Body Language

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Body language is extremely important in many ways. You must be able to read it, but you must also be able to send the right signals. There are four main positions, and four basic modes that stem from these positions. There are also specific gestures people make that are dead giveaways to when they are lying, when they want to get away from a situation, and when they are interested in something, and when they are feeling certain emotions.

The four main positions are open, closed, forward, and back. If someone has their arms folded, legs crossed, and bodies turned away are said to be in a closed position. "They are signaling that they are rejecting messages"(Mole). If someone has their hands open and are fully facing you with both feet on the ground are in the open position. They are accepting what they are hearing. The forward and back positions "indicate whether people are actively or passively reacting to communication"(Mole).

When someone is in a forward position, they are actively accepting or rejecting a message. They are leaning forward and pointing towards you. When someone is in the back position, people lean back, look at the ceiling, doodle on pads, or clean their glasses.

When these positions come together, they form modes. There are four different modes; responsive, reflective, fugitive, and combative. Here is an illustration to help you understand: Open Responsive Reflective Forward-------------------------------------Back Combative Fugitive Closed In the responsive mode, a person is listening to what you are saying, and they like what they are hearing. In the reflective mode, people are listening, but they do not agree with the ideas they are hearing. In the combative mode, people are actively resisting. Lastly, when in the fugitive mode, people are trying to escape physically or mentally.