Body-to-body communication occurs when two or more people communicate while physically present in the same area as opposed to communication by phone or over the Internet. While it is similar to face-to-face communication, body-to-body communication allows for the use of body language in addition to speech and facial expressions. Body-to-body communication also allows for complex interaction with the environment, which can serve as another form of nonverbal communication. Conversing over the phone and chatting on the Internet can be effective means of transmitting specific pieces of information or of keeping in touch over a significant distance; such methods cannot, however, transmit the vast body of information available from body language and environmental interaction.
Facial expressions are among the most important parts of body-to-body communication, as they can communicate a tremendous amount of information about one's emotions and responses to information and events in the environment. They are particularly important because of their universality, as almost all facial expressions in response to feelings such as hunger, happiness, pain, and surprise are shared across linguistic and cultural lines. Facial expressions can also be very useful for assessing emotional states and intentions, as anger, sadness, aggression, and other emotions can often be seen on one's face even if one's voice does not suggest such feelings.
The rest of the human body can also provide a great deal of information during body-to-body communication. An individual's basic stance and posture, for instance, can communicate information such as how he sees himself in relation to others or how comfortable he is in a given situation. Deliberate body language, such as gesturing with one's arms or counting on one's fingers, can also provide information that is not available through purely verbal communication. Furthermore, body-to-body communication often allows individuals to communicate through physical contact, which can be very powerful for exchanging ideas, intentions, and feelings.
There are many alternatives to body-to-body communication, but all tend to miss some aspect of the entire experience of human communication. Talking only through text, for instance, prevents any exchange of body language, facial expression, or even voice intonation. Phone conversations permit more complex communication through varied intonation and speech pacing, but still do not allow for any body language or environmental communication. Only body-to-body communication allows for the full complexity of human interaction through eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, physical contact, and environmental interaction. In some cases, these nonverbal interactions are even sufficient to render verbal communication unnecessary.