Body Language – Vücut Dili

People can not live without each other, we are social human beings. As soon as we are in contact with others, we are in the domain of communication. We tend to think that we only make use of spoken and written language. However, we can also communicate without words or writing; we can utilize our body to communicate. This kind of communication tells us something about the relationship between people. When we connect with a person, we also have to make it clear to each other how the content of a spoken message needs to be interpreted. To make the meaning of our words clear, we use body language. Body Language is nonverbal, usually unconscious, communication through the use of postures, gestures, touch, facial expressions or eye-contact. According to Albert Mehrabian’s 7%-38%-55% rule, body language is 55% of our communication. It is estimated that the interpersonal communication involves only 10% of words and the rest is voice tone, sounds, movement, touch, eye-contact, postures, face expression, and sound symbols. In Exhibit A, these examples of body language can be reviewed.

It can be noted that every body movement has a meaning and that no movement is accidental. Everything that we do has a point of reference. Body language adds to, and often complicates verbal communication. Body movement does not by itself have precise meaning, but when we combine it with spoken language (verbal communication); it gives fuller meaning to sender’s message. Understanding body language is important to understand yourself, and your partner, opponents, or sender’s feeling and thoughts. If you want to be a better communicator, you should be careful with your eye contact, arms, hands, legs, posture, smile, your distance, proactive mirroring and your attention.

In nonverbal communication; cues, signals and symbols are also important. Cues are a type of receptive communication; signals are a form of expressive communication and symbols are representation of an event, action, object or person. We use all of them during communication depending on the situations. For instance; a mother can gently pull a child’s arm upward to give a cue about a dressing routine. As a signal, hand clapping can be used to show that we enjoy the time. Also, as a symbol we can use spoon to show the child about meal times.  

Although body language is important for personal relationships, it is used in business presentation, sales, marketing and negotiation. If you pay attention to body language (head, arm, hand, leg, feet movements, voice intonations, face expressions) early in your business or negotiation conversations, you will be much aware of yourself and your counterpart. Your observations of body language will help you pick and distinguish important items vs. less important items. It is also difficult to lie or cover up your feelings because of body language. People may give their true feelings away without realizing what their body says.

It is important to note that body language has several different meanings in different cultures although there are some universal nonverbal signs such as smiles and laughter. Body language depends on the situation, the culture, the relationship, age, and gender. If you are not careful and prepared enough about the cultural differences, mis-understandings might occur and you may get yourself in some serious trouble!
In conclusion, we can say that “actions speak louder than words”. Therefore, the skill of using non-verbal elements in communication is of vital importance.


EXHIBIT A  Examples of Body Language  

Body Language


Biting nails

Nervous, Insecure

Drumming fingers

Restlessness or Impatience

Steepling fingers

Display of Authority, Influence

Open palms

Expression of sincerity, Innocence

Rubbing both hands

Anticipation, Impatience

Resting the cheek on the hand

Thinking, Evaluating

Folded arms across the chest


Walking to and fro with hands clasped behind

Frustration, Apprehension

Eyes downcast

Guilty, Boredom

Rubbing the eyes

Disbelief, Doubt

Rubbing the bridge of the nose

Uncertain, Rejection

Resting the head on the palms

Boredom, Despair

Head tilted to one side

Shows interest, Listening

Hands on the hips

Aggression, Authoritative

Brisk walking

Exudes confidence

Kicking your foot while walking or sitting

Signs of boredom

Sitting with hands behind the head and legs stretched

Relaxed, Confident and Thinking

Leaning forward

Displaying Interest

Tapping or drumming fingers


Steepling fingers


Biting nails Insecurity


Patting/fondling hair Lack of self

Confidence; insecurity


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