How Does Body Speak? • Like any spoken language, body language has words, sentences and punctuation. • Each gesture is like a single word and one word may have several different meanings.
According to the social anthropologist, Edward T. Hall, in a normal conversation between two persons, less than 35% of the social meanings is actually transmitted by words. • So, at least 65% of it is conveyed through the body (non-verbal channel). BODILY SPEAKING…
A murder case in Los Angeles in 1988. • An American teenager in Nigeria in 1997 • An American couple in New Zealand in 1999 • … Why Is It Important to Understand Body Language?
Nodding the head • “Yes” in most societies • “No” in some parts of Greece, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Turkey • Tossing the head backward • “yes” in Thailand, the Philippines, India, Laos • Rocking head slowly, back and forth • “yes, I’m listening” in most Asian cultures HEAD
Facial expressions reflect emotion, feelings and attitudes, but….. • The Asians are sometimes known as • emotionless • mixed-up emotion FACE
Eye contacts • Encouraged in America, Canada, Europe • Rude in most Asian countries and in Africa • Raising eyebrows • “Yes” in Thailand and some Asian countries • “Hello” in the Philippines • Winking eye • Sharing secret in America and Europe • flirtatious gesture in other countries EYES
Closed eyes • bored or sleepy in America • “I’m listening and concentrating.” in Japan, Thailand, China EYES
Ear grasp • “I’m sorry.” in parts of India • Cupping the ear • “I can’t hear you.” in all societies • Pulling ear • “You are in my heart” for Navajo Indians EARS
Holding the nose • “Something smells bad.” universal • Nose tap • “It’s confidential.” England • “Watch out!” or "Be careful.” Italy NOSE
Pointing to nose • “It’s me.” Japan • Blowing nose • In most Asian countries, blowing the nose at social gathering is ‘disgusting.’ NOSE
Whistle, yawn, smile, bite, point, sneeze, spit, kiss.. • Kissing sound. To attract attention in the Philippines, to beckon a waiter in Mexico. • Finger tip kiss. In France, it conveys several messages, “That’s good!” “That’s great!” “That’s beautiful!.” LIPS AND MOUTH
Arms akimbo. In many cultures, this stance signals aggression, resistance, impatience, or even anger. • Arms behind back, hands grasped is a sign of ease and control. • Arms in front, hands grasped, common practice in most Asian countries, is a sign of mutual respect for others. ARMS
Of all the body parts, the hands are probably used most for communicating non-verbally. • Hand wavesare used for greetings,beckoning, or farewells. HANDS
The Italian “good-bye” wave can be interpreted by Americans as the gesture of “come here.” • The American “good-bye” wave can be interpreted in many parts of Europe and Latin America as the signal for “no.” HANDS
Beckoning. • The American way of getting attention (raising a hand with the index finger raised above head) could be considered rude in Japan, and also means “two” in Germany. • The American “come here” gesture could be seen as an insult in most Asian countries. HANDS
HANDS • Handshaking is a form of greeting in most Western cultures. • In the Middle East, a gentle grip is appropriate. • In most Asian cultures, a gentle grip and an avoidance of direct eye contact is appropriate.
HANDS • Hand-holding among the same sex is a custom of special friendship and respect in several Middle Eastern and Asian countries.
The “O.K.” signal. (the thumb and forefinger form a circle) means • “fine,” or “O.K.” in most cultures, • “zero” or “worthless” in some parts of Europe • “money” in Japan • an insult in Greece, Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Russia and some other countries FINGERS
“Thumb-up” means: • “O.K.” “good job” or “fine” in most cultures, • “Up yours!” in Australia • “Five” in Japan; “One” in Germany • Avoid a thumb-up in these countries: Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Russia, and most African countries. FINGERS
FINGERS • Pointing. • Pointing with the index finger is common in North America and Europe. • But it is considered impolite in Japan and China where they favor using the whole open hand. • Malaysians prefer pointing with the thumb.
In Asia, do not point with your toes. • In Asia and some European countries, putting feet up on a desk or any other piece of furniture is very disrespectful. • Sitting cross-legged, while common in North America and some European countries, is very impolite in other parts of the world. LEGS AND FEET
Walking can reflect many characteristics of a culture. For example, • In parts of Asia and some of the Middle Eastern countries, men who are friends may walk holding each other’s hand. • In Japan and Korea, older women commonly walk a pace or two behind male companion. • Asians often regard Western women as bold and aggressive, for they walk with a longer gait and a more upright posture. WALKING
Becoming sensitive to the clues of body language can help us communicate more effectively with students. FOR ALL OF US…
We can understand what students are saying even when they are not talking.
We can sense when students are silent and digesting information, or when they are silent and confused.
We can share feelings too strong or too difficult to be expressed in words,
And we may spot contradictions between what students say and what they really mean.
Finally, we can learn to be more sensitive to our own bodies – to see how they express our feelings and to see ourselves as others see us.
2005 NACADA National Conference Kris Rugsaken Ball State university Muncie, Indiana references