Non-verbal body language manifested in the process of interpersonal interaction is a human characteristic that can tell much about an individual. Specific habits, emotions, and other personal properties are reflected through gestures and facial expressions, and kinesics is designed to interpret these body movements. To assess how such non-verbal language looks in a real environment, I went to a small café where employees of nearby offices often gathered for business lunches. While spending about half an hour there, I watched the conversation of two young men about thirty, and, not being able to hear their dialogue, I concentrated on their gestures and facial expressions. The obtained observation data allow me to assert the richness of the non-verbal communication method and comprehensive tools that help interpret specific body motions.
As the objects of observation, two men of about thirty acted. They were likely office employees since they came into the cafe around noon and were wearing suits. Since I was at several tables from them, I could not hear what they were talking about. However, the interior of the cafe allowed me to see both men from a side angle, which made it possible to note and fix the individual gestures and facial expressions of each of them. The men conducted a full dialogue and used non-verbal communication actively, which was convenient for my observation.
Body Behavior Interpretation
To analyze the situation including non-verbal communication, I utilized special markers used in kinesics. Affini (2017) offers their classification and mentions emblems, illustrators, regulators, adapters, and affect displays as tools applied in the process of communication through gestures and facial expressions. Observing the two men in the cafe allowed me to highlight each of these markers and interpret their meaning by following the method of kinesics analysis.
One of the men was more active and showed more gestures and facial expressions. Regarding emblems, he once crossed his fingers in a lock, thereby showing a connection between something, and depicted a ball with his palms twice, which meant a single whole of some phenomenon. His interlocutor used fewer gestures and resorted to affect displays. He raised his eyebrows several times by showing surprise at the interlocutor’s individual remarks man, raised his lower lip three times to express his approval, and raised his left eyebrow once to show his disbelief. Since he was less impulsive, only he resorted to regulators in the process of their dialogue. Almost the entire conversation was accompanied by his nods, which, however, rather expressed his attentiveness than agreement. In addition, he glanced at the clock on the wall periodically, which was probably associated with the time allotted for the staff break. However, his behavior was not associated with irritation, and this gave the interlocutor an opportunity to describe specific events actively.
The more talkative man used illustrators as kinesics tools to add color to his words. In particular, he spread his arms to the sides twice to show a certain size and raised one hand with the palm parallel to the table surface, thereby demonstrating a certain height. Many of his gestures were unconscious adapters, for instance, when he tilted his head at least five times and rubbed his forehead in thought by showing his perplexity non-verbally. When the waiter brought water, he began to turn the glass on the table with one hand, which could be associated with nervousness. In general, I can assume that neither of the two interlocutors focused on their gestures and facial expressions and used them subconsciously, which increases the value of the observation.
This observation has allowed me to evaluate how rich and versatile non-verbal communication can be in relation to human interaction in everyday life. The example of the conversation between the two office employees proves that using facial expressions and gestures in the process of communication often occurs unconsciously, which, in turn, helps reflect specific behavioral or character features. The markers used in kinesics have contributed to highlighting the characteristic tools of non-verbal interaction and determining the individual characteristics of the two men’s body motions.
Affini, L. N. (2017). A study of kinesics category and the manifestation towards a toddler attitudes. ETERNAL (English Teaching Journal), 8(2), 61-67. Web.