In the last ten years or so, much work has been done in this new field of personal communication. Basically body language concerns the message a person sends to others, either consciously or unconsciously, by the movement or placement of various parts of the body.

Now it is realized that many actions of the body, previously considered of no real significance, play an important part in interpersonal communication. It is of great interest that many such actions are not made deliberately, and the persons seeing them do not realize that they are being influenced by them. But the message is transmitted nonetheless.

A typical example is a man talking to another person and standing back a little with his arms folded in front of his chest. He is subconsciously setting his arms as a barrier between him and the other person. By these actions he is saying, "I am thinking about it. I am not ready to make a commitment." His position is speculative.

The same man may later reach a point in the encounter when his attitude is no longer speculative but becomes positive. He will then drop his arms and tend to lean toward the other person. He is now making a commitment.

The other person sees these actions, and they combine with and emphasize the actual words the man is saying. However the other person is usually not consciously aware of noting the actions.