, usually will look away alias unable to make eye contact with the other person.
  3. Flashes frequently. The intensity of the blinking of people who are lying will usually continue to increase, as a form of nervousness over their lies.
  4. Scratching the neck that shows the person lying is usually obvious, especially accompanied by a look in the other direction.

Body Language of People Who Are Interested in Something

  1. Draw closer to objects or people that interest them. This language is unknowingly done, especially when he is interested in something.
  2. Changes in the pupils of the eyes. Usually, if someone is interested in something or in a certain conversation, their gaze will change as if they want the conversation on that topic to continue.
  3. Tidy up clothes and hair. This language is usually done by someone who is interested in someone, it can be in the form of smoothing the collar, pulling the skirt, or something else. This seems to give a good impression to the interlocutor who makes him interested.

The body language of people who are not comfortable with their surroundings

  1. Cross your arms over your chest. This gesture indicates that a person is in a state of discomfort with the environment around him.
  2. The combination of hand gestures with eye gaze. Especially someone who does not dare to express opinions or feelings of dislike towards others.

The Body Language of People Who Feel in Power

  1. Put your feet on the table. This is of course impolite, so this gesture will directly show that someone is feeling in control of something. Even some opinions also say that someone does not have manners.
  2. Exhale cigarette upwards. This is also actually impolite because smoking should be in a special room, not in a public place. Especially if the way to exhale cigarette smoke while slightly pouting his lips.

Body Language of People Who Feel Sad or Stressed

  1. Bend down and his hands while rubbed on the back of the head.
  2. Wiping the forehead. Body language is usually supported by facial expressions that show anxiety.

Body Language Through Hand Gestures

  1. Rubbing the chin slowly, it can be interpreted that he is thinking.
  2. Hands on waist, can show that he is aware of his environment.
  3. Playing with glasses, can be interpreted that someone is stalling for time in making a decision.

Differences in Body Language and Their Meanings from Different Countries

Previously, it was written that body language has different meanings, especially from different countries. Maybe for a country, a language is interpreted as a positive thing, but in other parts of the world it can be interpreted as a negative thing. So, here are the differences in the meaning of body language in various countries.

1. Gesture Hand Movement

Not infrequently when you are having a verbal conversation, you will definitely include body language to support the message you want to convey. One of them is a hand gesture in the form of clenching the index finger and thumb. Generally, this hand gesture can mean approval or the word “OK”. However, in Greece, Spain and Brazil, these hand gestures are interpreted as calling someone with harsh words. Then in Turkey, the gesture is used to scold gay men.

2. Eye Contact

In some Western countries, making eye contact when conversing is a form of confidence as well as attention to the other person. This body language also indicates that the other person is interested in our conversation. However, in Middle Eastern countries, body language in the form of eye contact is considered impolite, especially to the opposite sex.

Then in several Asian, African and Latin American countries, body language in the form of eye contact for a long time is seen as aggressive and challenging at the same time. Especially in countries that are still thick with social hierarchies.

3. Moving Head

Body gestures in the form of moving the head either by shaking or nodding the head usually mean as a response to something. Shaking your head means disapproval, while nodding your head means agreement. However, in India, moving the head is seen as a form of actively listening to the conversation.

4. Physical Contact

Physical contact is also included in body language. In European countries, it is common to rarely make physical contact in the form of shaking hands when the other person is not well known. However, in Middle Eastern and Latin American countries, physical contact in the form of a handshake is mandatory, especially when getting acquainted or socializing.

So, that’s a review of what body language is and its forms that a person usually does, especially in non-verbal communication. Does Sinaumed’s often pay attention to other people’s body language when conversing?

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