"The body and the brain, like an old rarely agree to say the same thing". Paul St.

Claire. (1964 - )



Body language is a form of non-verbal communication, consisting of body pose, gestures, and eye movements. It is often said that human communication consists of 93% body language while only 7% of communication consists of words themselves . Body language may provide cues as to the attitude or state of mind of a person. For example, it may indicate aggression, attentiveness, boredom, relaxed state, pleasure, amusement, besides many other cues. Physical Expression Physical expressions like waving, pointing, touching and slouching are all forms of nonverbal communication. The study of body movement and expression is known as kinesics. Humans move their bodies when communicating because, as research has shown it helps "ease the mental effort when communication is difficult." Physical expressions reveal many things about the person using them. Examples list • • • • • • • • Hands on knees: indicates readiness. Hands on hips: indicates impatience. Lock your hands behind your back: indicates self-control. Locked hands behind head: states confidence. Sitting with a leg over the arm of the chair: suggests indifference. Legs and feet pointed in a particular direction: the direction where more interest is felt Crossed arms: indicates submissiveness. Hand softly rubbing the other arm: indicates self-forced comfort.

How to Read Body Language Understanding body language is a skill that can enhance your life. You can know what a person thinks and feels by examining their subconscious body language. Following are the few steps to understand the body language.


1. Gauge how close someone is to you. The closer they are, the warmer their opinions
are of you. The farther away that someone is, the less they care. It is worth nothing that personal space is culturally fluid; be aware that what is considered close in one country is far away in another. Watch their head position. o Overly tilted heads are either a potential sign of sympathy, or if a man smiles while tilting his head, he is flirting. Alternatively, the person is trying to convince you of their honesty. o Lowered heads indicate a reason to hide something. Take note if someone lowers their head. If it is when he is complimented, he may be shy, ashamed, timid, keeping distance from the other person, in disbelief, or thinking to himself. If it is after an explanation, then he may be unsure if what he said was correct. Look into their eyes. o Liars will consecutively look at you and look away a number of times. You can actually learn specifically how to observe behavior to judge whether someone is lying. However, some liars will make more eye contact than usual in an attempt to make you believe they are telling you the truth.



4. See if they're mirroring you. Mirroring is another common gesture. If someone mirrors, 5.
or mimics your appearance, this is a very genuine sign that they are interested in you. Check their arms. o People with crossed arms are closing themselves to social influence. The worst thing that you can do to people with crossed arms is to challenge them in one way or another, no matter how they react. This annoys them. Though some people just cross their arms as a habit, it may indicate that the person is (slightly) reserved, uncomfortable with their weight (therefore trying to hide it), or just trying to hide something on their shirt. o If someone rests their arms behind their neck, they are open to what is being discussed and interested in listening more. They may be waiting to state their opinion on the matter. o Look at the location of their hands. If their hands are in their pockets, then they are more relaxed and are more likely to be attracted to you. Be aware of nervous gestures: o If someone brushes their hair back with their fingers, this may be preening, a common gesture if the person likes you, or their thoughts about something conflict with yours. They might not voice this. If you see raised eyebrows during this time, you can be pretty sure that they disagree with you. o If the person wears glasses, and is constantly pushing them up onto their nose again, with a slight frown, that may also indicate they disagree with what you are saying. o If someone is biting their lip, they are anticipating something or holding back. Or it could just be out of habit. Watch their feet: o A fast tapping, shifting of weight, or movement of the foot will most often mean that the person is impatient, excited, nervous, scared, or intimidated. o Slowly shifting weight usually means that someone is distracted, uncomfortable, or bored. How to Understand a Student's Body Language Steps 1. Look at their eyes. Are they dull and unfocused? If so, you are most likely boring them do death. Are they trained across the room? Follow their gaze. They may be trying to catch the eye of a friend. If a student is paying attention to you, their eyes will be focused on you. Their gaze may flick around, this is natural. 2. Evaluate their facial expression. 3. Evaluate their posture. Are they slouched over the desk? They may be trying not to fall asleep. A student paying attention will usually be sitting up, though almost no student sits poker straight. 4. Look at his or her legs. If his or her foot is tapping against the floor, he or she may be impatient with the lecture, conversation, or presentation (Or they may just have a Kinesthetic learning style). Leg position varies from student to student - some prefer to cross their legs, or to place them firmly on the floor. 5. Take clues from the environment. Look at the whole body of students. Do they appear to be interested? Or, as a whole, do they appear to be bored?



ways to improve your body language 1. Don’t cross your arms or legs – You have probably already heard you shouldn’t cross your arms as it might make you seem defensive or guarded. This goes for your legs too. Keep your arms and legs open. 2. Have eye contact, but don’t stare – If there are several people you are talking to, give them all some eye contact to create a better connection and see if they are listening. Keeping too much eye-contact might creep people out. Giving no eye-contact might make you seem insecure. If you are not used to keeping eye-contact it might feel a little hard or scary in the beginning but keep working on it and you’ll get used to it. 3. Don’t be afraid to take up some space – Taking up space by for example sitting or standing with your legs apart a bit signals self-confidence and that you are comfortable in your own skin. 4. Relax your shoulders – When you feel tense it’s easily winds up as tension in your shoulders. They might move up and forward a bit. Try to relax. Try to loosen up by shaking the shoulders a bit and move them back slightly. 5. Nod when they are talking – nod once in a while to signal that you are listening. But don’t overdo it and peck like Woody Woodpecker. 6. Don’t slouch, sit up straight – but in a relaxed way, not in a too tense manner. 7. Lean, but not too much – If you want to show that you are interested in what someone is saying, lean toward the person talking. If you want to show that you’re confident in yourself and relaxed lean back a bit. But don’t lean in too much or you might seem needy and desperate for some approval. Or lean back too much or you might seem arrogant and distant. 8. Smile and laugh – lighten up, don’t take yourself too seriously. Relax a bit, smile and laugh when someone says something funny. People will be a lot more inclined to listen to you if you seem to be a positive person. But don’t be the first to laugh at your own jokes, it makes you seem nervous and needy. Smile when you are introduced to someone but don’t keep a smile plastered on your face, you’ll seem insincere. 9. Don’t touch your face – it might make you seem nervous and can be distracting for the listeners or the people in the conversation. 10. Keep you head up – Don’t keep your eyes on the ground, it might make you seem insecure and a bit lost. Keep your head up straight and your eyes towards the horizon. 11. Slow down a bit – this goes for many things. Walking slower not only makes you seem more calm and confident, it will also make you feel less stressed. If someone addresses you, don’t snap you’re neck in their direction, turn it a bit more slowly instead. 12. Don’t fidget – try to avoid, phase out or transform fidgety movement and nervous ticks such as shaking your leg or tapping your fingers against the table rapidly. You’ll seem nervous and fidgeting can be a distracting when you try to get something across. Declutter your movements if you are all over the place. Try to relax, slow down and focus your movements.

13. Use your hands more confidently – instead of fidgeting with your hands and scratching your face use them to communicate what you are trying to say. Use your hands to describe something or to add weight to a point you are trying to make. But don’t use them to much or it might become distracting. And don’t let your hands flail around, use them with some control. 14. Lower your drink – don’t hold your drink in front of your chest. In fact, don’t hold anything in front of your heart as it will make you seem guarded and distant. Lower it and hold it beside your leg instead. 15. Realise where you spine ends – many people (including me until recently) might sit or stand with a straight back in a good posture. However, they might think that the spine ends where the neck begins and therefore crane the neck forward in a Montgomery Burns-pose. Your spine ends in the back of your head. Keep you whole spine straight and aligned for better posture. 16. Don’t stand too close –one of the things we learned from Seinfeld is that everybody gets weirded out by a close-talker. Let people have their personal space, don’t invade it. 17. Mirror – Often when you get along with a person, when the two of you get a good connection, you will start to mirror each other unconsciously. That means that you mirror the other person’s body language a bit. To make the connection better you can try a bit of proactive mirroring. If he leans forward, you might lean forward. If she holds her hands on her thighs, you might do the same. But don’t react instantly and don’t mirror every change in body language. Then weirdness will ensue. 18. Keep a good attitude – last but not least, keep a positive, open and relaxed attitude. How you feel will come through in your body language and can make a major difference.

Examples of Body Language Gesture Walking with hands in pockets, shoulders hunched Hand to cheek Touching, slightly rubbing nose Rubbing the eye Hands clasped behind back Arms crossed on chest Sitting, legs apart Sitting with legs crossed, foot kicking slightly Standing with hands on hips Brisk, erect walk Locked ankles Head resting in hand, eyes downcast Rubbing hands Sitting with hands clasped behind head, legs crossed Open palm Stroking chin Looking down, face turned away Biting nails Prolonged tilted head Pinching bridge of nose, eyes closed Tapping or drumming fingers Steepling fingers Quickly tilted head meaning Dejection Evaluation, thinking Rejection, doubt, lying Doubt, disbelief Anger, frustration, apprehension Defensiveness Open, relaxed Boredom Readiness, aggression Confidence Apprehension Boredom Anticipation Confidence, superiority Sincerity, openness, innocence Trying to make a decision Disbelief Insecurity, nervousness Boredom Negative evaluation Impatience Authoritative Interest

Thumbs-Up/Thumbs-Down As far as most in the Western world are concerned, thumbs-up is a sign of positivity, a signal that everything is okay, while thumbs-down signals disapproval or rejection. It is believed that the positive meaning of thumbs-up in the Western countries originated with World War II pilots, who gave that signal to the ground crew to show they were ready to take off. However, in certain countries, including many in Latin America, West Africa, Greece, Russia, Sardinia, the Middle East, and south Italy, thumbsup gestures are considered offensive. OK OK hand gestures are made by forming a circle with the thumb and index finger, while the other fingers are pointing upward. Americans and Brits use this gesture to let someone know things are going great. But some countries in Europe view this as a signal for “zero,” as in you think the person you are giving the hand gesture to is a zero. You may not want to use the A-OK symbol in Brazil, Germany, or certain Mediterranean countries as it means “anus” and carried bad connotations with it. The V Sign The V sign is formed by pointing up the index and middle finger, while curling the thumb and other fingers under with the palm towards the person. In America, this is the sign for “victory” (President Richard Nixon frequently used this symbol) or “peace” (from the Sixties counterculture movement). The I Love You Sign The I Love You sign is made by pointing the thumb, index, and pinky fingers out, while curling the two middle fingers under. This is the official symbol of I Love You in American Sign Language, however in Italy; this hand gesture is often used to curse someone.

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