Early humans relied heavily on nonverbal communication. As languages developed, they became the primary communication tool but the significance of nonverbal communication never really reduced.

Over the years, sociologists have observed that human beings exchange a large amount of information through gestures and body language, the two primary modes of nonverbal communication.

At the core, gestures are symbolic actions that utilize parts of the body to convey specific messages. The importance of gestures in communication is emphasized by the fact that, with appropriate gestures and body language, one can capture the listener’s attention and convey a positive impression, or even offend a large number of people.

What Are The Gestures In Body Language?

Nonverbal communication can be carried out through gestures and other aspects of body language, which are consciously or unconsciously executed. Both body language and gestures can communicate thoughts, feelings, suggestions, and a range of other information.

What Are Gestures?

Gestures are overt and observable movements or actions using various parts of the body. They may involve the use of a single body part like the wagging of a finger or a nod, or multiple body parts at the same time, like gesticulating with both hands or using the hand and the head together.

Body Gestures

Body language is a mix of gestures, postures, and mannerisms to communicate nonverbally. Gestures and postures say a lot more than you think. For instance, a straight posture can indicate confidence and interest in the topic a speaker is discussing. On the other hand, a yawn by a person in the audience can indicate disinterest.

Importance Of Body Language And Gestures In Communication

Psychology professor Albert Mehrabian has elaborated upon the importance of gestures in communication. According to him, only 7% of emphasis is placed on verbal communication, whereas a whopping 93% of information is derived through nonverbal communication such as body language and gestures.

Appropriate hand gestures in body language can emphasize your opinion or perspective and can be very useful for public speaking, interpersonal communication as well as official presentations. They effectively capture the listeners’ attention and keep them involved in the content of the communication.

According to multiple social findings, body gestures and body postures can communicate whether the listener is receptive, accepting, open or is resisting the message conveyed.

Gestures In Communication

Every professional field or social context demands some kind of communication, and every communication is made more effective using gestures. The body gestures, more often than not, convey messages in a non-verbal, semi-conscious manner. A listener may take back a positive impression without a conscious explanation for it, thanks to gestures in body language.

Hand gestures in body language can communicate approval or disapproval. Take a thumbs up, for instance, which is a widely used hand gesture to convey a ‘good to go’ signal. Some other hand gestures such as ‘namaste’ are more specific to social context and can be used in some parts of the world for the most effective communication.

Gestures in communication can be emphatic (communicating emotions and feelings), descriptive (describing events of situations), suggestive (mere indications of mood and impressions), and prompting (acting as quick directives or instructions). The use of the right kind of gestures can reduce the effort and time of communication while ensuring that the message is conveyed clearly, concisely, and effectively.

Whether it is the first day at college, an important job interview, or an international conference, gestures in communication can be used independently or paired with other modes of communication to give the desired impression to the audience.

Body language and gestures play an important part in any individual’s professional as well as personal life.

If you are looking to improve your body language and gestures to up your professional game, sign up for Harappa Education’s Building Presence course. Learn all about nonverbal cues like body language and gestures, how to build a brand and the TEA (Trust, Emotional Intelligence and Authenticity) Skills framework. This course will help you in understanding a person.


Explore topics such as Body Language, Types of Body Language, How to Improve Body Language, and Examples of Body Language as from our Harappa Diaries blog section and communicate information effectively.

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