As human beings, we are always communicating; not only with words but also with signs
and behaviors. Nonverbal communication is a type of communication that does not involve
words. While using nonverbal communication people use different types of gestures, the study of
body gestures and emotions is called kinetics. There are five most representative types of body
gestures related to kinetics: emblems, illustrators, regulators, adaptors and affect.
Emblems consist in body movements that have a direct verbal translation and can stand
alone. While I was on my way to meet some friends at the beach, I was trying to park at South
Beach when I saw some pedestrian in the sidewalk. I decided to stop the car and let them cross
the streets. While crossing, they raised their hands in form of gratitude. They didn’t use words,
but I knew that signal meant thank you. It was not the only emblem sign that I could noticed
during the day. Once I parked, I saw a man taking pictures of a couple. After he took it, they
checked and they did the “ok” sing, as a way of approval.
Illustrators are gestures which accompany words to illustrate verbal message. During my
walked to the restaurant at the beach, I saw a woman who seems to be lost with a very young
woman that was giving her directions, but she was not only using words, but also used her hands
to point out the way that she should lead. I found my friends at the restaurant, when the waiter
asked us how many we were I point with my finger while counting.
Regulators are also gestures, that are primarily unintentional. They are body movements
that control, adjust and sustain the conversation. I was at the restaurant with my friends and right
next to us, I saw a couple and they seem to be fighting. The man was taking and the girl was not
saying anything but she was moving her eyes, and seems to show disapproval. On the other hand, a group setting in the back were having a lot of fun. One of the teenagers was telling a
story, while the others where nodding of the head, to indicate they were listening.
Adaptors are forms of nonverbal communication that include movements made with little
awareness. Involve gestures that make you feel more comfortable in a communication situation.
After we ate, I went to the restroom and as soon as I got back, I saw my boyfriend drumming the
fingers. Also, one of my friends was swinging his leg. Even though they did not say anything,
there body language gave me the impression that they wanted to leave as soon as they could.
Last, we have the affect displays. The affect are facial expressions motivated by emotion.
We decided to continue our day at the beach. We were walking down the boulevard, and I saw a
woman approaching with a big smile. She tried to convince us to get into the restaurant, she was
very kind, but we were not interested. We kept walking, and looked at a man with a frowny face,
he received a ticket and he wasn’t happy about it.
In conclusion, as social creatures we are always communicating with our bodies. The
study of nonverbal communication is called Kinetics. There are five typical types of body
gestures related to kinetics: emblems, illustrators, regulators, adaptors and affect. Most of the
time we used them unintentional, but if we observe people reactions, in my case at a public and
transited space (South Beach), you would notice that everyone around us used them constantly.