Now, before we can describe body language, we need to first be able to describe qualities of movement, and to do that, we’ll be using a modified version of Laban Movement Analysis:
– Direct and Indirect Intensity
– Sustained and Sudden Time
– Gentle and Forceful Weight
– Free and Bound Flow
– Bold and Yielding Conviction
– Masculine and Feminine Space
The first thing to note, is that each of these is a set of polarities, where neither opposite is necessarily better or worse than the other. Rather, they complement each other, and are used together to provide contrast to one another in order to empower the intended communication.
Now, instead of dragging you through a 48 slide PowerPoint presentation, I’ll explain this through a direct example. For this example, we’ll take you – yourself, in a few days’ time when of course you’ve become a body language expert after having read my posts. You’re at that amazing party that “present you” hasn’t quite been invited to yet.
We’ve all met that guy who tries to be ‘alpha’ and ‘dominant’, and who of course, copies none other than James Bond. He speaks slowly, in a forcibly low voice that is not only bores you, but makes you wonder why he’s trying so hard, and his movements are so overly controlled that they become stiff. Always chin up, always aloof. In his efforts to appear cool, he ends up losing all intensity. You’re left with a guy who is entirely unapproachable, and who essentially locks himself out of social interaction. Someone like Humphrey Bogart might have the best body language if you’re in the movies, pushing everyone away while everyone’s chasing you, but if you tried that in real life you’d be a grumpy dude all alone at the bar.
You’re not like that. With your newfound body language prowess, you know that where your heart points, your intensity points. So you stand at a 45 degree angle like a powerful Greek statue, pacing your speech to mesmerise the group. First catching their attention, and then slowing down to leave them hanging on your every word, before turning in to face the group – to spike it up with a moment of intensity. You’re not afraid to vary your voice tonality, so that when you downwardly inflect your voice tone with conviction at the end of each sentence, your point is given all the more strength by contrast. You expand, taking up space with your gestures, Free Flowing and effortless, as though you were catching up with an old friend.
So now the qualities of movement are in place, we can start to embed meaning into those movements to create a non-verbal language – a body language.
Get ready for part 3!