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Body Language:

Research has shown that when we communicate with others, only 7% of our feelings
are conveyed with words, 38% of what we communicate is through our tone of voice and an
amazing 55% is by using body language.

Body language is what we say to one another without the use of words. This non-
verbal communication can come in several forms: body position, eye contact, facial
expressions, physical appearance, touch and space

Body Position - the location of the arms, legs and hands as well as the manner of
sitting or standing can tell you a lot. For example, crossed arms often indicts
defensiveness and the desire to be more removed; a sitting person leaning forward is
a sign of friendliness and interest.

Eye Contact - eyes can reveal moods and feelings as well as intentions and interest.
For example, if a person is having a one-on-one conversation, yet is looking around
and not at the person to whom he or she is speaking, it might tell you that the sender
is more interested in something else.

Facial Expressions - our expressions also send a message. For example, raised
eyebrows could mean disbelief, questions, shock. A frown usually indicates
displeasure, yet a smile usually expresses agreement and pleasure.

Physical Appearance - the manner in which one dresses tells a little about his or her
personality and character. In addition, the items a person carries by choice can also
aid in determining personality traits. someone who always carries a briefcase may be
characterized as serious and work-oriented. Shorts and tank top expresses carefree
and informality.

Touch - the manner in which one person touches another can reveal a great deal
about his or her character. For example a light tap on the shoulder is apologetic,
while a firm hand on the shoulder is demanding. A firm handshake often hints of a
strong-willed and straight forward individual.

Space - the distance a person keeps while talking is a good indication of his or her
openness and sociability. We all have a comfort space that we like to keep around
us. For example, if someone stands too closely when speaking, invading that space, it
is often interpreted as a hostile and forceful communication.

By keeping aware of the body language of those around you, your ability to assess
their message will be greatly increased. The listeners body language will help you monitor
your delivery of an idea or message. One additional thing to remember. Your body
language gives you an indication of your motives and meanings--be sure to monitor your
own non-verbal cues.

Body Language Messages

There are a lot subtle hints that can help you when presenting. Lets have a look
at these body movements and see if you know what they are likely to mean.
Please remember not every body movement is universal.

Body signal What it means

Picking lint

Touching the Neck

Shifting from foot to

Rubbing the back of the
Standing with arms
Standing with one hand
on hip
Inspecting fingernails or
looking at a watch
A lack of eye contact


Excessive hand
Biting of fingernails

Chewing of the inside of

the mouth
Drying up of the mouth

An open palmed hand

spread wide
Pacing The Room

Lifting or removing
Shaking the head from
side to side
Nodding head up and
down or from side to

Tip: If you are a nervous presenter, then keep your hands behind your back.
That way if your hands are fidgeting then people will not notice, as your
confidence grows you will be able to use your hands to enhance your message.

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Teachers Notes

This is what the body language means in Western society, remember that they
maybe false indicators. For example they may have an itch or their eyes may

1. Picking lint: If someone picks imaginary lint from their clothes while
looking down towards the floor, it can mean that they disapprove and feel
constrained about giving their point of view.
2. Touching the Neck If a girl fancies a guy she rubs or touches her neck
frequently. She also lifts her head so that more of her neck is exposed,
particularly when she is actively flirting. If you watch people at parties
you'll see them doing it.
3. Shifting from foot to foot: This shows that you're worrying about getting
found out! Also, it indicates that you want to go somewhere else to get
away so that no guilty expressions are spotted - eg looking out the door,
backing up towards the door, half-facing the person and half-facing the
door, etc.
4. Rubbing the back of the head: This demonstrates that you're comforting
yourself when saddened. It also shows impatience.
5. Standing with arms crossed: This shows a sense of being 'closed'. It can
also show anger, stubborness and assertiveness.
6. Standing with one hand on hip: This is the opposite to the above. It's
suggestive of 'openness'. It is a flirty, sexy gesture.
7. Inspecting fingernails or looking at a watch: Plain and simple, this
indicates boredom or vanity.
8. A lack of eye contact - lying
9. Sweating - lying
10. Excessive hand movements - lying
11. Biting of fingernails - lying
12. Chewing of the inside of the mouth - lying
13. Drying up of the mouth lying
14. An open palmed hand spread wide - an appeal to the audience
15. Pacing The Room - nervous
16. Lifting or removing glasses A realisation of the importance of the point
17. Shaking the head from side to side disagreement
18. Nodding head up and down or from side to side
Up and down US & Northern Europe
Tilting forward, never back Southern Italy
Side to side - India

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Module : Job Search

Topic: Body Language During Conversation and Job Interviews

Competency: Students will demonstrate skills essential for a job interview

Length: One class period

Objective: Students will be able to:

1. Identify the differences between good body language and bad body language
during conversation and job interviews.
2. Identify the differences between good body language and bad body language
when taking instructions or receiving criticism from a supervisor (or teacher).
3. Practice good body language during a conversation and job interview.

Materials: None

Description of Activity:

Teacher Notes:
This topic will mainly involve modeling and role-playing. Begin the lesson by
talking about the importance of how one looks on the outside during interactions
with others. If a person looks uninterested during a conversation, he will have a
hard time making and keeping friends. If a person looks angry or annoyed when her
boss tells her to do something, her boss may think she has a bad attitude. It is
helpful to video-tape role-plays so that students can view their body language
during conversations and job interviews and make improvements.

1. Model both bad and good body language during a conversation. Have the
students try to identify whether you have good or bad body language. Good
body language involves keeping good personal space, making eye contact,
sitting or standing up straight, and looking interested by nodding
occasionally to show that you are paying attention. When you are doing the
bad role-play, do only one thing wrong (stare at the floor, turn body side-
ways, scowl, fidget, rock back and forth, cross arms, slouch, clench your fists,
bite your nails, play with your hair, etc.), and see if the students can identify
what you are doing wrong. Think of as many annoying habits as possible so
that you can discuss them with the students. Many of these are signs that
youre nervous or unsure of yourself. Remind students that when speaking,
they should use their hands in a relaxed, confident way and not to express
them selves in big, broad movements.

2. Repeat the same process above for both bad and good body language when
the teacher is giving instructions such as homework or announcing a test. It
may even be discussing with the student how to improve their performance in
class or some other area that needs improving. Again, have the students try
to identify whether you have good or bad body language.
3. Instruct students on good body language during conversation and when
teachers are giving orders. Have the students practice the skills in role-plays.
The components of good body language during spoken communication mainly
involve not doing the bad things mentioned above. But, it is important to talk
about the following since these are important aspects of a good interview (the
job interview is covered in another lesson plan. These skills are important for
communication as well as a job interview):
Eye contact look at the person the majority of the time.
Keep still don't fidget, rock back and forth, play with hair or clothes.
Personal space it is hard to talk when you are 10 feet apart, but you
do not want to be 6 inches apart either. Generally, 2-3 feet is a
comfortable distance for most people.
Posture sitting up straight or even leaning toward the speaker lets
the person know you are interested. When you slouch, it is not showing
good manners and it tells the speaker that you are more interested in
relaxing or maybe falling asleep than listening.
4. Have students practice introducing themselves to each other.
Make eye contact right away.
Be sure to smile as you introduce yourself
Extend your hand, and shake hands firmly.
Practice the handshake with others to ensure that you have a firm
handshake. Your handshake shouldnt be limp or crushing.

Students are observed using the appropriate body language for conversations
and job interviews.
Interpreting Gestures
Most gestures using body language and paralanguage are quite important and can be
used to send signals between the sender and receiver. They can be grouped into three
categories that resemble a traffic signal.

Gestures Possible Meanings

arms folded on chest not going to listen

clutched jaw RED antagonism
fists clenched defensiveness
running fingers through hair STOP frustration
sharp signs The sender has furiousness or boredom
tapping on table lost the receiver impatience

hand over mouth doubtful

frown YELLOW displeasure
raised eyebrow disbelief
clearing throat SLOW DOWN nervousness
picking fingernails The receiver is seeking reassurance
pinching bridge of nose seeing fog and concern
stroking chin getting lost stalling for time

uncrossed legs open to agreement

open hands, palms up
GREEN sincere, open
cock the head interested
sitting on edge of chair GO ready to accept
eye contact The receiver is weighing proposal
mouth/chin relaxed open and considering ideas
nodding willing to hear agreeing

Paralanguage is verbal language that can have meaning,but it is not words.
Examples: sighing, clearing throat, yawning, clicking tongue, etc.