Friday, January 31, 2014

Body Language - saying so much, without speaking

The majority of actual conversation is composed of body language, so it’s obviously important to have an awareness of these non verbal cues, if you want to get your message across. It’s also important to be able to recognize them in others

Your level of confidence affects your body language, very much like how real words are pronounced and stressed. Each action, subtle or emphasized, should properly compliment the idea, whether or not you choose to use it with words. People will understand your body language only if you confidently present and project yourself.

Positive Body Language

Positive body language is defined as showing gestures or facial expressions that convey an optimistic or positive response, or simply meaning "yes". The most obvious form is to simply nod your head in agreement. Other notable facial expressions would be smiling, brightening, or opening your eyes wider and showing enthusiasm and interest with a gaping mouth.

Open arms, an openly expressed torso and widely spaced legs are also known as positive forms of body language, which means that you are welcoming the thought or you are positively responding to the conversation. Mirroring is another technique where you tend to imitate at least one gesture that the other person is doing to show agreement.

Negative Body Language

Negative body language is the opposite, where you show disagreement or refute part or the entire idea of any given conversation. You can show negative responses without words by shaking your head, frowning, gritting your teeth, or raising your eyebrows. These classic facial expressions will immediately show your objection.

Crossed arms and standing your ground with firm feet placement is a great way to express non verbally. Raising your index finger when trying to emphasize an idea against the subject being raised often helps. Make sure you don’t point directly at any individual, since you're particularly addressing the concept and are not setting out to be personal.

The idea between positive and negative body language is to show your response in a way that coincides with the words you're saying or are about to say - something that's particularly important in public speaking

Here are some more of the valuable applications of body language:

Some elements of female body language and male body language are different. However there are a number of areas where they overlap.

Eyes And Eyebrows

The position and movement of your eyebrows are some of the most noticed elements when you communicate with a person face-to-face.

A classic example on body language that conveys apprehension is when you have your eyebrows converging in the middle, as with frowning. Even if you talk softly and slowly, the person whom you are interacting with may think that you are almost about to lose your temper.


Another body part that is usually interpreted for the probable mood of a person is the mouth.

A retracted lower lip that is almost bit by the upper teeth is usually a sign that the person is holding back and waiting for affirmation or action from the other person.

A retracted upper lip that's bit by the lower teeth usually signifies a person who's holding back and keeping mixed reactions, as with a reaction to the message being conveyed by the other.

Such small movements of the lips have significant implications to the person seeing them and may serve as a basis to either continue or halt the communication process.


The arms and legs are considered responsible for a larger concept of body language, as these are more profound and have a heavier impact.

Crossing the arms over the chest usually signifies doubt, mistrust, impatience, or closed-mindedness. Combined with the body resting on one leg and having the other stepped away and angled, the whole idea of this unwelcoming look is heightened.

Examples on body language may be corrected with appropriate gestures by practicing and internalizing how you would probably feel if you were the one seeing those actions you are doing. Actions often speak louder than words, so it's best to always be conscious of your gestures and movements.

Making a “Steeple” with Your Hands

This is often used in superior/subordinate interactions. It can demonstrate confidence and a 'know-it-all' attitude. There are 2 versions:

  1. The raised steeple - when the person is talking, expressing their opinion
  2. The lowered steeple - when the person is listening The steeples should be interpreted in conjunction with other signs. If they are preceded by positive body language, for example talking with palms open and leaning forward, then the steeple indicates a positive conclusion is likely.

If it follows negative signs, for example legs crossed and arms folded, then the outcome is likely to be negative.

Palm gripping

Holding your head up high, chin out and one palm gripping the other hand behind your back. This is a confidence/superiority position. You have your stomach, heart and throat regions exposed which is an unconscious act of fearlessness. If you are in stressful situation assuming this position can help calm you down and take control of the situation.

Arms crossed

This is a negative or defensive position. Most people will assume this position if they disagree with what they are hearing. Even if someone is agreeing with you, if their arms are crossed they will have a negative attitude towards you. Their negative attitude will continue until they have uncrossed their arms, once they have done this you will have a better chance of bringing them round to your point of view.

Mirroring positions

You often see two people talking, standing in the same pose. This indicates that they are in agreement with each other, they like each other. If one uncrosses their arms, the other will do the same. If one stands with one foot forward, the other will assume the same position.

To establish a rapport with someone, mirror their poses, or even their breathing - this will have the effect of relaxing them and giving them a non-verbal indication that you are both thinking along the same lines.

Body positioning

The easy way to tell whether the person you're talking to is enjoying the conversation: The person is standing facing you with their body and feet pointing towards you and mirroring your positions. The tell-tale signs that someone's feeling uncomfortable or not enjoying the conversation: The person's head is turned towards you and appears engaged in the conversation - smiling, nodding etc, but their body and feet are pointing away from you.

 If someone's body is turned away from you it will be facing the place where they'd rather be. If they're pointed towards another person or the exit then it's time to terminate the conversation or do something else to attract their full attention

7 Tips for a Confident Handshake

A person who is confident gives a firm handshake (palms pointing downwards in most cases).

Someone who is nervous, or shy gives a wilted handshake (palms pointing upwards in most cases).

  1. Smile while shaking hands, but don't smile for too long because it might give the perception that you're gullible or not too smart.
  2. Make eye contact for around 3 seconds while shaking hands.
  3. If you're sitting down, stand up to show respect when shaking hands. Remaining seated while shaking hands may give the impression that you're not interested in the other party, and may offend them.
  4. With sweaty hands, wipe off the sweat with a napkin or handkerchief before shaking hands.
  5. Extend your arm outward to show them your enthusiasm and confidence.
  6. Your palm should come in contact with their palm. This conveys openness and sincerity, and proves that you're not hiding anything.
  7. Shake hands firmly, but don't give too much pressure.


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