Effective communication without words: what do our gestures reveal

It’s a well-known fact that we can determine if a person is in a good mood from the time they enter a room and even before they start talking. This is possible when we pay attention to their non-verbal signals and interpret them correctly. For example, clenched fists can be signs of anger or, in other circumstances, may be a sign of victory and satisfaction.

Communication contains verbal and non-verbal components, which are equally important. Non-verbal signs are very informative and indicate our emotions and psychological state, especially hand gestures in that the human brain focuses mostly on hands during a conversation. Gestures may be used as a primary tool of interaction and as well can complement spoken words. They can tell us everything about people’s intentions. A simple act of presenting a business card or shaking hands can convey a lot of meanings: from our general self-esteem to our attitude towards a proposed deal. The ability to decipher gestures is crucial for powerful communication. Even hidden or subconscious feelings manifest themselves in body language, giving us valuable information.

Understanding body language allows us to enhance the message or to break it, so body gestures should be used appropriately. The gestures of an assertive person are relaxed and natural. Rubbing hands together, fidgeting with fingers or scratching is an obvious sign of nervousness and stress. An open palm is a signal of openness and honesty. If a person hides their hands, people tend not to trust them. Gestures are expressive, but they should not be overwhelming. Arm flapping can be distracting
and irritating, so limit the space of your hand gestures. Combine gestures and words wisely: don’t use gestures to compensate words if you don’t know what to say.

Cultural context is also important. Although many gestures are universal, their meaning may vary on cultural and social backgrounds. For example, hugging or touching in business communication can be considered inappropriate in some cultures and desirable in others.

Controlling hand gestures may be difficult, especially in formal and stressful situations. You need to practice how to use body language and interpret the gestures of other people. This skill-set can be mastered throughout different courses. In our Academy, along with theory and practice, we incorporate movie coaching to teach verbal and non-verbal communication. We believe that the ability to read gestures and other non-verbal signals provides an enormous advantage for effective communication in all areas of life!

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