How to Understand Body Language Communication and Facial Expressions

Body Language Communication

What is body language in communication?

Body language is the medium through which people and animals communicate using gestures, expressions, and posture. Body language plays a significant role in intuition as it gives us messages about the other person; we can interpret at an intuitive level.

Components of Body Language

A close up of a person brushing the teeth
Eye contact can express many things

Facial Expression including Eye contact is an important part of Body Language Communication

Some universal facial expressions such as a smile, laughing, a frown, and a scowl, each express deeper meanings.  

Eyebrow movements indicate worry, wonder, excitement, and confusion.

Eye contact is direct and consequential.  It can indicate different feelings like focus, thoughtfulness, affection, anger, and command.

Eye contact denotes multiple meanings.

If eye contact is avoided, it can be a sign of concealing something. Usually, a person without confidence tries to avoid eye contact. 


Body language
Body language depicting confidence

Fidgeting is moving body parts such as limbs without reason. It indicates a sign of a restless mind. Looking at the ground or here and there is a clear indication that the person is not attentive and cannot be a good listener. 

Alert people always keep, lean forward, and pay attention.

A person giving a firm handshake indicates his confidence and liveliness.

Nodding indicates that the person is listening. 

Leaning backward demonstrates aloofness or rejection

Folding arms across one’s chest or body is protective and give the impression of a closed, guarded, and defensive character.

People with arms folded, legs crossed, and bodies turned away are signaling that they are rejecting messages.

A head down is negative and judgmental.


When a person communicates with the other, the space he or she maintains expresses that person’s feelings about the other. Maintaining space speaks volumes about each others’ minds and is an important part of Body Language Communication. There are four distinct zones in which most people operate:

Intimate Area 15-50 cm

Personal Area 0.5-1m

Social Area 1-3m

General Area 3m 

Professional significance of body language

Body language and facial expressions are critical in handling human relationships in corporate workings.  A subordinate can understand the mood swings of superior and vice versa.  Smart managers understand the body language of their team members and get work done from them accordingly.  Similarly, the subordinates can get approvals to the seniors’ desired favors by making appropriate requests at the right time, depending upon the facial expressions depicted by the seniors.  If properly understood, body language can help maintain good personal relations with everyone—family, friends, relatives, and even strangers.   


We have seen details about body language, and facial expressions and how it helps make intuitive judgments about the other person of our interest.  Likewise, our body language and facial expressions can create favorable or unfavorable impacts on others.  For instance, when you meet your colleague in the office, just giving a good smile can help you maintain good relations with the other person. It is interesting to note about body language communication that in Japan, people greet each other by bowing down. The act indicates respect, affection, and good feelings about the other.  

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