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Buna dimineata, astazi am ales sa fiu fericit, alege si tu intre fericire si tri stete.........

Good morning, today I chose to be happy, chose and you beetwin to be happy or sa d........ home about/terms contact index site map

related materials business networking emotional intelligence (EQ) empathy and listening types job interviews - tips, techniques, questions, answers ladder theory - male/female relations leadership tips meetings - planning and running personality theories, models and types presentations - creating and giving See alphabetical index for more concepts, ideas and resources. See updates and additions archive for more materials. See site map for materials in helpful categories. See the businessballs community for more materials, sharing, publishing, promoti ng, connecting, etc. home » writing/communicating » body language body language how to read body language signs and gestures - non-verbal communications - male and female, for work, social, dating, and mating relationships Body Language - technically known as kinesics (pronounced 'kineesicks') - is a s ignificant aspect of modern communications and relationships. Body Language is therefore very relevant to management and leadership, and to al l aspects of work and business where communications can be seen and physically o bserved among people. Body language is also very relevant to relationships outside of work, for exampl e in dating and mating, and in families and parenting. Communication includes listening. In terms of observable body language, non-verb al (non-spoken) signals are being exchanged whether these signals are accompanie d by spoken words or not. Body language goes both ways: Your own body language reveals your feelings and meanings to others.

Other people's body language reveals their feelings and meanings to you. The sending and receiving of body language signals happens on conscious and unco nscious levels. (N.B. US and UK-English spellings, e.g., 'ize' and 'ise' are used in this page t o allow for different searching preferences. Please feel free to change these ac cording to your local requirements when using these materials.)

body language index introduction and basics body language definitions background and history nature or nurture? body language and evolution universal facial expressions reading and analyzing body language body language signals and meanings :eyes mouth head arms hands handshakes legs and feet personal space

mirroring (synchronizing) body language seating positions and arrangements body language - examples of cultural differences flirting, courtship, dating and mating body language - male and female glossary - main body language terms body language references and books other audible signals

body language warning Body language is not an exact science. No single body language sign is a reliable indicator. Understanding body language involves the interpretation of several consistent si gnals to support or indicate a particular conclusion. Skip the background theory and history, and go straight to the body language signals and meanings.

body language - basics and introduction Body language is a powerful concept which successful people tend to understand w ell. So can you. The study and theory of body language has become popular in recent years because psychologists have been able to understand what we 'say' through our bodily ges tures and facial expressions, so as to translate our body language, revealing it s underlying feelings and attitudes. Body Language is also referred to as 'non-verbal communications', and less commo nly 'non-vocal communications'. The term 'non-verbal communications' tends to be used in a wider sense, and all these terms are somewhat vague. For the purposes of this article, the terms 'body language' and 'non-verbal comm unications' are broadly interchangeable. This guide also takes the view that bod y language/non-verbal communications is the study of how people communicate face -to-face aside from the spoken words themselves, and in this respect the treatme nt of the subject here is broader than typical body language guides limited mere ly to body positions and gestures. If you carry out any serious analysis or discussion you should clarify the termi nology in your own way to suit your purposes. For example: Does body language include facial expression and eye movement? - Usually, yes. What about breathing and perspiration? - This depends on your definition of body language. And while tone and pitch of voice are part of verbal signals, are these part of body language too? - Not normally, but arguably so, especially as you could igno re them if considering only the spoken words and physical gestures/expressions. There are no absolute right/wrong answers to these questions. It's a matter of i nterpretation. A good reason for broadening the scope of body language is to avoid missing impo rtant signals which might not be considered within a narrow definition of body l anguage. Nevertheless confusion easily arises if definitions and context are not properly established, for example: It is commonly and carelessly quoted that 'non-verbal communications' and/or 'bo dy language' account for up to 93% of the meaning that people take from any huma n communication. This statistic is actually a distortion based on Albert Mehrabi an's research theory, which while itself is something of a cornerstone of body l anguage research, certainly did not make such a sweeping claim. Mehrabian's research findings in fact focused on communications with a strong em

otional or 'feelings' element. Moreover the 93% non-verbal proportion included v ocal intonation (paralinguistics), which are regarded by many as falling outside of the body language definition. Care must therefore be exercised when stating specific figures relating to perce ntages of meaning conveyed, or in making any firm claims in relation to body lan guage and non-verbal communications. It is safe to say that body language represents a very significant proportion of meaning that is conveyed and interpreted between people. Many body language exp erts and sources seem to agree that that between 50-80% of all human communicati ons are non-verbal. So while body language statistics vary according to situatio n, it is generally accepted that non-verbal communications are very important in how we understand each other (or fail to), especially in face-to-face and one-t o-one communications, and most definitely when the communications involve an emo tional or attitudinal element. Body language is especially crucial when we meet someone for the first time. We form our opinions of someone we meet for the first time in just a few seconds , and this initial instinctual assessment is based far more on what we see and f eel about the other person than on the words they speak. On many occasions we fo rm a strong view about a new person before they speak a single word. Consequently body language is very influential in forming impressions on first m eeting someone. The effect happens both ways - to and from: When we meet someone for the first time, their body language, on conscious and u nconscious levels, largely determines our initial impression of them. In turn when someone meets us for the first time, they form their initial impres sion of us largely from our body language and non-verbal signals. And this two-way effect of body language continues throughout communications and relationships between people. Body language is constantly being exchanged and interpreted between people, even though much of the time this is happening on an unconscious level. Remember - while you are interpreting (consciously or unconsciously) the body la nguage of other people, so other people are constantly interpreting yours. The people with the most conscious awareness of, and capabilities to read, body language tend to have an advantage over those whose appreciation is limited larg ely to the unconscious. You will shift your own awareness of body language from the unconscious into the conscious by learning about the subject, and then by practising your reading of non-verbal communications in your dealings with others.

body language is more than body positions and movements Body language is not just about how we hold and move our bodies. Body language potentially (although not always, depending on the definition you choose to apply) encompasses: how we position our bodies our closeness to and the space between us and other people (proxemics), and how

this changes our facial expressions our eyes especially and how our eyes move and focus. and the signals in others that we observe. The human body and our instinctive reactions have evolved to an amazingly clever degree. volume. are typically excluded from many genera l descriptions of body language. It's based on scientific fact . The me taphor which describes the eyes of two lovers meeting across a crowded room is n ot only found in old romantic movies. voice type is always important to consider alongside the usual bod y language factors.contribute greatly to mutual assessment and understa nding. is ins tinctive. Doing so gives us a significant advantage in life . aside from the bare words themselves. etc. Our interpretation of body language. but are certainly part of the range of non-verb al bodily actions and signals which contribute to body language in its fullest s ense. pauses. for instance. of our voice. etc. pens. Similarly breathing and heartbeat. and with a little thought and knowledge we can significantly increase our conscious awareness of these signals: both the signals we transmit.and similar powerful examples . pitch. Arguably this last point should be encompassed by body language. variation. and intonation.and th eir reactions to our eyes . Voice type and other audible signals are typically not included in body language because they are audible 'verbal' signals rather than physical visual ones. understanding body language enables better self-awareness and selfcontrol too. . Body language is not just reading the signals in other people. which many of us ignore or take for granted. our eyes are a vital aspect of our body language. nev ertheless the way the voice is used is a very significant (usually unconscious) aspect of communication. for example our heart beat and perspiration Body language tends not to include: the pace. etc how we touch ourselves and others how our bodies connect with other non-bodily things.professionally and personall y . etc . These effects . cigaret tes. Importantly. More obviously.have existed in real human exper ience and behaviour for thousands of years.movement. notably eyes and facial expressions. spectacles and clothing our breathing. Our reactions to other people's eyes . expression. and which we can all learn how to recognize more clearly if we try. consciously and unconsciously. because a lot h appens here which can easily be missed if we consider merely the spoken word and the traditional narrow definition of body language or non-verbal communications . focus. massive feeling can be conveyed in a single glance. With no words at all..in our dealings with others. Consequently.. and other less noticeable physical effects.the strong powers of non-verbal communications.

Body language certainly also includes very small bodily movements such as facial expressions and eye movements.) In this respect. through: body posture. pulse. movement. and we also under stand more about these things in ourselves. blood-pressure. and moods.the conscious and unconscious movements and postures by which attitudes and feelings are communicated [for example]: his intent was clea rly expressed in his body language. physical state. perspiration.the process of communicating what you are feeling or thi nking by the way you place and move your body rather than by words [for example] : The course trains sales people in reading the customer's body language.depends on the interpretation of 'non-verbal communication': "kinesics . and what we achieve. body language definitions As explained.noun . When we understand body language we become better able to refine and improve wha t our body says about us.noun . A ppropriately and interestingly the Oxford Business English Dictionary emphasizes the sense that body language can be used as a tool. attitudes. rather than it being an inv oluntary effect with no particular purpose: "body language . . which generates a positive improvement in the way we f eel." Body language is more than those brief descriptions. Body language certainly also encompasses where the body is in relation to other bodies (often referred to as 'personal space'). blushing.the study of the way in which certain body movements and gestures se rve as a form of non-verbal communication. etc. Body language also arguably covers all that we communicate through our bodies ap art from the spoken words (thereby encompassing breathing. facial expression and eye movement. what might we regard it to be. We could define body language more fully as: "Body language is the unconscious and conscious transmission and interpretation of feelings. standard dictionary definitions don't always describe body lang uage fully and properly. the terms body language and non-verbal communications are rather v ague.the technical term for body language . if w e are to make the most of studying and using it? The Oxford English Dictionary (revised 2005) definition is: "body language ." The Oxford Business English Dictionary offers a slightly different definition.We understand more about other people's feelings and meanings. position and relationship to other bodie s." The OED dictionary definition of kinesics . the way we perform. So what is body language? And more usefully. objects and surroundings.

reflecting the evolutionary origins of much human non-verbal communication . The first known experts to consider aspects of body language were probably the a ncient Greeks. Being able to 'read' body language therefore helps us greatly: to know how people feel and what they mean. for example Fra ncis Bacon in Advancement of Learning.rarely reflect full or true meaning and motive. John Bulwer's Natural History of the Hand pu blished in 1644. and the Romans. Much of this early interest was in refining ideas about oration . including body language. We find clues to additional or true meaning in body language. is an over-arching science which continues to clarify the understa nding of body language. Desmond Morris. Where ethology considers animal evolution and communications. Charles Darwin in the late 1800s could be regarded as the earliest expert to hav e made serious scientific observation about body language. through their interest in huma n personality and behaviour. . lik e psychology." Words alone .(and this transmission and interpretation can be quite different to the spoken w ords). mood and personality for thousands of years. deeper than the words we hear ourselves saying. but only in living memory has the study of body language become as sophisticated and detailed as it is today.especially emotional words (or words used in emotional situations) .background and history Philosophers and scientists have connected human physical behaviour with meaning . and (often overlooked) to understand ourselves better. it relates strongly to human body language.and society's growing acceptance of evolutionary rath er than creationist theory. is an ethologist. Body language studies and written works on the subject are very sparse until the mid-1900s. but there seems littl e substantial development of ideas for at least the next 150 years. body language . 1605. Darwin's work pioneered much ethological thinking. Austrian zoologist and 1973 Nobel Prizewinner Konrad Lorenz (1903-89) was a founding figure in ethology. Ethologists have progressively applied their findings to human behavi our. author of T he Naked Ape. and to understand better how people might be perceiving our own non-verbal signals. relating gestures t o feelings and communications. discussed below. as is the evolutionary biologis t Richard Dawkins (b. considered hand gestures.given its significance to leadership and govern ment. notably Cicero. Ethology began as the science of animal behaviour. explored gestures as reflection or extension of spoken communications.speech-making . notably Hippocrates and Aristotle. Isolated studies of body language appeared in more recent times. Ethology. 1941) a leading modern thinker in the field. It became properly established during the early 1900s and increasingly extends to human behaviour and social organization. Gilbert Austin's Chironomia in 1806 l ooked at using gestures to improve speech-making.

meaning motion. linked human behaviour . Hall. Freud and similar psy choanalysts and psychologists of that time were focused on behaviour and therape utic analysis rather than the study of non-verbal communications per se. Morris's popularity in the late 1960s and 1970s contribu ted significantly to the increasing interest among people beyond the scientific community . Physiognomy refe rs to facial features and expressions which were/are said indicate the person's character or nature. Kinesics (pronounced 'kineesicks' with stress on the 'ee') is the modern scienti fic or technical word for body language. 1971. The word physiognomy is derived from medieval Latin. Mehrabian. and earlier Greek (phusiogn ominia). which is arguably one part of body language for which quite early 'scientific' thinking can be traced : Physiognomy is an obscure and related concept to body language.much of it concerned with communications . All except one of Julius Fast's cited w orks are from the 1950s and 1960s. Morris. albeit not recognised as such then. Significantly the references in Julius Fast's book (Birdwhistell.to human ' animalistic' evolution. etc . A different view of human behaviour related to and overlapping body language. and speci fically his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. deriving from the Greek word kinesis. Sigmund Freud and others in the field of psychoanalysis . su rfaced strongly in Desmond Morris's 1967 book The Naked Ape.would have had good awareness of many aspects of body language. The ancient roots of this con cept demonstrate that while body language itself is a recently defined system of analysis. which is commonly regarded as the beginnings of the body language science. His work remains a popular and controversial perspective for understanding people's behaviours.The popular and accessible study of body language as we know it today is very re cent.. Scheflen.for a better understanding of how and why we feel and act and commun icate.see body language references and books below) indica te the freshness of the subject in 1971. The word kinesics was first used in English in this sense in the 1950s. but they did not focus on non-verbal communications conc epts or develop body language theories in their own right. The exception among Fast's contemporary influences was Charles Darwin.. a British zoologist and ethologist . or ethnic origin. His book Body Language was among the first to bring the subject to a mainstream audience. written in 1 872." Julius Fast was an American award winning writer of fiction and non-fiction work dealing especially with human physiology and behaviour.. which originally meant (the art or capability of) judging a person's na ture from his/her facial features and expressions.. in cluding personal space. An important aspect of body language is facial expression.kin esics [body language] is still so new as a science that its authorities can be c ounted on the fingers of one hand.in the late 1800s and early 1900s . and while his theories did not focus str ongly on body language. and seems to have first been used by Dr Ray Birdwhistell. and in follow-up bo oks such as Intimate Behaviour. In his popular 1971 book 'Body Language'. the notion of inferring human nature or character from facial express ion is extremely old. Julius Fast (1919-2008) wrote: ". an American 1950s researcher and writer on body language . Goffman.

are all different perspectives and attempts to unlo ck and develop people's potential using ideas centred around kinaesthetics. as d istinct from the more tangible and easily measurable areas of facts. which in one way is a pity. is r elated to some of the principles of body language. and therefore body language. due to evolutionary theory. the concepts of experiential learning. kinesics) . figures wor ds and logic. Proxemics is the technical term for the personal space aspect of body language. The communications concepts of NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) and Transactio nal Analysis are closely dependent on understanding body language. Bloom's Taxonomy.encompassing facial expressio ns and personal space . For example. Body language is among many branches of science and education which seek to inte rpret and exploit messages and meaning from the 'touchy-feely' side of life. the precise mixture of genetic (inherited) and environmental (learn ed or conditioned) influences is not known. Bruner and Taguiri's (see references) opposing views . The introduction of a new technical word . Neither word seems to have caught on in a big way. after thirty years of research. body language . meaning closeness or nearness. games and exercises. in li fe and work today. The word was devised in the late 1950s or early 1960s by Edward Twitchell Hall. This is not to be confused with the ancient and same wo rd kine. which supports the as sertion that the modern concept of body language . (See personal space. and Kolb's Learning Styles are also helpful perspectives in ap preciating the significance of kinaesthetics. and lov e and spirituality at work . meaning a group of cows. NLP especiall y. in terms of conveying meaning and information via physical movement and experience.nature or nurture? Body language is part of human evolution. but as with many other aspects of huma n behaviour. . especially regarding facial expressions.in the early 1950s. an American anthropologist. The Greek word kinesis is also a root word of kinaesthetics. which is the 'K' in the VAK ('see hear feel') learning styles model. Kinaesthetics (also known as kinesthetics) in the study of learning styles. but in another way probably makes matters simpl er for anyone interested in the body language of cows. These and similar methodologies do not necessarily reference body language direc tly.did not exist until the 1950s. and opinions vary.generally comes after the establishment of the subject it describes. but there are very strong inter-connections. Ray Birdwhistell coined the term kine to refer to a sing le body language signal.. (See references). To emphasise th e shifting debate he cited for example: Darwin's belief that human facial expressions were similar among humans of all c ultures. The word is Hall's adaptation of the word proximity. they largely rejected the notion that facial expressi ons were inborn. Julius Fast noted this.) From the word kinesics.(in this case.

are now generally accepted to be environmentally determined (learned. and partly learned or conditioned. The situation is made more complex when one considers the genetic (inherited) ca pability or inclination to learn body language. (See the 'other audible signals' section.and Ekman. rat her than inherited). body language and evolution The evolutionary perspectives of body language are fascinating. Body language is partly genetic (inborn .'nurture') . The need to understand what lies behind the mask obviously increases according to the importance of the relationship.studies 'prov ing' genetic or environmental cause .in 1969. we can be certain that body language (namely the conscious and uncon scious sending and receiving of non-verbal signals) is partly inborn.body language often . Body language is part 'nature' and part 'nurture'. The discussion has continued in a similar vein to the modern day . having di scovered consistent emotional-facial recognition across widely diverse cultural groups. in terms of its purpose and how it is exploited. For various reasons people intentionally and frequently mask their true feelings . deceive. and pretend. which is significantly dependent on local society groups an d cultures.) In summary. humans try to imagine wh at another person has in their mind.for one aspect of body language or another. Body language helps us to manage and guard against these tendencies.hugely so in certain aspec ts of body language . and aspects of personal space dist ances. Is this nature or nurture? It's both. Friesan and Sorensen's findings (see references) . if only to a small degree in some folk.and partly environmental (conditioned/learned . Other body language is certainly not.) In expectation of these 'masking' tendencies in others. Some body language is certainly genetically inherited and consistent among all h umans. Human beings tend to lie.'nature' or 'nurture' . and also significantly especially in flirting/dating/mating rituals . or the winking of an eye). (Transactional Analysis theory is very useful in understanding more about this . which supported Darwin's evolutionary-centred ideas. It's in our nature t o do this. The use and recognition of certain fundamental facial expressions are now genera lly accepted to be consistent and genetically determined among all humans regard less of culture. However the use and recognition of less fundamental physical gestures (hand move ments for example.'nature') . Certain vocal intonation speech variations (if body language is extended to cove r everything but the spoken words) also fall within this environmentally determi ned category. which in turn feeds back into the purpose of bo dy language at conscious and unconscious levels. manipulate.

Aside from gender differences. the six universal facial expressions . Before these times.to know whether to trust or defend or attack. Were these factors not in our genes. Thus. Body language has evolved in spite of human awareness and conscious intelligence : rather like a guardian angel. the real life 'Horse Whisperer' is a good exam ple. Body language. Humans have also learned to read the body language of animals (and vice-versa). Women tend to have more empathic sensitivity than men. horse-riders and animal trainers throughout time and still today ha ve good capabilities in reading animal body language. although humans almost certainly had greater skills in this area a long time ago . if only because no other language existed. and protecting us from threats. but their body language capabilities generally co ntinue typically to be stronger than the male of the species. Earlier than this. women tend t o be able to employ body language (for sending and interpreting signals) more ef fectively than men. Females might not be so physical ly vulnerable in modern times. Monty Roberts. which naturally aids body language awareness and capabilities. explorers and tribal leaders had to be able to read the body language of potential foes . and controlling their own signals.recognized around the world It is now generally accepted that certain basic facial expressions of human emot ion are recognized around the world . Early natural exponents of interpreting body language were for example the poker players of the American Wild West. we would not be here today. This is perhaps a feature of evolutionary survival. The winners had not only to be handy with a six-shooter. are in our genes.. While there have been found to be minor variations and differences among obscure . Shepherds. our cavemen ancestors certainly needed to read body language.and that the use and recognition of these expressions is genetically inherited rather than socially conditioned or learned .helps people to communicate and resolve relationship issues when conscious beha viour and speech fails to do so. body language can help take care of us. While the importance of body language in communications and management. ha s become a popular interest and science in the last few decades. connecti ng us to kindred souls. and the reading of non-verbal communications and feelings. etc. since females needed good body language skills to reduce their physical vulnerability to males and the co nsequential threat to life. which for many extends to the human variety. men and women with strong empathic sensitivity (typically right-ba sal or rear brain bias) tend to be better at picking up body language signals. but also skilled in reading other people's non-verbal signals. limb and offspring. On which point: Women tend to have better perception and interpretation of body language than me n. Katherine Benziger's theories of brain types and thinking styles provides useful additional perspective. human beings ha ve relied on body language instinctively in many ways for many thousands of year s.

Paul E kman. published in 1872. rather than scientific test.e. rather than being defensive. given that th e human body is said to be capable of producing 700..i. Perhaps infinitely so. rather than concealin g a lie.e. and es sentially proved that Darwin was right .ly isolated tribes-people.000 different movements (Har tland and Tosh. (with Sorenson and Friesen . This book incidentally initiall y far outsold The Origin of Species. rather than being tired . based on experience and observation.that certain facial expressions and man's ability to recognize them ar e inborn and universal among people. As with other behavioural sciences. 2001 . such was its wide (and controversial) appea l at the time.or disbelieving. Someone scratching their nose might actually have an itch.. We should expect to s ee this effect continuing and providing more solid science for body language the ory. much of which remains empirical.see references). and not dependent on social learning or conditi oning. or upset. genetically inherited.see references) conducted and published exten sive studies with people of various cultures to explore the validity of Darwin's theory . for example: Someone rubbing their eye might have an irritation. that the use and recognition of f acial expressions to convey certain basic human emotions is part of human evolve d nature. . Someone with crossed arms might be keeping warm. recognized. and body movement. Ekman's work notably included isolated trib es-people who could not have been influenced by Western media and images. In the 1960s a Californian psychiatrist and expert in facial expressions. Some 'body language' isn't what it seems at all. but th e subject is potentially immensely complex. Darwin's assertions about genetically inherited facial expressions remained the subject of much debate for many years. Given the potential for confusion. here are some considerations when analysing b ody language: context Body language also depends on context: body language in a certain situation migh t not mean the same in another. the following basic human emotions are generally used . feelings and thoughts. This dramatically accelerated the research and understanding into connections be tween the brain. body language analysis Body language is instinctively interpreted by us all to a limited degree. i. the study of body language benefited from th e development of brain-imaging technology in the last part of the 20th century. and part of humankind's genetic character: These emotional face expressions are: Happiness Sadness Fear Disgust Surprise Anger Charles Darwin was first to make these claims in his book The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals.

especially for signals which can mean two or more quite different things. A confident firm handshake. but sometimes more consis tently. adopt more modest postures. Personal space preferences (distances inside which a person is uncomfortable whe n someone encroaches) can vary between people of different ethnicity. Look for combinations of signals which s upport an overall conclusion. A gesture by one person in a certain situation can carry far more. but some body language is specific to a culture or ethnic group. faking/deception Some people artificially control their outward body language to give the impress ion they seek to create at the time.usually temporarily. compared to the same gesture used by a different person in a differen t situation. or direct eye contact. 'clusters' of body language signals provide much more reliable indication of meaning than one or two signals in isolation. However while a degree of faking is possible. Management and customer service staff are particularly prone to misreading or re acting inappropriately to body language signals from people of different ethnic backgrounds. Older women. In general this article offers interpretations applicable for Western culture. it is not possible for someone to control or suppress all outgoing signals.it's important to do so in relative terms. uninhibited and supple. culture/ethnicity Certain body language is the same in all people.sufficient samples/evidence A single body language signal isn't as reliable as several signals: As with any system of evidence.especially the strength of signals and meaning s . See examples of cultural body language differences below. So when assessing body language . Awareness of possible cultural body language differences is especially important in today's increasingly mixed societies. relatively. If you can suggest any different ethnic interpretations of body language please send them and I'll broaden the guide accordingly. are examples of signals which can be quite easily be 'faked' . a situation made worse because this sort of misunderstanding tends to peak when emotions are high. Young men for example often display a lot of pronounced gestures because they ar e naturally energetic. considering the type of person an d situation involved. or very littl e meaning. body language is relative to age and gender Many body language signals are relative. and are prevented by clothing and upbrin ging from exhibiting very pronounced gestures. Avoid interpreting only single signals. are less energetic. for example smiling and frownin g (and see the six universally recognizable facial expressions above). .

and consider the situation. Ask yourself: What is causing the negative feelings giving rise to the negative signals? It is often the situation.quick referen ce guide When translating body language signals into feelings and meanings remember that one signal does not reliably indicate a meaning. nervousness and insecurity signals Many body language signals indicate negative feelings such as boredom. difficult to spot and are subconscious. especially if you are using body language within personal development or management. when analysing body language: Are there external factors affecting the mood and condition of the individual co ncerned? Do not jump to conclusions . meaning and motive. Politicians and manipulative sales people come to mind for some reason.newness .change Ask yourself. however proper interpretation of body language should look beyon d the person and the signal . Body language should not be used alone for making serio us decisions about people.This is an additional reason to avoid superficial analysis based on isolated sig nals. anxiousness. . etc. insecurity. boredom. Body language is one of several indicators of mood. Looking for 'micro gestures' (pupils contract. and to seek as many indicators as possible. signs and other factors . hence their usefulness. an eyebrow lifts. This can be so.translation of gestures. here are examples of ci rcumstances which can produce negative feelings and signals in people. These micro gestures are very small.especially negative ones . The temptation on seeing such signals is to imagine a weakness on the part of th e person exhibiting them.for example. Clusters of signals more reliably indicate meaning. This is a general guide.using body language anal ysis alone. corner of the m outh twitch) can help identify the true meaning and motive behind one or two str ong and potentially false signals. disintere st. body language . not the person . often eve n if they are strong and confident: dominance of a boss or a teacher or other person perceived to be in authority overloading a person with new knowledge or learning tiredness stress caused by anything cold weather or cold conditions lack of food and drink illness or disability alcohol or drugs being in a minority or feeling excluded unfamiliarity . especially subtle clues when s uspecting things might not be what they seem. but we cannot control them.

and especially our highly developed awareness of what we see in other peo ple's eyes . Some of these signs have obvious meanings. Even 'obvious' signs can be missed . . and this ability seems to be inborn. For example we know if we have eye contact with someone at an almost unbelievabl e distance. not an absolutely reliable indicator. we can see whether another person's eyes are focused on us or n ot. This is an absolutely awesome capability when you think about it. Left and right are for the person giving the signals and making the movements.3 0-40 metres away or more sometimes .especially if displayed as subtle movements in a group of people and if your mind is on other things . To a lesser or greater extent we all 'read' people's eyes without knowing how or why. What may be 'obvious' in one culture can mean something different in ano ther culture. Far too far away to be able to see the detail of a person's eyes . a moistening eye long before tears come. Suggest any other signals that you wish to know. eyes mouth head arms hands handshakes legs and feet personal space eyes . and an awkward or se cret glance. Also remember that cultural differences influence body language signals and thei r interpretation. body language warning Body language is not an exact science. More signals and meanings w ill be added. and we can detect easily the differences between a 'glazed over' blank stare . others not so. a piercing look.so I make no apology for including 'obvious' body language in this guide.are incredible. Incredibly also.body language Our eyes are a very significant aspect of the non-verbal signals we send to othe rs. Eyes . No single body language sign is a reliable indicator. and I'll add them. Understanding body language involves the interpretation of several consistent si gnals to support or indicate a particular conclusion. body language signs translation The body language signals below are grouped together according to parts of the b ody. This is a summary of the main body language signals. This guide is based on 'Western World' and North European beha viours. and this applies especial ly until you've developed good capabilities of reading body language signs.we know when there is eye contact.This is a guide.

but in other circumstances. rationalizing Thinking things through by se lf-talk . looking left down eyes self-talking.it could for example mean that the person does not know the answer. Left downward looking indicates silent self-conversation or self-talk. storytel ling to a child.concerning an outward view. it becomes easier to u nderstand how the eyes have developed such potency in human communications. remembering. fabrication. which again can be a perfectly genuine response or not. Whether the 'facts' (memories) are correct is another ma tter. This therefore could indicate recalling what has been said by anothe r person. which can include for example a person imagining or fabricating what another person has said or could say. Context particularly. lying.it can signal that the person is self-questioning their feelin gs about something. typ ically in trying to arrive at a view or decision. and is talking hypothetically or speculating or guess ing. (Left and right are for the person giving the signals and making the movements) Eyes tend to look right when the brain is imagining or creating.not fabricating or imagining. looking left suggests recalling or remembering . Looking right when stating f acts does not necessarily mean lying . retrieving 'facts' Recall ing and and then stating 'facts' from memory in appropriate context often equate s to telling the truth. fabricating. signal part of body possible meaning(s) detailed explanation Left and right are for the person giving the signals and making the movements. looking right sideways eyes imagining sounds Sideways eye movements are believed to indicate imagining (right) or recalling (left) sounds. This is analysed in greater detail below. Under certain circumstances 'creating' can mean fabrication or lying. this would be perfectly normal. guessing. Looking right and down indicate s accessing feelings. looking left and up eyes recalling images truthfulness Related to accessing mem ory in the brain. de pending on the context. lying Related to imagi nation and creative (right-side) parts of the brain. Depending on co ntext this can indicate lying. When we additionally consider the eyelids.are important for interpreting more specific meaning about this signal. and the flexibility of the eyes to wi den and close. storytell ing Creating here is basically making things up and saying them.beware). looking left sideways eyes recalling or remembering sounds Looking sideways sugg ests sounds. and to an extent the person. especially (but not always . rather than creating or imagining. for example. but we recognise t hem when we see them and we know what they mean. chiefly based on NLP theory developed in the 1960s. looking left (generally) eyes recalling. looking right and down eyes accessing feelings This is a creative signal but no t a fabrication . this upwards right eye-move ment can be a warning sign of fabrication if a person is supposed to be recallin g and stating facts. looking right (generally) eyes creating.. This relates to right and left sides of th e brain .We probably cannot describe these and many other eye signals. and left when t he brain is recalling or remembering. looking right and up eyes visual imagining. and for the pupils to enlarge or contract.and other signals . A note about eyes looking right and left. A reassuring sign if signal led when the person is recalling and stating facts.in this context broadly the parts of the brain handling creativity/fee lings (right) and facts/memory (left). when the person is supposed to be recalling facts. rather than the inward feelings view indic .

which can be due boredom. The fu ss was made because a wink is quite an intimate signal. etc. blinking frequently eyes excitement. Signi ficantly more than this is a sign of excitement or pressure. An infrequen t blink rate is probably due to boredom if the eyes are not focused. Darkness causes p upils to dilate. as if looking to the heavens for help. The cause of the attraction depends on the situation. Blink rate is not a reliable sign of lyi ng. Widen ed eyes with raised eyebrows can otherwise be due to shock.concentration . as if checking the vision. but aside from this. in which case the eyebrows normally remain raised for longer. not necessarily a ne ed for sleep.and this was partly the sense in which Bush used it . widening eyes represents an opening and welcoming expression. Not many people can carry i t off. rubbing eye or eyes eyes disbelief..if accompanied with a strongly focused gaze. upset. In the case of sex ual attraction the effect can be mutual . Resist the temptation to imagine that everyone you see with dilated pupils is sexually attracted to you. interest. eye shrug eyes frustration An upward roll of the eyes signals frustration or exa speration. which is normally a sign of attraction to the person and/or the su bject. widening eyes eyes interest. perhaps because of an instinctive association with darkness.dilated pupils tend to be more appeali ng sexually that contracted ones. If the signal is accompanied by a long pronounced blink. or tiredness. winking eyes friendly acknowledgement.ated by downward right looking. although the origins of this effect ar e unproven. and is perhaps genetically influenc ed since it is prevalent in monkeys (body language study does not sit entirely h appily alongside creationism). Infre quent blink rate can also be accompanied by signals of hostility or negativity. eyebrow raising (eyebrow 'flash') eyes greeting. pupils dilated (enlarged) eyes attraction. tend to indicate focused interested a ttention too. this tend s to support the tiredness interpretation. for some reason does seeing something appealing or attr active. in which the action relates to crying. Fear and surprise are also signalled by the eyebr ow flash. etc. and is associated with male flirting. and the associ ated signals of attraction and prompting urges to protect and offer love and car e. invitation Widening the eyes generally sign als interest in something or someone.or faked honesty Direct eye co ntact is generally regarded as a sign of truthfulness. pressure Normal human blink rate is consid ered to be between six and twenty times a minute. acknowledgement Qu ickly raising and lowering the eyebrows is called an 'eyebrow flash'..a wi nk can signal a shared joke or secret. appeal. So too. bedtime. directed exclusively fro m one person to another. depending on the expert. In women especial ly widened eyes tend to increase attractiveness. It is a co mmon signal of greeting and acknowledgement. which is believed by some body language experts to relate to the eye/face proportions of babies. desire The pupil is the black centre of the eye which opens or closes to let in more or less light. direct eye contact (when speaking) eyes honesty . however practised liars k now this and will fake the signal. A wink is given addit ional spice if accompanied by a click of the tongue. and in many situations more than a kiss on the cheek. recognition. It is strange tha t a non-contact wink can carry more personal implications than a physical handsh ake. and is therefore not the most revealing of body language signals. night-time. complicity (e. blinking infrequently eyes various Infrequent blink rate can mean different thin gs and so offers no single clue unless combined with other signals. direct eye contact (when listening) eyes attentiveness. . attraction Eye s which stay focused on the speakers eyes.g. until th e initial shock subsides. or tiredness Rubbing eyes or one eye can indicate disbelief. or upset. sharing a secret or jok e) Much fuss was made in May 2007 when George W Bush winked at the Queen. Additionally . and often invites positive response. Blink rate can incr ease to up to a hundred times a minute. or can be t he opposite .

tight-lipped smile mouth secrecy or withheld feelings Stretched across face in a straight line. Natural laughter can extend to all the uppe r body or whole body. twisted smile mouth mixed feelings or sarcasm Shows opposite emotions on each si de of the face.obviously speech. teasing. coy Head tilted sid eways and downwards so as to part hide the face. teeth grinding mouth tension. The mouth also has more visible moving parts than other sensory organs. The smiler has a secret they are not going to s hare. so jutting or pushing the bottom lip forward is a part of the crying fac e and impulse. chewing gum mouth tension. tend to be mouth-only gestures. laughter mouth relaxation Laughter deserves a section in its own right because i ts such an interesting area. suppression Inwardly-directed 'displacement' (see body language glossary) sign. signal part of body possible meaning(s) detailed explanation pasted smile mouth faked smile A pasted smile is one which appears quickly. bottom lip jutting out mouth upset Like rubbing eyes can be an adult version of crying. cooperation Unnatural laughter is often a sig nal of nervousness or stress. Pain and stress reduces. This typically indicates suppressed displeasure or forced agreement of some sort. and seems not to extend to the eyes. which can be due to high concentration.body language The mouth is associated with very many body language signals. Smiling is a big part of facial body language. from which the smile is directe d via the eyes at the intended target. teeth concealed. and is a tremendously flexible and expressive part of the body too. biting lip mouth tension One of many signals suggesting tension or stress. Artificial laughter is a signal of cooperation and a wish to maintain emp athy. for whatever reason. which connects psychologically through later life with feelings of s ecurity. smile . The jaw is dropped lower than in a natural smile. whereas fake smiles. The physiology of laughter is significant.an inwardly-directed 'displace . performing a centra l role in facial expressions. Unlike the nose and ears. Endorphins are released.eyes mouth head arms hands handshakes legs and feet personal space mouth . but more likely to be anxiousness. due to suppression of natural reaction due to fear or other suppressant. so there 's a lot more potential for variety of signalling. is f ixed for longer than a natural smile. love and sex. as an effort to dispel tension or change the atmos phere. but also those connected with infa nt feeding. possibly due to dislike or distrust. Also vulnerabilities show and can become more visible because people's guard drops when laughing. dropped-jaw smile mouth faked smile More of a practised fake smile than an insti nctive one. another reason for it deserving separate detailed consideration. The mouth can be touched or obscured by a person's own hands or fingers. which is not surpr ising given its functions . As a general rule real smiles are symmetrical and produce creases around the eyes and mouth.head tilted. suppression As above . In terms of body language genuine laughter is a sig n of relaxation and feeling at ease. looking up mouth playfulness. forced laughter mouth nervousness. the act of which c reates a smile. or to avert attack and seek sympathy or kind treatment. Bear in mind that people cry for reasons of genuine upset. Can also be a rejection signal. which are generally only brought into body language ac tion by the hands or fingers. the mouth acts quite independently.

Extreme vers ions of the same effect would involve both hands. chewing pen or pencil mouth self-comforting Like smoking and infant thumbsucking . e mbarrassment. tongue poke mouth / tongue disapproval. pursing lips mouth thoughtfulness. can turn. our eyes and our hands. The action can be observed very clearly in young chil dren when they witness something 'unspeakably' naughty or shocking. substituting breast-feeding. due to a very flexible neck structure. The pen is the teat. tilt sideways. Can also indicate anxiousness or impatienc e at not being able to speak. nail-biting is the outward demonstration of stress. ears. again typically prompted by frustration or fear. The head . nail biting mouth / hands frustration.. holding back. Otherwise however can simply be to freshen breath. Stress doesn't cau se nail-biting. An extreme version may be accompanied by a wrinkling of the nose. jut forward. The cause of the stress can be various things (stressors).. smoking mouth self-comforting Smoking obviously becomes habitual and addictive. The face. thumb-sucking mouth self-comforting A self-comforting impulse in babies and chil dren.ment' sign. so the head is used a lot in directio nal (likes and dislikes) body language. but it is also vita l and vulnerable being where our brain is.is therefore dynamic and busy in co mmunicating all sorts of messages . and in defensive (self-protection) body language too. All of these movements have meaning s. forwards. signal part of body possible meaning(s) detailed explanation . Later nail-biting becomes reinforced as a comforting habit. which given some thought about other signals can be understood. The gesture may be extremely subtle. The head tends to lead and determine general body direction. shock Often an unconscious gesture of self-regulation . and a squint of the eyes. Stress in this context is an outcome. are the most powerful parts of our body in sen ding body language signals. The head usually has hair. due to suppression of natural reaction. or for more tactical reasons. in turn rooted in baby experiences of feeding and especially breastfeeding. A person's head. w ithdraw. Remember that next time you chew the end of your pen. rejection The tongue extends briefly and slightly at the centre of the mouth as if tasting something nasty. Or quite differently can indicate upset. but aside from this people put things into their mouths because it's comforting like thumb-sucking is to a child. suppression Nail-biting is an inwardly-re directed aggression borne of fear.stopping speech for reasons of shock. which can persist as a habit into adulthood.when our hands interact with it . or upset As if holding the words in the mouth until they are ready to be released. or some other suppression of behaviour. or as a smoking replacement. and a face. eyes mouth head arms hands handshakes legs and feet personal space head .consciously and unconsciously. The gesture is reminiscent of the 's peak no evil' wise monkey.body language The head is very significant in body language. See the stress article for more d etail about stress. as if sup pressing crying. hand clamped over mouth mouth / hands suppression. nose. backwards. which has more complex and visible muscular effects than any other area of the body. eyes.

get off'. Exposing the neck is also a sign of trust.head nodding head agreement Head nodding can occur when invited for a response. which in turn suggests a level of trust. attraction When people are lis tening actively and responsively this shows in their facial expression and their head movements. especially in groups seemingly reacting in silent acceptance. but often ignored or missed where the movement is smal l. confidence Very similar to the 'head held high' si gnal. Head down also tends to cause shoulders and upper back to to slump. He ad tilting is thought by some to relate to 'sizing up' something. F ast head nodding is rather like the 'wind-up' hand gesture given off-camera or o ff-stage by a producer to a performer. where t he movement can be a distinct and significant advancement into a closer personal space zone of the other person. which is a signal of strength. Head forward and upright is different to head t ilted downward. An exposed neck is also a sign of confidence. etc . but do you always detect tiny head nods when addressi ng or observing a group? slow head nodding head attentive listening This can be a faked signal. and a different view is se en of the other person or subject. but also standing. usually with an open or undecided mind. defiance. especially in sports and c ompetitive activities. Head down when responding to criticism is a signal of failure. head shaking head disagreement Sideways shaking of the head generally indicates disagreement. vulnerability (hence seeking pr otection). Obvious of course. interest. head down (in response to a speaker or proposition) head negative. submissive. Look at the focus of eyes to check the validity of slow head no dding. resilience. but can also signal feelings of disbelief. commonly sitting. and/or vulnerability. head tilted to one side head non-threatening. fearlessness. pronounced head shaking head strong disagreement The strength of movement of the head usually relates to strength of feeling. As with a ll body language signals you must look for clusters of signals rather than relyi ng on one alone. frustration or exasper ation. arrogance Especially if exhibited with jutting chin. 'Chin up' is for these reasons a long-standing expression used to encourage someone to be brave. head down (while performing an activity) head defeat. or voluntarily while listening. The head and face are seen to respond fittingly and appropriate . chin up head pride. tiredness Lowering the hea d is a sign of loss. puffing out the chest . admonishment Head tilted downwards towards a person is commonly a signal of criticism or reprimand or disapproval. or lack of bias. etc. active listening head / face attention. positive reaction Head forward in th e direction of a person or other subject indicates interest. head forward. defeat. Hence the expressions such as 'don't le t your head drop'. shame. pride. Head nodding when talking face-to-face one-to-one is easy to see. increasing the signs of weakness at that moment. indicating 'time's up . fast head nodding head hurry up. Holding the chin up naturally alters the angle of the head backwards. alertness High head position signifies attentive listening. usually from a position of authority. Nodding is confusingly and rather daftly also re ferred to as 'head shaking up and down'. unless t he head is down for a purpose like reading supporting notes. thoughtfulness A signa l of interest. head tilted downward head criticism. and 'don't let your head go down'. since tilting the head changes the perspective offered by the eyes. and often to the force by which th e head-shaker seeks to send this message to the receiver. or feeling ashamed. upright head / body interest. The rule also appli es to a forward leaning upper body. expo sing the neck. head held up head neutrality. etc. disinterested Head down is generally a signal of rejection (of someone's ideas etc). These combined effects make the person stand bigg er. This is an immensely p owerful signal and is used intentionally by some people to dominate others. which draws in air. resistance. A pronounced raised chin does other interesting things to the body too . impatience Vigorous head nodding signifies that the listener feels the speaker has made their point or taken sufficient time. head held high head superiority. and it widens the shoulders.it te nds to lift the sternum (breast-bone).

For example: crossed arms = possibly defensive crossed arms + crossed legs = probably defensive crossed arms + crossed legs + frowning + clenched fists = definitely defensive. and probably hostile too. This can be due to various causes. . Arms are quite reliable indicators of mood and feeling. one arm across body clasping other arm by side (female) arms nervousness Women u se this gesture..ly to what is being said by the speaker. People also cross ar ms when they are feeling cold. it's not always so cle ar if your attention is on other matters. authority As demonstra ted by members of the royal family. although at times might lowe r to look at the mouth. especially when arm is across chest. Body language is more than just knowing the theory . Crossed arms is a commonly exhibited signal by subordinates feeling threatened by bosses and figures of authority. Silences are used to absorb meaning. gripping own upper arms arms insecurity Gripping upper arms while folded is effe ctively self-hugging. signal part of body possible meaning(s) detailed explanation crossed arms (folded arms) arms defensiveness. adjusting cuff. tie. The head may tilt sideways. especially combined with open palms. and conversely indicate fee lings of openness and security when in open positions. etc. teachers. The eyes remain sharply focused on the eyes of the speaker. especially when interpre ted with other body language. handbag held in front of body (female) arms nervousness Another 'barrier' protec tive signal. arms/hands covering genital region (male) arms / hands nervousness Another 'barr ier' protective signal. crossed arms with clenched fists arms hostile defensiveness Clenched fists reinf orce stubbornness. holding papers across chest (mainly male) arms nervousness Another 'barrier' pro tective signal. ranging from severe animosity or concern to mild boredom or being too tired to be intere sted and attentive. Nodding is relevant to what is being sa id. N. Men tend not to. Self-hugging is an attempt to reassure unhappy or unsafe f eelings. and also s elf-hugging. reluctance Crossed arms represent a protective or separating barrier. While this might seem obvious written in simple language. Smiles and other expressions are relevant too. aggression or the lack of empathy indicated by crossed arms. M irroring of expressions may occur. watchstrap. It's a 'barrier' protective signal. especially in male-female engagements. arms held behind body with hands clasped arms confidence.it's being aware constantly of the signals people are giving. This provides a good opportunity to illustrate how signals combine to enable saf er analysis. policemen. armed forces officers. eyes mouth head arms hands handshakes legs and feet personal space arms . etc. using an arm across the body arms nervou sness Another 'barrier' protective signal.body language Arms act as defensive barriers when across the body.B. so be careful not to misread this signal.

and for rude gestures.holding a drink in front of body with both hands r 'barrier' protective signal. seated.as with emphasizing ge stures . This is because hands are such expressive parts of the body. greeting people and waving goodbye (which might be included in the above categor y) and more interestingly in unconscious 'leakage' signals including interaction wi th items like pens and cigarettes and other parts of the body. but when a hand or finger is also involved then there is probably a signal of some sort.or unconsciously . signal part of body possible meaning(s) detailed explanation palm(s) up or open hands submissive. etc). . so it is natur al for hands to be used a lot in signalling consciously . indicating feelin gs such as doubt. etc) specific conscious signals like the American OK. A nose or an ear by itself can do little to signal a feeling. openness. A common gesture with va rious meanings around a main theme of openness. etc. appealing Said to evolve from when open upward palms showed no weapon was held. and because hands i nteract with other parts of the body. eyes mouth head arms hands handshakes arms / hands nervousness Anothe other side arms / hands nervous holding a drink (or pen. or trust/trustworthiness. body arms / shoulder nervousnes legs and feet personal space hands . honesty. fingers pointing up hands defensive. instruction to stop Relaxed han ds are more likely to be defensive as if offered up in protection. deceit. Studying hand body language therefore yields a lot of information. touching or scratching shoulder using arm across s Another 'barrier' protective signal. and chopping actions. truthful. (pointing. palm(s) up.as in a wide range of unintentional movements which indicate otherwise hidden feelings and thoughts. jabbing. Hands body language is used for various purposes. In some situations this can indicate confidence (such as to enable openness). Outward open forearms or whole arms are more extreme versions of the signal. The section b elow focuses on Western behaviour. expectation.body language Body language involving hands is extensive. Hands contain many more nerve connections (to the brain) than most if not all ot her body parts. Can also mean "I don't have the answer. hence the hands section below is large. Much applies elsewhere. the Victory-sign . mimicking actions or sizing things in the air this big/long/wide/etc. Another 'barrier' protective signal. An easily faked gesture to convey innocence. holding drink on one side with hand from ness One arm rests on the table across the body." or an appeal. They are extremely expressive and flexible tools. etc) illustration (drawing. There are many cultural body language differences in hand signals. shaping. phoning actions. etc. notably: emphasis. Body language experts generally agree that hands send more signals than any part of the body except for the face. pressure. but avoid assuming th at it all does. the thumbs-up. rigid fingers indicates a more authoritative instruction or request to stop whatever behaviou r is promoting the reaction..

offensive. clenched fist(s) hands resistance. finger point and wink hands/ eyes acknowledgement or confirmation The subtle use of a winked eye with a pointed finger changes the finger point into a different signal. An exception to the genera lly aggressive meaning of finger pointing is the finger point and wink. Stop it/do as you are told. directed at another person. pointing upwards like the rafters of a tall church roof. and can be a signal of positive appreciation. but figuratively holds a problem or idea as if weighi ng it..palm(s) down hands authority. or else.defensive. that of acknowledging something. Like when a computer or elevator won' t work. Commonly adults do this to young people. Strong ly associated with anger. Whatever." or " You understand it.. emphasis Pointing at a p erson is very confrontational and dictatorial. loss of control of a group or situation Seen often in rowdy meetings the gestur e is typically a few inches above the table top. emphasis The action is like pr essing a button on a keypad several times.each finger with the corresponding digit of the other hand. as if to kill the discussion. often a contribution or remark made by someone. well done". as if pressing the button lots of times will make any difference. Adult to adult it is generally unacceptable and tends to indicate a lack of social awareness or self-control aside from arrogance on the part of the fin ger pointer. as when claiming innocence or shock. which after enough repetition can produce a sensation of having a gre ased sheet of glass between the fingers. finger wagging (side to side) hands warning. hand(s) on heart (left side of chest) hands seeking to be believed Although easy to fake.like a spider doing press-ups on a mirror) enables the fascinating effect (nothing to do with body language). finger wagging (up and down) hands admonishment. Hand on heart can be proactive. "You got it. Teachers use this gesture when trying to quieten a class. finger tips and thumbs touching each other on opposite hands ('steepling') hands thoughtfulness.especially the last word on a matter The hand is use d like a guillotine. or pointed weapon. It's their loss. Very brainy people probably don't do this because they have more important things to think about. below.it's very strange. which is rarely the case. looking for or explaining connections or engagement Very brain y folk use this gesture since it reflects complex and/or elevated thinking. positive or negat ive. Try it . T he action is one of suppressing or holding down a rising pressure. finger pointing (at a person) hands aggression. Fin gers are spread and may be rigidly straight or relaxed and curved. Alternating t he positions (pushing fingers together then relaxing again . dominance Where the lower arm moves acr oss the body with palm down this is generally defiance or firm disagreement. fingers spread hands seeking or asking for calm. refusal Rather like the waving of a pistol as a threat. by a person feeling in authority or power. determination One or two clenched fists can indicate different feelings . aggression. or reactive. threat. steepled fingers pointing forward hands thoughtfulness and barrier The upwards-p ointing version tends to indicate high-minded or connective/complex thinking. as if to say. Logically a clenched fist prepares the hand (and mind and body) for battle of one sort or another. depending on context and other signals. finger pointing (in the air) hands emphasis Pointing in the air is generally use d to add emphasis. but in isolation the signal is impossible to interpret more precisely than a basic feeling of re solve. hand chop hands emphasis . the underlying meaning is one of wanting to be believed. palms down moving up and down. strength. in which case the finger and wink are directed at the person concerned . palm up and moving up and down as if weighing hands striving for or seeking an answer The hand is empty. . as when a salesman tries to co nvince a buyer. whether being truthful or not. The finger is thought to represent a gun. The signal is one of 'weighing' possibilities. In t his gesture only the fingertips touch . ho wever when this hand shape is directed forward it also acts as a defensive or di stancing barrier between the thinker and other(s) present. but is also seen standing up. the sender of this signal typically feels the need to emphasise their position as if mortally threatened.

It's a very positive signal. while listening hands / nose thoughtfulness.often a conscious gesture . hand held horizontally and rocked from side to side hands undecided. similar to the 'thumbs up'. Two hands is a bigger statement of the same meaning. The circle formed by the joined finger and thumb resembles the O from OK. thumb(s) up hands positive approval. frustration. suppressi ng comment In many cases this is an unconscious signalling of holding back or de laying a response or opinion. pinching bridge of nose hands / nose negative evaluation Usually accompanied wi th a long single blink. negativity. touching nose. scratching nose. inattentive. while speaking hands / nose lying or exaggeration This is said to hide the reddening of the nose caused by increased blood flow.cracking knuckles hands comforting habit. so disabling them logically reduces a person's readiness for action. hand(s) clamped over mouth hands / mouth suppression. in which case it t ends to indicate that other views and opinions are not wanted or will be ignored . attention-seeking Usually male. picking nose hands / nose day-dreaming. anxiousness Usually h ands would be on a table or held across stomach or on lap. index finger and thumb touching at tips hands satisfaction. thumb(s) clenched inside fist(s) hands self-comforting. could go one way or another. especially if the mouth is covered at the same time. No-one knows still exactly how the nois e is made. stre ss Nose picking is actually extremely common among adults but does not aid caree r development or social acceptance and is therefore normally a private affair. The signal may be to oneself quietly. Often exhibited when recounting an event or incident. Righ tly or wrongly the thumbs up and down signals are associated with the gladiatori al contests of the ancient Roman arenas in which the presiding dignitary would s ignal the fate of the losing contestants. interwoven clenched fingers hands frustration. or an enjoyable activity and outcome. 'OK' This is genera lly seen to be the 'OK' signal. failure Logically the opposite of thumbs up. but the notion that the practice leads to arthritis is now generally thought to be nonsense. The children's story about Pinocchio (the w ooden puppet boy whose nose grew when he told lies) reflects long-standing assoc iations between the nose and telling lies. socially disconnected. which is a subject in its own right. There is also the sense of this suggesting something being 'just right' as if the finger and thumb are making a fine adjustment with a pinch of spice or a tiny turn of a control knob. normally finely balanced and difficul t to predict or control. in the bala nce Signalling that a decision or outcome. . The r emaining three fingers are spread. while speaking hands / nose lying or exaggeration Nose-scratchi ng while speaking is a warning sign. Also thumbs are potent and flexible tools. all well In the Western world th is signal is so commonly used and recognized it has become a language term in it s own right: 'thumbs up' means approved. hands clamped on ears hands / ears rejection of or resistance to something Not s urprisingly gestures involving hands covering the ears signify a reluctance to l isten and/or to agree with what is being said or to the situation as a whole. shock See mouth/hand clamp entry in mouth section. and often related to material or financial re ward. unless the person genuinely has an itchy no se. rubbing hands together hands anticipation. or more pronounced directed to others. W hen observed.of positive expectation. people displaying this gesture probably have something to say but are choosing not to say it yet. Th e gesture is occasionally seen by a person doing the talking. Machis mo or habit. thumbs down hands disapproval. Rather like the more obvious hand-clamp over the mouth. none particularly positive. insecurity As with other signals involving holding or stroking a part of one's own body thi s tends to indicate self-comforting. Pinching the nose physically obstructs breathing a nd speech. Meaning depends on context. relish A signal . agreement. nose-picking can signify various states of mind. pinching or rubbing nose. Can also indicat e mild embellishment or fabrication.

as is lightly resting the chin on the knuckles. which might be a performance or piece of work or a comment on a product of some sort. The 'air violin' is not typically included in body languag e guides. this is an example of an announcement or alerting ges ture. running hand s through the hair can indicate exasperation or upset. playing an imaginary violin hands / arms mock sympathy or sadness The 'air viol in' has been around a lot longer than the 'air guitar'. face evaluation. and not being ready for action. options. or vexation. tiredness or boredom Usually the forearm is vertical from the supporting elbow on a table. index finger pointing up against face hands / chin evalu ation This is a more reliable signal of evaluation than the above full-hand supp ort. which may be beh ind the back or in open view. self-comforting People fiddle with their ow n bodies in various ways when seeking comfort.ear tugging hands / ears indecision. thumb and fingers formed into a tube and rocked side to side or up and down (mai nly male) hands offensive . the signal is generally due to doubting or distrusting what is being said. A lighter resting contact is more likely to be evaluation.whatever. directed at other males. availability The person i s emphasizing their presence and readiness for action. Other alerting signals include raising the hand. typically male to male. Unsurprisingly the gesture is m ainly male. neck scratching hands / neck doubt. Who knows . and sometimes it is. especially in tribal-like gatherings. expression of inferior qua lity A conscious signal. like calling a pe rson a 'tosser' or a 'wanker' (UK) or a jerk-off (US). but ear-pulling or tugging given suitable supporting signs can instead indicate indecision and related pondering. it's here as an amusing gesture which demonstrates our conscious pract ice and recognition of certain signals. The middle fin ger commonly rests horizontally between chin and lower lip. can be a signal of frustration. Rare . since it mimics masturbation. or reactions to something or someone.mockery. Normally the supporting elbow will be on a table or surface. and the gaze is unfocused or averted. usually one-handed. Those who stand with hands in pockets . readiness. This is obviously rude an d not used in respectable company such as the queen or a group of clergymen. hand clasping wrist hands / wrist frustration Clasping a wrist. although rare among women. If the resting is heavier and mo re prolonged. boredom The obvious signal is one of inaction. Insulting gesture if directed at a person. P eople who display this signal are commonly assessing or evaluating next actions. although given different supporting signals. notably sport. etc. hand stroking chin hands / chin thoughtfulness The stroking of a beard is a simi lar signal. as if holding ones elf back. chin resting on thumb. dissatisfaction. Observable in various sit uations.running hands through the hair is commonly associated with flirting . hand supporting chin or side of face hands / chin. hand(s) on hip(s) hands / arms confidence. hands in pockets hands / arms disinterest. exasperation Take your pick . The allusion is to masturbation being a poor substitute for sex with a woman. In social and flirting context it is said that the hands are drawing attention to the genital area. where a person readies themselves to speak and attracts attention to the f act. taking a breath.demonstrate apathy and lack of interest for the situation. removing spectacles hands / spectacles alerting wish to speak For people who wea r reading-only spectacles. and is based on the trad itional use of violin music as a theme or background for sad scenes in movies an d in music generally. disbelief Perhaps evolved from a feeling of distrust and instinct to protect the vulnerable neck area. then tiredness or boredom is a more likely cause. and less pronounced poses in social and work situations. hands clasping head hands / head calamity Hands clasping head is like a protect ive helmet against some disaster or problem. a nd that those who masturbate are not 'real men'.in situations where there is an expectation for people to be enthusiastic and ready for action . The gesture is also used as a response to something regarded as poor quality. moving up wards and forwards in their seat. running hands through hair hair / hair flirting.

It is not. especially from the 1800s onwards. the meeting. relaxed Most handshak es are like this. palm inward (mainly male) hands / fingers offensive . People who use their hands in thei r profession. widely but probably incorrectly thought to derive from the 1415 Bat tle of Agincourt in the Hundred Years War when the tactically pivotal Welsh long bowmen supposedly derided the beaten French soldiers' and their threats to cut o ff the bowmen's fingers. and who realise that most people in business consider a firm handshake to be a good thing. seeking to control Whether genuine or not. handshake . hence the very subservient female curtsey gesture (also spelled curtsy). etc. etc. from the vigorous handshaker to the shaken person. Handshaking by women became common practice much l ater. for example. There is a sense of attempting to transfer energy a nd enthusiasm. musicians. to show t hat no weapon was being held.. the lower hand has submitted to the upper hand dominance. mood.palm down handshake dominance Usually a firm handshake. this handshake is unduly physical and (often) uncomfortably domineering. significantly if so. when neither person seeks to control or to yield. literally. For obvious reasons the gesture is unlikely to be used by femal es or males directed at females. Weak handshakes can be due to various aspects of personality. etc). surgeons. Firm handshakes tend to be those of confident people. or ending a stage performan ce. How all this u ltimately translates into the subsequent relationship and outcomes can depend on more significant factors than the handshake. which survives now onl y in traditional situations such as meeting royalty. especially if used in cultures (Eastern especially) where firm handshaking is not normal.both hands handshake seeking to convey trustworthiness and honesty. palm outward hands fingers victory. Handshakes that are uncomfortably firm show a lack of respect or awareness. Women have throughout time generally been subservient to men. a handshake became the way to conf irm a commercial transaction. although apparently . Strong but passive people can have gentle handshakes. signal part of body possible meaning(s) detailed explanation handshake . also called 'flick ing the Vs'.body language Firmness of handshake is not the reliable indicator of firmness of character tha t many believe it to be. first used the palm inwards version until he was told wha t it meant to the working classes. situation or project.equal and vertical handshake non-threatening. e specially those who have spent some time in business. etc. Naturally also the handshake offers the most obvio us way to connect physically as a way to signal trust or friendship. artists. can have quite ge ntle sensitive handshakes.palm up handshake submission. contempt A consciously offensive and aggressive gesture. two-fingered V-sign. for whom a hundred years back such physical contact was considered imprope r. reflecting the change of social attitudes and the increasing equality of w omen.female use of this gesture directed at males can be very effective due to its hu miliating value. eyes mouth head arms hands handshakes legs and feet personal space handshakes .deris ion. . two-fingered V-sign. In more rec ent times. hen ce the behaviour is popular in motivational folk and evangelists. handshake . the 'upper h and' tends to impose and/or create a dominant impression. handshake . peace British 2nd World War leader Winston Churchill popularised the victory usage. pumping handshake handshake enthusiasm A vigorous pumping handshake tends to ind icate energy and enthusiasm of the shaker towards the other person. weak handshake handshake various Avoid the common view that a weak handshake is the sign of a weak or submissive person. accommodating Usually not a strong han dshake. Handshaking evolved from ancient times as an initial gesture of trust.

general legs/knees interest. rejection or insecurity. which could mask deceit or a weak bullying nature. It's potent ially a very misleading signal. The posture is also called the American leg cross because of its supposed popularit y in the US compared to the UK. Older women tend to adopt more modest closed leg positions than younger women. open uncr ossed leg positions generally indicate an open attitude. firm handshake handshake outward confidence Avoid the common view that a firm ha ndshake is the sign of a strong solid person. Again allow for this when interpreting signals. for example cros sed arms and crossed legs. A weak handshake might be due to arthritis . or indicate a strong solid person. hence the name. handshake with arm clasp handshake seeking control. but would be notable in women. Leg signals tend to be supported by corresponding arms signals. To many this represents an unwanted invasion of personal space. which can include leg crossing purely for comfort reasons. The converse is true also . Partly due to clothing and partly due to sexual differences. if you know the signs.body language Legs and feet body language is more difficult to control consciously or fake tha n some body language of arms and hands and face. sitting . d ue to upbringing. N. equality and clothing. since touching 'per mission' is for the handshake only. Legs and feet can therefore pro vide good clues to feelings and moods. social trends.general legs openness In sitting positions.legs tend to point away from some thing or someone which is uninteresting or threatening. which can be due to arrogance. Again take account of th ese influences when evaluating signals. etc. and caution is required in readin g this signal. Also consider that when people sit for half-an-hour or more they tend to change their leg positions. which aside from comfort reasons generally indicate d etachment. It is not. Young people unaccustomed to handshaking can have weak handshakes. sitting . It is widely misinterpreted. The 'American' or 'Figure-4' leg cro ss entails the supporting leg being crossed just above the knee by the ankle or lower calf of the crossing leg. signal part of body possible meaning(s) detailed explanation leg direction. disinterest. The rule applies with cr ossed legs also. eyes mouth head arms hands handshakes legs and feet personal space legs and feet . the keener the a ttraction or repellent feeling. notably among males. contrasting with with c . Strength of a handshake is not by itself an ind icator of positive 'good' mood or personality. Certain open-leg male positions are not especially sig nificant in men. this refe rs to the legs being crossed at both knees. attentiveness (according to direction) Generally a seated person directs their knee or knees towards the point of interest. The more direct and obvious the position. which should be allowed for w hen interpreting signals. This makes a figure-4 shape. uncrossed legs. especially combined with a short skirt. Men and women sit differently. which needs to be considered when reading leg bod y language. Where the terms 'leg crossing' and 'crossed legs' are used alone.Old people can have weak handshakes. paternalism When a handshake is accompanied by the left hand clasping the other person's right arm this indi cates a wish to control or a feeling of care. men nat urally exhibit more open leg positions than women.B. where the upper knee indicates interest or disinterest accordin g to where it points. Firm handshakes are a s ign of outward confidence.

which normally indicate a closed attitude or a degree of caution or uncertainty. standing legs aggression. This is a clear exception to the leg/knee point rule since the pointing is bei ng done by the crotch. It exposes the genital region. if it points away from a pers on it signifies disinterest in or a perceived threat from that person. Hands on hips support the interpretatio n.specific change legs interest or disinterest in direct ion of upper crossed knee Generally the upper crossed leg and knee will point ac cording to the person's interest. together and parallel. combative. ankle lock. Depending on the circumstances the leg twine can either be a sign of r etreat and protection. There is also a suggestion of suppressi ng negative emotion. which can be due to various reasons.this is like the military 'a t attention' posture and is often a signal of respect or subservience adopted wh en addressed by someone in authority. standing 'at attention' legs / body respectful Standing upright. and typically causes the upper bod y to lean back. or a sexual display of leg shapeliness. and also make the body look wider. open legs. legs straight. body quite upright. ranging from feeling threatened.rossed legs. when leg crossing can change more for comfort than body language reasons. defensive signals such as crossed legs and arms among the less confident gro up members is often reinforced by a physical and audible lack of involvement and . shoulders back. Signs are more indicative when people first sit down and adopt initial positions in relat ion to others present. since a tight leg -cross tends to emphasise muscle and tone. effectively producing a locked position. and so thi s posture is regarded as more stubborn than the 'both knees' leg cross. sexual posturing Th is is a confident dominant posture. legs crossed. this is a tightly crossed leg. standing (scissor stance) legs insecurity or submission or engagem ent Typically observed in groups of standing people at parties or other gatherin gs. sitting legs defensiveness Knees may be apart (among men predominant ly) or together (more natural in women). crossed legs. arms by sides . to mildly insecure. Happily extreme male open-crotch posing is r arely exhibited in polite or formal situations since the signal is mainly sexual . sitting (female) legs insecurity or sexual posing Also called 'leg twine'. Assessing additional body language is crucial for interpreting such signals of potentially very different meanings. sitting (mainly female) legs properness This unusual in men. in which (usually) the opposite hand to the crossing leg clamps and holds t he ankle of the crossing leg. especially in formal situations and not in a skirt. parallel legs together. ready for action Splayed. legs intertwined. The postu re was common in women due to upbringing and clothing and indicates a sense of p roperness. sitting . that is wide-p arted legs create (usually unconsciously) a firm base from which to defend or at tack. twined or wrapped around the suppor ting leg. American or figure-4 leg cross legs independent. Regardless of gender this posture is also combative because it requ ires space and makes the person look bigger. If the knee points towards a person then it si gnifies interest in or enthusiasm for that person. splayed legs. stub born This is a more protective and stubborn version of the plain American leg cr oss. sitting (mainly male) legs arrogance. The crossed leg is nevertheless a protective barrier. especially if the knees point an angle other than straight ahead. The impression of confidence is inc reased when arms are also in a wide or open position. crossing legs. which ref lects the mood of the person. disinterest Crossed legs tend to i ndicate a degree of caution or disinterest. Not a gesture popularly used by women. Signs become less reliable when people have been sitting for half-an-hour or so.general legs caution. American or figure-4 leg cross with hand clamp legs / arm / hand resistant. whose target might be a single person or a wider audience . stubborn The 'American' or 'fig ure-4' leg cross is a far more confident posture than the conventional 'both kne es' leg cross. sitting .

knee buckle. which for Western societies. which were originally identified by Edward T Hall. this is a markedly different zone in certain situations. 2. when it can indicate perceptions of leadership or dom inance. the situation. are shown below.is defined as (the study of) the amount of space th at people find comfortable between themselves and others. queues and entertainment and sports spectating events. foot forward. His 1963 book. no doubt helped popularize the new word. and more so slipping the foot in and out of the shoe has sexual overtones. especially relatin g to cross-cultural understanding. feet or foot direction or pointing feet foot direction indicates direction of in terest Like knees. In certain situations dangling a shoe from the fo ot.connection with more lively sections of the group.e. and relationships.1914). Foot direction or pointing in this context is a subtle aspect of posture . feet tend to point towards the focus of interest . however some general parameters ap ply to most people. cultural and living background. standing feet directed towards dominant group member The signal is interesting among groups. or ver y threatening and upsetting at worst. this can indicate a submissive or committed agreement to stand and engage. zone distance for detail 1.personal space . Where legs are crossed and a rms are not. an American anthropologi st and writer on body language and non-verbal communications. and which remain the basis of personal space analysis today. Intimate 15-45cm 6-18in physical touching relationships Usually reserved for intimate relationshi ps and close friendships. Here is Edward Twit chell Hall's website .this is not using the foot to point at something. Proxemics. shoe-play (female) feet relaxation. but also applies during consenting close activities su ch as contact sports. bu t commonly does with a lover. concerts.he's an interesting character. so the standing leg cross relays potentially quite different things. Within the intimate zone a person's senses . and crowded places such as parties. Robert Ardrey is cited by Julius Fast as another significant expert and writer in personal space. bars. it is merely the direction of the feet when sitting or standing i n relation to people close by. the forward foot points at the leader or strongest member of the g roup. sexual A woman would usually be r elaxed to display this signal. i. There are five distinct space zones. Personal space dimensions depend notably on the individual. Non-consentin g intrusion into this space is normally felt to be uncomfortable at best. A Study of Man's Sp acial Relationship. standing legs / knees under pressure Obviously a pronounced knee b uckle is effectively a collapse due to severe stress or actually carrying a heav y weight. for examp le face-to-face contact with close friends rarely encroaches within 6 inches. His other books are listed in the body lan guage references section below. and one of the founding fa thers of modern body language theory. Proxemics . and physical touching relationships Sometimes included with the 2n d zone below.. The first z one is sometimes shown as a single zone comprising two sub-zones. public transport. Close intimate 0-15cm 0-6in lovers. The word was devised by Edward Twitchell Hall (b.or away fr om something or someone if it is not of interest. and similarly a less obvious knee bend while standing can indicate the anticipation of an uncomfortable burden or responsibility. flirting. eyes mouth head arms hands handshakes legs and feet personal space personal space The technical term for the personal space aspect of body language is proxemics.

6m 4-12ft non-touch interaction. and he/she likes me too.and supposedly thereby the feelings and attitudes . I am not being affirmed. 5. ignoring People establish this zonal space when they seek to avoid interaction with others nearby. therefore I feel defensive. "This person is like me and agrees with the way I am. commonly quite naturally match each other's body language. I like this person because we are similar. understanding.consultative 1. pitch. and with a little pra ctice are able to first match and then actually and gently to alter the signals . 3. The term synchronized is arguably a more accurate technical term because mirrori ng implies visual signals only. social. but intimac y is off-limits. Often they will do. Speech pace or speed is an example. trust). business Significantly hand-shaking is on ly possible within this zone only if both people reach out to do it.matching body language signals When body language and speech characteristics are mirrored or synchronized betwe en people this tends to assist the process of creating and keeping rapport (a mu tual feeling of empathy. eyes mouth head arms hands handshakes legs and feet personal space mirroring .2-3." Advocates and users of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) use mirroring consciou sly. first ma tch their pace of speaking. .of smell and touch (being touched) become especially exercised. Touching is not possible unless both people reach to do it. When two people's body language signals are differe nt . 4. When this space is intruded by another person is creates a discomfort or an expectation of interaction. When you are speaking with someone.of other people. he/she is diff erent to me. then gently change your pace . etc.6m+ 12ft+ no interaction.an d see if the other person follows you. Personal 45-120cm 18in-4ft family and close friends Touching is possible in this zone. People. ev en though we rarely think consciously about it. not synchronized . Each person senses a conflict arising from the mismatching of signals . and the engagement is less comfortable.e.. The unconscious mind thinks. Social. tone.the two people are not affirming each other.notably speech pace. mostly being peaceful cooperative souls. instead the mismatche d signals translate into unconscious feelings of discord. this makes us rea ct unconsciously to feel. "This person is not like me. Public 3. when the principles of matching body language ex tend to audible signals also . discomfort or even rej ection.slower or faster . as a method of 'getting in tune' with another person. Hence touching other than hand-shaking is potentially uncomfort able." The converse effect applies.i. When another person displays similar body language to our own. 'Mirrored' or synchronized body language between two people encourages feelings of trust and rapport because it generates unconscious feelings of affirmation. To do otherwise can sometimes feel uncomfortable.they feel less like each other. using mir roring techniques.

Here are some guidelines. as a means of creating trust and rapport with th e other person. counselling. called into the office would stand to receive their bol locking on the carpet in front of the boss who sat high and mighty behind his de . people often end up sitting opposite if free to do so. They also relate to one-to-one situations like appra isals. etc. Incidentally the expression 'on the carpet' . and on what and aro und what. and Empathy. Mirroring in this conscious sense is not simply copying or mimicking.don't just let it happen because commonly. we do the same. when the victim.derives from the extreme form of this positional st rategy. When they lean back and relax. but it is not helpful in most modern work situations. counsel. especially with emotional potential (appraisals for example) take care to arrange seating before the meeting to avoid opposite-facing positions.meaning bei ng told off or 'bollocked' . It's easy to forget this and to find yourself sitting opposite someone when there are only two of you at the table. Consider the rules about personal space. This positioning is fav oured by certain bosses seeking to reinforce their power. Obvious copying would be regarded as strange or insulting. and is not a good way to increase respectful nat ural authority anyway. See NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming).When another person leans forward towards us at a table. and to influence attitudes. Conversely sitting too far apart will preven t building feelings of trust and private/personal discussion. Do not place chairs so close together t hat personal space will be invaded. Mirroring is effective when movements and gestures are reflected in a similar way so that the effect remains unconscious and subtle. or coach. Sitting behind a work-desk (the boss behind his/her own desk especially) and hav ing someone (especially a subordinate) sit in a less expensive lower chair acros s the desk emphasises authority of the boss and adds unhelpfully to the barrier and the confrontational set-up. These points are generally for the purpose of a leader or someone aspiring to le ad. interviews. c oaching. but not good for work. The 'science' of where people sit in relation to each other. Sitting opposite across a table is okay for lovers gazing into each other's eyes. If you ca nnot arrange the seating give very deliberate thought to seating positions befor e you sit down and/or before you invite the other person to sit . Sitting opposite someone across a table or desk adds a barrier to the confrontat ional set-up and can create a tension even when the relationship is good and str ong. etc. cooperation and understanding. For one-to-one meet ings. This seating arrangement will increase the defen siveness of anyone already feeling insecure or inferior. Sales people and other professional communicators are widely taught to mirror al l sorts of more subtle signals. c ommunications. we often mirror and do likewise. body language of seating positioning in relation to others Lots of unnecessary friction is created in work and communications situations du e to ignorance and lack of thought about seating positions. etc. is fascinating and offers opportunities for improving relationships. strangely. Sitting opposite someone creates a feeling of confrontation.

simply try t o avoid opposite or side-by-side positions. Obviously this works well because no-one is at the head of the table. b ut that's another story.somewhere in the range of 30-60 degrees if you want to be technical ab out it. It threatens personal space.) Sitting at a diagonal angle of about 45 degrees to another person is a comfortab le and cooperative arrangement. The same angle is appropriate for and easy-chairs around a coffee-table. which means thinking carefully about best seating arrangements for square or o blong tables. A table ceases to become a barrier when people are sitting at a diagonal angle. especially if there are particular reasons for creating a cooperative atmosphere. In large gatherings of 20-30 people or more. Interviews and appraisals can benefit from relaxed or more formal seating depend ing on the situation. King Arthur . The term 'round table' has come to symbolise teamwork and fair ness.opted for a round table for this reason. a 'top table' is often appropriate for the leader and guest speakers.or the creator of the l egend (King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table) . etc. so positioning an opponent on your right side (instead of allowing the normal opposite positioning to happen) can be a useful tactic since this indicates confidence and strength. An angle between these two extremes is best . and anyway under most circumstances seating a ngles are influenced by furniture and available space. and beaten/abused/neglected as a child. Sitting side by side on a settee is not a good arrangement for working relations hips. instead it becomes a common work surface for studying papers. The 45-degree rule is approximate. and how relaxed you want the meeting to be. for a long time. which pr omotes a feeling of equality and teamwork. instead to sit among the team. Theory suggests that when a group sits around a table the person sitting on the leader's right will generally be the most loyal and aligned to the leader's thin king and wishes. Round tables are better than square or oblong tables for group and team meetings .make a conscious choice about furniture depe nding on the tone of the meeting. etc. People naturally are more alert and focused using higher formal table and chairs. which also enables papers to be seen togeth er without too much twisting. Assassination by stabbin g is rare in modern work meetings.. A confident leader will be happy to avoid taking the 'head of the table' positio n. This is achieved naturally by both sitting aroun d the same corner of a square table.sk. Unfortunately round tables aren't common in offices . Conversely it is perfectly normal for a leader to take the 'head of the table' i f firmness is required in chairing or mediating. Importantly . For this reason much seating in h otel lounges is entirely unsuitable for work meetings. Low settees and easy-chairs and low coffee tables cause people to sink and relax back are usually unhelpful for work meetings. Importantly. A (likely) mythical origin is said to be that in Roman times a leader would place their most loyal supporter to their right because this was th e most advantageous position from which to attempt an assassination by stabbing (given that most people then as now were right-handed). While this seems like a throwback to more aut . and obstructs communications. or exploring issues toget her. (The boss would typically be male. It is usually easier to ch air a meeting from the head of the table position.

in the eyes. Filipino people (and in fact many other people of all races) can find it offensi ve/uncomfortable when beckoned by a repeatedly curled index finger . Feet are considered dirty. lying. People in/from parts of India may to shake their head from side to side as a sig n of agreement and active listening. In the UK/west we tend to nod our head to a gree and affirm and to show we are listening. certainly to keep order and ensure smooth running of proceedings. lack of confidence. When cultures meet obviously this provides potential for friction. Showing the soles of the feet is insulting and rude in many Asian and Arab cultu res. In Arab culture the left hand is commonly considered unclean due to associations with toilet functions. Incidentally on this point. and should therefore not be offered or used for touching or eating. "Look at me when I'm talking to you". (whereas in Western culture not meeting somebody's gaze is commonly conside red to be a negative sign. si deways head-shaking of this sort is not a vigorous twisting movement. in India it is not unusual for peo ple to move their heads from side to side in giving these reactions. In some Australian Aboriginal cultures. The eyebrow flash may be considered rude or to carry sexual connotations in Japa nese culture. It is also seen as respectful practice.ocratic times. which in this context typically refers to white European people and d escendents. body language in different cultures Here are some brief pointers concerning body language variations and gestures in cultures which differ from Western (US/UK notably) behaviour. Please send any you can con tribute. it is disrespectful to look an elder. Eye contact (other than unwanted staring) is generally regarded as a positive aspect of body language in Western cultures. if not in making decisio ns. it is perfectly workable. Informal male-female touching is less common and can be considered improper in Japan. Groups of people above a certain size a re far more likely to expect firm direction/leadership. whereby young people tend to be instructed not lo ok at someone eye to eye when being told off or disciplined. I welcome refinements and additions to this section. Similarly pointing the foot or feet at anyone is rude. It is a sign of respect to drop your e yes. lack of attention. or person of a rank above you.) This point (thanks R Fox) concerns eye contact. A specific difference regarding eye contact can be found in some bla ck Caribbean cultures however.the gesture evokes feelings of having done something wrong and being chastised for it. indicating deceit. In Arab countries the thumbs-up gesture is rude. The American-style 'OK' sign . (Thanks S Churchill. it is usua lly more of a sideways tilting of the head from one side to the other. When in doubt in Arab environments. etc).a circle made with thumb and index-finger with ot . Therefore seating arrangements for large groups should provide a clear position of control for the chairperson or event leaders. using the right hand for everyth ing is a safer idea. given the 'Western' expectation in such situations. for example.

Beckoning gestures in Eastern cultures are commonly made with the palm down. In general. especially for doing business in Japan (thanks R Wilkes): High-pitched laughter means nervousness.) His team sits on the same side of the table in descending rank. this indicates deep thought. The offensive British/Western two-fingered V-sign is not necessarily offensive i n Japan and may be considered positive like the Western palm-outwards 'victory' or 'peace' V-sign in the West. Loss of eye contact is quite normal with lower ranking people: if they drop thei r head. notably Latin America.) Arab handshaking tends to be more frequent and less firm . aside from using c onventional (US/UK-style) head nodding and shaking. pr eferably in a wallet. and then stored. This room can be a great place to cut deals.) Japanese businesses (unless they cannot afford it) have two types of meeting roo m: a Western style room with central table. Touching the forehead with the index finger means someone (or an action) is stupid or crazy. The head of the table is not generally used in bi lateral (two parties) meetings except by people brought in to advise on componen ts of the agenda. The sofa room is for non-antagonistic meetings. Germany and the Middle East. with head movements. whe reas Western beckoning is generally palm up. if he has a firm steer to give. There the host of the meeting sits nearest to (and prefe rably with his back to) the door. and I welcome more information especially from pe ople overseas as to precise variations to US/UK conventional meanings in signall y yes and no. Business cards should be exchanged at the first possible opportunity. In Russia the se meanings are reversed. Depth of bow is impossible to judge w ithout immense experience: it is sufficient for a Westerner to bow shallowly. The chief guest sits opposite him and similarly th e minions decline to the side. and is therefore a signal of relative status between two people. . when the depth of the bow increase s with the amount of respect shown. (This is a refinement of previous details about he ad movements in body language. Here are some Japanese body language insights. He is considering what is being said by the subordinates and does not need vi sual distraction. Holding a person's identity in one hand is casual/disrespectful.he is first in the way of any invader to the room. The trouser pocket is a rude place. on the upper half of the body. and anything else. (This is probably chivalric in origin . In Japan the male bow is still commonly used. the 45 degree rule seems to apply here .better to sit on adjacent sides than across from one another. he will instruct his deputy and this will be relayed immediately. In some countries. Turkey and Bulgaria for example. moving the head up/d own or from side to side may have additional or different meanings to those conv entionally interpreted in the UK/US.. do not offer a handshake. and a room with sofas. However. The card r eceived should be held in both hands and examined carefully.on meeting and depart ing. Blowing one's nose into a handkerchief in public is obscene. A great boss may spend much of the meeting with his eyes close d. in Turkey. On introduction.is a rude gesture in some cultures. Greece. some people may also signal 'no' by moving their head up. the 'table' room is where trans actions are formalised. Specifically. even several times in the same day. (What other bodily waste do you wrap up in cotton and put in your pocket?. In The Netherlands people touch the temple with the index finger in order to ind icate someone (or an action) is smart or intelligent.her fingers fanned or outstretched . Nevertheless.

.Otherwise. but is often intimate and enabling for sexual and romantic re lationships: full constant eye-to-eye contact is helpful for intimacy.. M Baniasadi. for instance those not good at dancing. Action).sexual body language Many signals in flirting. but. and within reason is more of a game than a set o f fixed limits. Interest. with one notable exception: touching the tip of the nose from straight ahead signals 'I/me'. In many ways courtship echoes the selling and advertising model AIDA (At tention. Just as a business needs to fi nd the best markets and ways of reaching its target audience. personal space becomes the arena for ritual and play. For example. Of course lots of flirting. Sitting opposite someone is an example.to nightclubs and dating websites . a point commonly ignored by people looking for a mate. The environment in which the dating activity is pursued equ ates to market/audience-targeting in business. Knowing about flirting body language becomes more useful in a favourable environ . "Yes. Different tolerances and tacit (implied) permissions apply. an d particularly to R Wilkes for the Japanese section. but for the purposes of t his article it's easier to keep the two situations separate. The Japanese language does have a word for 'no' but it is rarely used in busines s for fear of causing offence or loss of face. Personal space must also be considered in a different way in social-sexual situa tions compared to work and non-sexual situations: At work. and th ose not good at writing and communicating online. which is confro ntational at work.but crucially these environments are highly un suitable markets for many people. and more. G van Duin. as is ful l frontal facing between male and female for obvious reasons. pure body signals are quite similar to Western ones. nothing happens without first attracting attention. (Thanks to D Ofek. I welcome refinements and additions for body language in other cultures. And while not technically part of body language. People seeking a mate are effecti vely marketing themselves. Commonly people head to where everyone else goes . environment is a vital aspect o f dating and mating.) flirting. Dancing is further example of how body language operates at a different level in sexual-social situations. Dancing relates strongly to the attention stage of the dating/mating/courtship p rocess. and the fundamental principles of social/work bo dy language also apply to the development or blocking of sexual relationships. so in dating peopl e can seek environments where they can best display their strengths and where re levant 'buyers' will be. This is also known as the Hierarchy of Effec ts. S Aydogmus. Desire. L Campbell. There are some differences which can completely change the nature of a signal gi ven in a sexual context. goes on at work. The attention stage is even more critical in crowded and highly competitive environments such as nightclubs and dating websites. dating and mating . In a sexual flirting context however. Please send any you can contribute. courtship." is substantially mo re acceptable. the primary considera tion is given to respecting the personal zones and not invading closer than the situation warrants. F Suzara. dating and mating body language are covered in the gen eral translation signals above. It's a ritual and a game which humans have played for thousands of years. since steps must be successfully completed in order to achieve the sale at t he end.

females also express interest using the general signalling explained in the earlier sections . evolved over many thousands of years. liking what is seen. beware of concluding anything base d on a single signal. eye-widening . pupil dilating .interest. As with interpreting body language generally. and leg-crossing signals can all be due simply to comfort. Here are the most common female flirting body language signals and meanings. eyelash flicker . slightly sideways. attentive ope n alert postures and body positions.subtle movement of eyelashes to widen eyes briefly.anything more than a glance indicates initial interest. hence the potency of red lipstick (suggesting incr eased blood flow) and moistening/licking the lips. The reliability of the signal meaning is strengthened when re peated and/or reinforced with longer eye-contact. about 500 in a lifetime. Female interest in males is relatively selective.. acc ording to experts on the subject: eye contact . Aside from the specific flirting and sexual attraction signs below. Male interest in females is by comparison constant and indiscriminate. and so are able to express interest and availability in far more ways than ma les tend to do. eye catch and look away . e. Foot pointing. shoulder glance . in which essentially women control the chase and the choice. arousal.obvious sign of welcoming and friendliness. This is due fundamentally to human mating behaviour. nota bly in her interview with Martin Bashir in battle for public sympathy following her split with Prince Charles. These differences in b ehaviour perhaps mainly exist because females produce one viable egg per month. Clusters of signals are more reliable.lowering head. most famously employed by Diana Princess of Wales.interest. female indications of interest in a male Females have very many more ways of attracting attention to themselves than male s.ment.displays interest an d vulnerability/coyness. and men respond primarily to female availability and permissions. rather tha n expressions of interest or sexual appeal.establishing eye contact then looking away or down is said by many experts to be the standard initial signal of interest designed to h ook male reaction. active responsive listening.looking sideways towards the target over the shoulder signals availability. and hence interest.significant and potent attraction signal. etc. simultaneously increasing attractiveness/appeal. looking sideways up . smiling . moistening lips . whereas males make several hundred sperm every day. with eyelashes normally slightly lowered .lips are significant in signalling because (psychologists say) they mimic the female labia. parted lips .also kn own as doe-eyes. and looking up .g. Do the math. . prolonged direct eye contact. knee pointing. as they say.

especially when direct facing and not in a crowded environment. Crowded environments distort the personal space rules.g. increases sexual allure since it emphasises leg shape and tone.mirroring or synchronizing gestures and positions is a signal of int erest and attraction.a soft vulnerable area and erogenous zone. o r when sitting one-to-one. fondling cylindrical objects . but just as easily can merely be an initial filt ering stage which progresses no further because other (infinitely variable) pers onal or situational criteria on either or both sides are not met.direction can indicate person of interest.removing fluff. etc. hair. When employed flirtatiously. When considering body language in such detail.. self-touching .often combined with a slight tossing movement of the head. the tongue rises to the roof of the mouth as if ready to swallow.as foot pointing. a dangling earring.drawing attention to sexually appealing parts of the body.additionally self-touching is said to represent t ransference/imagining of being touched . no t always a sexual one. stomach in . etc. foot pointing . cleavage.especially of hair. flicking hair . mirroring . See mirroring. which exposes the soft underarm.a tight-leg cross 'aimed' (combined with eye contact) at a target. showing inner wrist or forearm . canting (tilting) head . leg twine . . Refer also to personal space rul es: less than 4ft between people is personal. self thigh-stroking .. for example projection of the lower lip indicates upset. but in flirting allo ws direct eye contact and optimizes engagement.phallic transference. knee-pointing .same as self-touching.normally a confrontational positioning. a wine glass stem. especially if the foot thrusts in and out of the shoe.a natural respo nse to feeling the urge to appear more appealing. for public tr ansport and dense crowds or queues) override normal interpretations.pouting involves tightening the lips together.sitting or standing. in which the fluff picking is merely a pre text or excuse. remember that males and females r ely greatly on conversation and verbal communication to determine mutual attract ion as soon as the situation allows. hair.and of course demonstration of what it would be like for the target to do the touching. straightening posture .also exposes neck. teasing in other words. less than 18 inches is intimate an d only sustainable when there is some mutual interest and attraction. etc. chest out. Pouting displays various emotions. shoe-dangling . neck. for instance using pens.preening .positive signal of relaxation or of greater promise.standing taller. where implied permissions (e. Body language in flirting can be significan t in indicating a strong match. leaning forward . pouting . . from the target's clothes is playing in the intimate personal space zone.B.usually while sitting down . An attraction pout looks more like the initial forming of a kiss. leaning forwards towards a person indicat es interest and attraction. standing opposite . female leg crossing and uncrossing also has obvious sexual connotations and stimulates basic urges in males. N. thigh. picking fluff .

cowboy stance . Answers on a postcard please. stomach in.certain smells are attractive to females but it's a complex and highly p ersonal area yet to be understood well. The most prevalent signals males use to announce their availability and attract female attention are summarised below. builders.here's an interesting one. smell .is all an extension of personal ity and is therefore part of body language. The male of the species. Most men are interested perpetually in most women. 'chest-thumping' . chest out. dilated pupils. etc. despite a couple of million years of evolution. wide stance . acting the fool. commonly ignored in conventional body langu age flirting guides. hands in pockets . for example widening eyes. but actually mostly women do.a metaphor describing various male antics designed to draw at tention to themselves.thumbs out and pointing to genitals. fingers pointing to genital area. often involving play-punching or wresting other males. and these come into play once eye conta ct and/or proximity is established. nowadays they are everywhere on eve . rather than direct ed at one female in particular. cleanliness.legs apart (standing or sitting) .. active listening reactions. Tattoos have dramatically altered in society's perceptions in the past generation. Male interest is basically always switched on and ready to respond to opportunit y when female availability and interest are signalled and noticed. la ughing too loudly.to increase size. preening and grooming .thumbs in belt loops. room scanning . running hands through or over hair. etc.males who are available and looking for females tend to scan the room. but also to indicate they are avail able themselves. sleeves.adjusting clothes. Male signals of interest in females essentially follow normal body language rule s. head-tossing. dress . lower i ntellect. shoulders back. Men believe they take the lead. Under many circumstances these might be c ategorised under the headings 'pathetic' or 'amusing'. posturing . not to exp lain human relationships. soldiers. and therefore male signals ar e generally designed to attract the attention of any females.erect stance. prolonged direct eye contact. partly to look for available females. tugging at trou ser crotch. has yet to develop much subtle b ody language in this area. sailors.clothing: style. fit. male interest in females As stated earlier there are reasons for the relative sparseness of male signals compared to female flirting signals. etc . ties. tattoos .Also bear in mind that a lot of flirting happens for fun with no intention of pr oceeding to sexual or romantic attachment. forward leaning. Previously considered indicative of lower class. etc. cuffs. The purpose of this page is chiefly to explain body language signals.

5. it's useful to recall the selling and advertising model AIDA (Attention.by signalling inte rest through establishing eye contact. and especially that nothing happens without first attra cting attention.Synchronizing/mirroring each other's body language.Mutual smiling. Tattoos have been a significant part of human customs for thousands of ye ars. 6. looking awa y. because most men are too interested in themselves or the bloody football on the pub telly to notice the eye contact. Significantly. It's a drastic step to improve one's love life. Certain females are attracted by tattoos on men. has for thousands of years bee n an opportunity for males and females to display their physical and sexual pote ntial.Touching (more significantly by the female.Attentive active listening (or simulation of this. etc.again more complex than traditionally considered. In terest. becau se the subject is not as simple and negative as traditionally regarded. in a suitable place of course. women are said generally make the first move . also provide interesting talking points.Eye contact (females typically lower or avert their eyes once firm contact is made). and then confusingly for men. Where the process reaches past the first stage.lots of rhythmic hip and leg work. which is misleading since most flirting happens for f un and rarely progresses beyond non-sexual touching.ryone.Returned eye contact (by male). especially extensive mar kings. but worthy of note.dancing. since the process of obtaining them was painful and even life-threat ening. Tattoos are significant attention-grabbers. 9. babies. posturing (male and female). often before it begins. 8. or the beginnings of extra-marital affairs. body piercings . For the less rhythmic. Action).Talking. (followed for many by mutual tolerance/indifference/loathing and acrimonious break-up). If considering flirting/courtship body language in the context of dating and mat ing. the lesson is to find a different environment. sweating and occasional grunting. subtle touching can happen earlier . The process can disintegrate at any moment. piercings do attract attention and signify the wearer to be different. Desire. here broadly is how it is said b y body language experts to unfold: 1. Flirt ing is a common modern term for the early stages of courtship. For those blessed with a l evel of coordination dancing offers an effective way of attracting attention.Moving together as regards personal space (male typically walks to female). marriage and family life. dancing . With the exception perhaps of pogo-ing and head-banging most dance styles replicate sexual movements . 2. 7. Incidentally courtship traditionally refers to the early stages of a male-female relationship leading up to sex. grooming. stages of courtship The initial stages of a (usually) male-female sexual relationship are commonly r epresented as quite a structured process. They are decorative. 4. and also (in evolutionary terms) suggested strength an d machismo. sufficient mutually to reta in sense of mutual interest).Preening. and given the variety of subjects featured. summarised below. es pecially in crowded competitive situations. 3. contorted facia l expressions.

Curtseying has effectively n ow been replaced by handshaking. The fact that most people do confirms that courtship is more complex than we rea dily understand. however inte restingly even in modern times you will see men slightly nodding their heads in an involuntary 'semi-bow' when meeting a person and wishing to show respect or a dmiration. and at this stage can become more intimate and daring). Bowing remains s ignificant in Japanese culture.Bowing is mainly a male gesture. For added dramatic effect the feet may be moved tightly together. by both hands. As such. and in th eir most extreme versions curtseying and bowing gestures are quite similar. Curtsey/curtsy . lite rally putting the bower at a lower level than the other person. Alcohol a ccelerates things even more. Females give lots of subtle signals. tend not to repeat them too often. the small nod or bow of a head can be a clue to perceived se niority in relationships. although as with male bowing it is possible som etimes to see small head bows by women when meeting and shaking hands with someo . in wh ich you might see an older more flamboyant and deeper curtsey entailing one knee bending sideways and the other leg bending behind. A ver y traditional Western bow involves a deeper bend combined with the (normally) ri ght-leg pushing backwards or 'scraping' on the ground.The curtsey is the female equivalent of the male bow. and no doubt in real life too. The bow was in olden times a standard way for men to greet or acknowledge another person of perceived or officially higher status. Depth of bend reflects depth of respect or appre ciation. and the other arm extended. Bending the upper body downwards towar ds another person or group is a signal of appreciation or subservience. at knee-height. The bow is also a gesture of apprecia tion and thanks which survives in entertainment and performance. to a very much more pronounced bend of the body from the hips. albeit it within more formal protocols and traditions. or ending a stage or dance performance. A cu rtsey is a bend of the knees. or sweeping extravagantly i n a circular motion. The effect can be augmented by the bower's hand pressing hori zontally on the stomach. made all the more dramatic if combined with removing a hat. Bowing . combined with a slight bow of the head. This skirt-lift dates from olden times when this prevented a long skirt from to uching wet or muddy ground. where the gesture carries a similar deferential meaning. and infe r lack of interest in a male failing to respond. Males tend to react to obvious signs of availability shown by females but miss m any subtle signals. You'll see variations of the above sequence in body language books. The female curtsey gesture survives in traditional s ituations such as meeting royalty. hence the expression 'bow ing and scraping'. which a re so significant in one-to-one situations. Such behaviour is rare outside of Christmas pantomimes these days. The fundamental body language o f bowing is rooted in showing subservience by lowering one's gaze and body. It's a wonder that anyone gets together at all. A generation ago this process took a little longer than it does today. bowing and curtseying body language Although now rare in Western society bowing and curtseying are interesting becau se they illustrate the status and relationship aspects of body language. Male bowing tra ditionally varied from a modest nod of the head. and someti mes a lifting of the skirt or dress at each side. Bowing has long been more significant and complex in E astern cultures..

american leg cross . and in e xtreme cases retching.describing gestures or facial expressions. auto-contact . vomiting.indicating need to speak. The Human Genome project. that are not symmetrical (equal on both sides). is a science which over-arches the study of body language. asymmetric/asymmetry . notably among males. which while in many cases will speed as a physiological response to stress. and ongoing) is probabl y the largest anthropological study ever performed. The w ord anthropology is from Greek anthropos meaning human being.actions stimulated through unconscious mirroring. like psychology and ethnology and ethology. hence the name. and how these key aspects inter-relate. which basically mapped the human genetic code (started 1990. but importantly people's body language continues to give much smaller unconscious signals which can be linked to these old formal g estures and their meanings. quickened pulse-rate. This makes a figure-4 shape.especially culturally.effectively involuntary stress-induced physiologic al behaviours. blushing. alerting/announcement gestures . American leg cross because of its supposed popularity UK.listening very attentively and empathizing and reflecting bac k understanding through body language and usually words too.positive body language reactions to a speaker. and provides useful (and for serious students. Breathing rate is perhaps the exception. active listening . for example lip-biting or face-touching. especially a s mile. body language glossary This is not an exhaustive collection of body language terminology .the study of humankind in all respects . shaking. .small signals given when anxious or when behaving in a way that does not comfortably match the feelings. for example raising a hand. such as crying. Bowing and curtseying as conscious intentional gestures have effectively disappe ared from Western behaviour. completed in 2003. fainting. Anthropology. s ocially and in evolutionary terms. absorbed actions .the 'American' or 'Figure-4' leg ng leg being crossed just above the knee by the ankle ing leg. back-channel signals .ne regarded as superior or important. can often be controlled and slowed or de epened given suitable conscious effort. adaptors . cross entails the supporti or lower calf of the cross The posture is called the in the US compared to the anthropology . or taking a breath and lifting the shoulders.describing self-touching gestures and actions. etc.just a summa ry of the main and most interesting definitions. Anthropology h as been studied one way or another for thousands of years and became established under that name in the 1500s. autonomic/automatic signals . which tends to indicate in congruence or a mixed signal and not what it might initially seem to mean. whi ch are self-comforting signals. Involuntary in the sense that it is virtually impossible to control these signals because they are controlled by the very basic part of the brain responsible for our most basic bodily function s. essential) con text for understanding the reasons and purposes of body language.

cluster . form a defence or obstruction between two people. displacement .submissive behaviour.cognition is unde rstanding things through thought. for example stretching and relaxing. picking at finger(s) or thumb.gestures which reinforce the meaning of spoken w ords. Aside from the obvious . See Emotional Intelligence. etc. such a folded arms. barrier . Conflicting body language signals can sometimes indica te this attitude or reaction in a person. Regarded as a signal of reluctance or readiness to depart. and lots of going out for walks and visits to the cinema or theatre. etc.a stress signal typically prompted by suppression of natural reac tion due to fear or other inhibition.term for a group of body language signals. The word erogenous derives from Eros. for example biting fingernails. emphatic/emphasizing gestures . which requires awareness of emotional behaviour and ability to de al with people sensitively. perhaps with a little touching of hands or kissing. or adjusting clothing.conflicting understanding or feelings . which indi cate this. hence compliance signals or signs. from which the word erotic also derives. e.Intelligence Quotient . Courtship in olden times (broadly si nce the middle ages up until the mid-late 1900s) referred to quite formal steps of increasing familiarity between male and female. Emotional Intelligence is based on 'f eeling intelligence' (rather than IQ . the Greek god of love (Cupid is Roman). emotional intelligence .describing signals in which the hands or arms or a table. which more reliably indicat e meaning or mood than a single signal. dissonance is disharmony or conflict.the word erogenous first appeared in the late 1800s which su ggests when the effect was first analysed and recorded in any serious sense.an old term for (typically) male-female relations from initial meeti ng through to going-out relationship stage. not until the wedding night. jabbing fingers. usually quite inappropriate to the needs of the situation. buttress stance . Sex might not rear its scary head for week s. usually with the foot pointing outwards from the body. Erogenous zones contain high concentration o f nerve endings and are significant in flirting and sex. denial .signalling prompted by stress.also known as EQ. distraction . thereby betraying true feeling or motive . especially if the female was from an elite or religiously obsessed family.gestures which reinforce the rhythm of speech. and the capability to understand and communicate with others very empathically. This is a widely used term in psychology and the effect arises very commonly in relation ships and communications. weighing hands. or pausing to take a drink when an emergency arises. compliance .g. while the front leg is forward .based on logical intelligence).. Nowadays 'courtship' is a much speedier affair and among modern young people can be started.signals of denial effectively undo or contradict more conscious typical ly false or manufactured body language. through to intimacy. and sometimes. cognitive dissonance .. courtship . fully co nsummated and effectively forgotten in a matter of minutes.any part of the human body particularly sensitive to touching a nd sexual arousal .weight bearing leg is straight. erogenous zone .baton signals . months or years.

author of The Naked Ape.quickly raising and lowering both eyebrows . meaning able t o touch. Incidentally the G in G-spot is named aft er Ernst Grafenberg (1881-1957) a German-born gynaecological doctor and scientis t who as well as being an expert on the female orgasm. illustrative gesture . erogenous zones include necks. S o is the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. eye flash .ethology is primarily the science of animal behaviour.genital areas and bottoms and breasts. haptics . is an ethologist.a sudden direct glance to attract attention or warn. ethology . and where this involves behaviour it certainly relates to body language. hybrid expression . it relates strongly to human body language. derived from the Greek word ethos meaning character or disposition. An eyebrow flash can therefore a lso be a signal of positive interest.usually the most dominant and dexterou s finger. Charl es Darwin's work pioneered much ethological thinking. The establishment of th e science and word ethnology is credited to Slovakian/Austrian Adam Franz Kollar (1718-1783). Where ethology considers animal evolution and communications. Austrian zoologist and 1973 Nobel Prizewinner Konrad Lorenz (1903-89) was a founding figure.gestures which shape or describe the physical dimensions of something by using the hands in the air. The modern s tudy and awareness of ethnology is arguably hampered by sensitivities around rac ism.a term apparently originated by Charles Darwin. face frame . especially to ma ke sense of hybrid expressions which contain different meanings. acknowledgement. Desmond Morris. or surprise. Hybrid expressions provide further emphasis of the need to avoid reading sin gle signals. armpits and lips. concerned with ethnic effects. Ethology became properly established during the early 1900s. from the Greek word haptikos. . Ethnology is a branch of anthropology. for example a smile with a head-turn away from the person the smile is meant f or.1952. a nobleman. Combinations of signals and context are necessary. from the longer term kinesics). Ethnic differences between people obviously exist. was first to invent and c ommercially market a IUD (intrauterine device or coil) for female birth control. eyebrow flash . society's understanding o f these issues remains clouded and confused. as it once was. ethnology .first finger of the hand . it refers to a facial expression which combines two seemingly different or opposing meanings . inner side of arms and wrists. which indicates when human touch began to be a serious area of study.upwards eye-roll signalling frustration.typically in greeti ngs. The wor d ethnology is derived from Greek ethnos meaning nation. The word ethology first a ppeared in English in the late 1800s. kine . index finger . eye shrug . and ironically where ove r-sensitivity to racism and equality obstructs debate. The word haptics in this sense entered the English language in the 1800 s.the study of human touch.an obscure term describing a single body language signal (devised by body language expert Dr Ray Birdwhistell. usually followe d by some other more specific signal.framing the face with the hands to hold or attract listeners' atten tion. professor and librarian who became a Court Councilor f or the Habsburg Monarchy of the Kingdom of Hungary. recognition. hence used mostly in pointing gestures. c. but increasing ly extends to human behaviour and social organization.the study of different ethnic people and their differences and relat ionships.

. When a person's signals are mirrored the unconscious mind t hinks. and which therefore offer clues even when someone is generally in goo d control of their outgoing body language signals. I like this person because we are similar.a branch of psychology developed in the 1960s which combines language.gestures used consciously to convey a specific message. unless concentrating determinedly. The word physiognomy is derived from medieval Latin. cooperation. often called a phallic symbol. Physiognomy refer s to facial features and expressions which indicate the person's character or na ture. body movement and thought to optimise self-control and development.the technical term for body language. NLP/Neuro-linguistic programming . Kinesics is pronounced 'kineesi cks' with stress on the 'ee'). Yoni was originally an old Sanskrit word. and relationships and communications with others. physiognomy . etc. labial tractors . micro-gestures . meaning motion. oo. usually between two people. leakage .tiny body language 'leakage' signals. Pacing refers to the mirroring of someone's speed of move ments. like w. which su rvives as perhaps a genetically inherited signal of peace. usually intentionally. mask/masking .an obscure yet related concept to body language.the synchronizing or matching of body language (and speech character istics). often unconsciously sent and interpreted. NLP research has fuelled much of the analytical aspects of modern popular body language. meaning (the art or capability of) judging a pe rson's nature from his/her facial features and expressions. mirroring . "This person is like me and agrees with the way I am. phallus/phallic . to deceive others as to true feelings or motives. s uch as extending the thumb and little finger by the ear to say "Phone me.inside surface of the hand .significant in body language because an open palm has for thousands of years indicated that no weapon is concealed. notably mirroring and eye movements.kinesics .a wonderful term for the muscles around the mouth. The female equivalent term is a yonic symbol. mime/miming gestures . palm .leakage signals are the small signs which are most difficult to contro l or mask. The word la bial in phonetics means closure or part closure of the mouth. or ethnic origin." or wi ping imaginary sweat from the brow to express relief after a crisis subsides. Mirroring works like this because similar signals produce unconscious feel ings of affirmation. Phallic refers to something which looks like or represents a pen is. metronome/metronomic signals . and additionally r efers to the resulting vowel sounds produced. and earlier Greek (phusiognominia). from the Greek word kinesis.using body language. etc. meaning source or womb. from yoni. Phallic symbols are prevalent in psychology a nd aspects of flirting or sexual body language. and Empathy.a termed devis ed by body language expert Judi James. more likely to be seen and reacted to unconsciously rather than consciously. The word kinesics was first used in English in th is sense in the 1950s. submissi veness. and he/she likes me too.phallus means penis. Hindu for vulva and a symbolic circular stone represent ing divine procreation." See NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Prog ramming).these are any rhythmic tappings or movements whic h indicate a readiness or self-prompting to speak or take action. from the ancient Greek word phallos of th e same meaning. which helps build feelings of trust and emp athy.

attract sympathy. Various meanings very dependant on context and other signals. anger. feeling faint. pupil .(noun) . Synchronizing is technically more appropriate since it n aturally includes audible signals (voice pace and pitch.the branch of biology concerned with how living organisms function. physiological signals . attention. pseudo-infantile gestures .a slang term similar to 'a show' recently adopted by body language commentators which means a signal. etc). Enlarged pupils are not a symptom of smoking drugs as commonly believ ed.a 'show' is term recently adopted by body language commentators referring to a body language signal. usually resulting from shock or nervousness. like tapping the head repeatedly or making circular motions with the hands. whereas the mirro ring term normally makes people think of visual signals only. e tc. The word is Hall' s adaptation of the word proximity. surprise. meaning closeness or nearness.the technical term for the personal space aspect of body language. The pupil generally enlarges (dilates) in the dark . submission/submissive . often signalling el evated thinking or arrogance. T he word and much of the fundamental theory was devised by Edward Twitchell Hall. not technical. and contracts in brightness.forming the fingers into a a pointed roof shape. fear. show . . which in body language can be signals such as swe ating. blushing.the round black centre of the eye which enlarges or contracts to let mor e or less light into the eye. See mirroring. repu lsion. or to induce feelings of compassion. tell .(noun) . nauseous.standing leg cross.physiology .body language produced by the unconscious basic brain wh ich controls bodily functions. From Lati n word meaning 'open mouth'. or unconsc ious as in slightly lowering the head and stance.a 'tell' . and linked to universal faci al expressions and recognition. yawning.a technical term equating to mirroring or matching of body langu age between two people.describing body language which signals inferiority feeli ngs towards another person. Fo r terminology to become casually 'hip' in this way reflects the mainstream appea l of body language as a subject. notably parts of the human body.gestures signalling attempting to increase mental wor k-rate or activity. proxemics . self-motivating gestures . weeping. synchronizing .a fixed grimace. typically represented as happiness.first identified by Charles Darwin. breathlessness. steepling . primary emotions . disgust. The principles of synchronized body language definitely include audible signals in addition to phy sical visual signs. The term is slang really. rictus . as if winding the body up. Enlarged pupils are also associated with desire a nd allure. sadness. often made to a vert attack. etc.gestures of childlike vulnerability. an American anthropologist in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This is probably a confusion arising from the fact that conditions are relat ively dark when such judgements are made. scissor stance . May be conscious and formal as in bowing.

No 3875. Body Language for Dummies. Lorenz. G. 1966. It's more for interest and to make a general point: Body language and the spoken words themselves do not provide all the clues.signals between lovers or intimate couples which discreetly convey messages to each other and which are not usually intended for anyone else . Doubleday J S Bruner and R Taquiri. Cherry. Random House Other significant and founding body language writers include: Tinbergen. Doubleday E T Hall. P L. Ortega Y Gasset. The Territorial Imperative. 2005. Handbook of Social Psy chology. 1959. The Body Language Bible. The Naked Ape. E R Sorenson and W V Friesen. K. Caxton P Ekman. Addison Wesley Robert Ardrey. Goffman. 1954. The author Roger E Axtell writes entertainingly and informatively about internat ional body language and behaviours. Kinzell. 2007. other audible signals This section is not particularly scientific.tie signs/signals . The Hidden Dimension. C R. A E.A Study of Man's Spatial Relationship. Body Language. G F. J. 1967. Harper Collins E Kuhnke. E. Mahl. 1921 Charles Darwin. Willhelm Wundt. 2001. 4 Apr 1969 C Boyes. Carpenter. body language references sources and books Some of the older books listed here have since been republished by different pub lishers. 1971. Frank. Schlefen. Nielsen. Parloff & Boomer. Need to Know Body Language. Dittman. Wiley Judi James. C. Cape Julius Fast. ther . Dell Desmond Morris. N. Mehr abian & Wiener. The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals. 2008. 1966. Watchtel. L K. Pan D Hartland and C Tosh. Science Vol 164. 1872. A F. Murray Edward Twitchell Hall. Guide to Body Language. Proxemics . The Perception of People. International Universities Press E T Hall. 1963. The Language of Gestures. The Silent Language. Pan-Cultural Elements in Facial Displays of Emotion.

raspberries.. as if mumbling) pauses.. But what about all the other noises and silences from people's mouths? Other audible signals which are not generally regarded as part of body language or non-verbal communications include for example: pitch (the contant musical note of the voice) pace (speed or rate of talking) volume . and how this changes) emphasis (of syllables. Words themselves convey their own meaning. We might not easily know w hat the purpose is. as if talking to a big group.. bu t all of these sounds (and silences) are quite different from the spoken words. including: accents and dialects accent affectations ('received' or conditioned. grammar. being lost for words." "You know. for example social climbers. in others. and other intakes and exhalations of breath habits.. such as "I think..for example lots of projecti on. and thereby of relationship and attitude towards other people. teeth-sucking. word-choice. stuttering (as distinct from a stammer) overtalking (feeling the need to fill a silence) interrupting holding back (someone has something to say but isn't saying it) coughs and grunts (some types of coughing suggest something other than a tickly throat) belching and burping whistling tongue clicking. and they can all convey more and/or different meaning compared to the spoken wor ds themselves.. or separate sign als." "Like.. but being aware of it is the start of being able to understa nd it better. etc. malapropisms. and possibly also in ourselves. tuts. Other aspects can be more subtle indicators of social background or aspiration. mispronunciation) drying up. All of this audible signalling happens for a purpose..permanent or temporary. etc Technically these signals are not body language or non-verbal communications. and ordinary people who have a 'tele phone voice'. These other audible signals represent a big and complex area which seems yet to have been researched and analysed to the extent that body language has." laughing and giggling (which can be interspersed within speech.a kind of showing-off or protection. silences and hesitation 'erm's and 'erh's gasps. motive and personality.from whispering to shouting volume variation (how volume changes in phrases or longer passages of speech) intonation and 'musicality' (how the pitch changes according to what is being sa id) timbre (quality or sound of the voice. Commonly the more noticeable unnecessary signals are embellishments or defensive ness .e are others. not least w hen we think about vocabulary. words or phrases) projection (where the voice is being projected to . false or exaggerated . mood.. Also cul . Other audible signals (apart from the words themselves) also give lots of clues about feeling. such as nervous laughter) and all sorts of other audible/vocal effects. or a voice for talking to authority figures) mistakes (spoonerisms. which is another subject. or none.

team building. swot analysis. samples. reiki amusement/stress relief funny and inspirational stories. sleeping aids. tests and quizzes . business management glossaries/terminology glossaries.. dictionaries. self-discovery. browse categories business/selling sales. resignation letters diagrams and tools free templates. training. reference letters. initially simply being aware of these signals will begin to shape an appreciation of their significance. lists of terms human resources recruitment and selection. change management writing/communicating cv templates. Johari enthusiasts might enjoy seeking feedback and asking others about what the ir own signals mean. acronyms. and in many cases their underlying meanin gs. job interviews teambuilding/games activities. expressions and words origins Clean Language Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains Personality Styles and Psychometrics Models search businessballs website e. puzzles lifestyle/environment climate change. marketing. quizzes. cv template. Certain principles of graphology (handwriting analysis) are helpful in understan ding how people use words and language in a wider sense.Neuro-Linguistic Programming Assertiveness and Self-Confidence Emotional Intelligence cliches.g. The style and nature of our written and vocal expressions inevitably provide a reflection of our feelin gs and personality. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------see also Transactional Analysis Empathy . quotes. Despite this. strategy. which hinders translation and spe cific interpretation. that is if you/they are aware of the behaviours. self-help. I am grateful to Sandra McCarthy for her help in producing this guide to body la nguage.including Levels of Listening Dating and matchmaking NLP . games. motivation. humour personal development personal development.. resources. life balance leadership/management delegation.tural differences are potentially influential. change management. icebreakers.

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