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ESL Advanced Reading

Read the passage and answer the questions below.

Body Language

Studies show that over sixty percent of communication between people is nonverbal, though most people do not actively control their body language. Understanding the cues sent out by the position of the eyes, mouth, hands and stance can help anyone to achieve more efficient communication. It also helps to prevent miscommunication that can result when body language and words are not in sync. Communication constantly occurs through physical expression.
   Facial cues can greatly alter the meaning of an exchange between two people. Eye contact generally means openness, a willingness to listen and express ideas. Looking down is an invitation for the other person to speak. Looking to the side means that one is distracted and perhaps not listening. Looking up can mean that one is thinking, though it can also indicate distraction. The mouth position is similar. A relaxed jaw and mouth mean openness to the conversation. Biting a lip can mean hiding information. A stiff jaw can show a desire for control. Smiling without making eye contact can mean keeping information to oneself or avoiding a conflict. 
   Physical positioning of the body also carries weight in an exchange. Whether or not a person uses gestures when speaking can be a personality difference; however, some gestures are universal. The way a person shakes another's hand can indicate openness or dominance. A firm handshake that matches the other's hand-pressure indicates openness. A firm handshake that puts the other's hand in a downward position indicates dominance. Mirroring the hand positions of the other person (such as placing hands on the table or in one's lap) indicates a desire to be synchronous or a felt sense of harmony. Avoiding similar positioning indicates a desire for individuality or for an exchange of different and individual ideas. Standing directly in front of someone shows a desire for direct conversation or complete sharing, either positive or negative. Standing somewhat to the side shows desire for a more casual exchange. 
   Whether or not people are aware of their body language, the body communicates with others. Therefore, it is wise to understand body language cues and use them to one's advantage. 

Answer the questions:

1. Which of the following best expresses the main idea of this passage?

A. It is critical to be aware of one's body language when meeting people for the first time.
B. Most people do not realize how much they express with their body language.
C. Positions of key parts of the body, such as the eyes and hands, create nonverbal communication in any exchange between people.
D. Everyone needs to use body language with positive intention.
E. Whether or not people use body language, nonverbal communication carries more weight than verbal communication.

2. The author would likely agree with which of the following statements?

A. If you want to show that you are listening to another person, look the person in the eye.
B. If you want to show that you feel the same as another person, look the person in the eye.
C. If you want to invite the other person to speak, look to the side.
D. If you want to show that you are thinking over an idea, look down.
E. If you want to show that you are confused, look up.

3. We can infer from the passage that:

A. The author has experience with using body language incorrectly.
B. The author provides training courses in the wise and productive use of body language.
C. The author has researched body language using numerous sources.
D. The author believes in being aware of one's body language.
E. The author frequently tries to show harmony during interactions with other people.

4. Which of the following statements about body language is supported by the passage?

A. There are many aspects to body language from the position of the head to the position of the feet.
B. While most people are not aware of their body language, many people study the subject and become experts in the use of it.
C. Though the position of the eyes varies a great deal, there are only two stances that communicate between people. 
D. While many people prefer to communicate casually, it is very important to stand directly in front of people most of the time.
E. There is a different nonverbal meaning for each of these eye positions: eye contact, looking down, looking up and looking from side to side.

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Answers: 1. c, 2. a, 3. d, 4. e