5 Little-Known Facts About Body Language That You May Not Know

“Actions speak louder than words.”

Everyone has heard that expression before. But have you really thought about what it means? According to research, approximately 80-90 percent of the meaning of a message lies in the nonverbal part of it. That’s why it is so important to communication, and even more vital to understand the nature of it.

But are you actually aware of your own body language? And how good are you at reading other people’s body language? In this blog, I want talk about five little-known facts about nonverbal communication that you might not know:

1. It’s culturally bound — mostly.

The only nonverbal behaviors that are universal throughout the world are facial expressions — the expressions of anger, happiness, sadness, disgust, surprise and fear are basic to all humans. However, the rest of them are specific to certain cultures.

In the United States, eye contact is considered respectful. Parents tell their children to look at them when they speak because it is a sign that someone is paying attention to them. However, in some Middle Eastern and Asian cultures, eye contact is to be avoided because it might signal an inappropriate romantic interest — or it may be just plain inappropriate in a social interactions.

Moreover, certain hand signals mean different things in different cultures. For example, my sister used to travel to India a lot for business. At the time, her boss was a very enthusiastic fellow, and he always wanted people to give him a “thumbs up” sign at the end of every meeting. One day, during a video conference with people from India, he told everyone (including the Indians) to give a thumbs up. So of course, all the Americans put up their thumbs, but the Indians just stared with blank —> Read More