Nonverbal Communication: Gestures, Body Language and Appearance

I will be looking at nonverbal communication. I am looking into it because nonverbal communication happens on a daily basis in many different places. There are many times where anyone who is using nonverbal communication can be at fault or have to face consequences by other who are offended by using it. However, as you may already know, there are different scenarios where nonverbal communication can have a positive and /or negative outcome. Such as where nonverbal communication is used with Gestures, body language, or even just Appearances. On the other hand, there are also different times where using nonverbal communication is not something you should be afraid to use when the person who used it does not have to worry about being responsible for the misinterpretation or the consequences led from it. That is what I will be explaining in this paper and how Gestures, Body Language, and Appearance can all fit into non verbal communication. I will also be explaining how using nonverbal communication can be misinterpreted in many different ways.

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The first scenario where you use certain gestures and are not responsible for the misinterpretation falls into the category of “Kinesics”. This is the study of how we use body movement and facial expressions. Today many of interpret a great deal of non verbal communication through body movement, facial expressions, and eye contact. Many people assume they can easily interpret the meanings through body movements and facial expression in others but the reality of it is, it is almost impossible to determine an exact meaning for gestures, facial expressions and eye contact. Which is why it is misinterpreted by others because other think they know what the meaning behind it or the message someone is trying to give, which is often misinterpreted. For example, using gestures is usually pairing verbal communication but without actually speaking out loud. Kinesics can interpret and express different meaning such as communicate liking, social status, and even relational responsiveness. For example, as it is stated in the book, imagine yourself at a party and you see someone across the room you are attracted to.What sort of nonverbal behaviors do you engage in to letting that person know? This is where the group communication category falls into. There are different types of groups, the group that falls into this category of group communication is a Primary group. Primary groups are ones we form to help us realize our human needs like inclusion and affection. It is generally formed to help us meet our fundamental needs as relational beings like acceptance, love, and affection. Body Language is another example of using nonverbal communication that is often misinterpreted, especially in sports like events. Body language is the transmission of subconscious thoughts exhibited through your body and physical movements, rather then through words. Body language is very powerful, and will often send a stronger message than any words. Their are at least three challenges with body language. The first is that a so called “Speaker” will send body language messages that contradict their verbal communication. 

The second challenge is the listeners often misinterpret what was once considered body language clues. For example, as it is stated in the article from ProQuest, “Don’t be fooled by body language: Misinterpretation of nonverbal communication can ruin relationships”. “The traditional crossed arms used to be seen as an indication a person was being defensive to the ideas being presented.” As you may already know, the “crossed arms” on chest is universal and is decoded with the same defensive or negative meaning almost everywhere and can be a disruptive thing to do. It is commonly seen among strangers in public meetings, in queues or restaurant lines, elevators, classroom environments or anywhere that people feel uncertain or insecure. A third challenge is that body language today is now being weaponized or miscommunicated through social media. For instance as it is also stated in the article from ProQuest “Don’t be fooled by body language: Misinterpretation of nonverbal communication can ruin relationships”. It states that “ a downcast face misconstrued as negative, or a fashion statement perceived as inappropriate, is then used as a spear to attack the person through various media strategies”. Which this action, along with the language that is being used reaches the level of incivility a whole new message, and can be difficult to deal with many others. It cause others to feel insecure or shameful because of the critics through social media that misinterpret what was being shown such as viewing the fashion statement wrong or criticizing women for social a little bit of cleavage. As I have already discussed gestures and body language and how its use can often be misinterpreted. I’ve come to explain how Appearance can also convey a misinterpreted or negative message towards others. 

Your choice of color, clothing, or hairstyle can all sometimes have a negative affect on others. For example, as you may already know, today there is violence that has to do with gangs such as, the “South” and “North” side. Some schools have adopted to is having a well-defined dress code that prohibits students from wearing gang-related clothing. For that reason is because some schools have had some difficulty in controlling such dress codes, some gang-related clothing is easily recognized or misunderstood. For example as it is stated in “Gangs: A Reference Handbook”, it stated that “wearing red or blue may signify membership in the bloods (red) or Crips (Blue). Students wearing bandannas or baseball caps may also be misinterpreted by also being members of “gangs” and that they are advertising their membership; for example, in some areas, wearing a Duke University baseball cap signifies membership in the Folk Nation gang.” However, people often misinterpret it, some may do it to cause violence or to show greater power in a particular gang but many do not do it for those reasons and that is why it is misinterpreted and it comes along the lines where if that were to happen, you would not be the one at fault for the misinterpretation.

I’ve discussed the different theories of using nonverbal communication and how it is often misinterpreted by your surroundings and you not being at fault for it.

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Nonverbal Communication: Gestures, Body Language And Appearance. (2021, Mar 22). Retrieved December 3, 2022 , from

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