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Thread: My Thoughts On Body Language

  1. #1
    RokStarz Guest

    Default My Thoughts On Body Language

    Most everyone's body language is a bit different. Some body language might represent learned behaviors, while some of it might also be cultural (a thumbs up means drastically different things in various parts of the world).

    There does seem to be a certain amount of it hard coded into our DNA however. Studies have been done illustrating the movements of blind children and their similarities with children who had perfect sight. Hand movements when illustrating points, pouting and other emotional gestures are examples of this kind of behavior.

    When trying to read someone's body language, it is also important to note that some language might simply be the result of circumstance. For example, maybe the person you are reading is cold and has crossed their arms in response.

    How to Read Body Language

    Here is a handy list of body language signs. Given the proper context, these nonverbal cues can help you with interpreting body language.

    Examples of Body Language

    Body hunched - low confidence
    Clenched fists - aggression
    Crossed arms - shut off, uncomfortable
    Dragging feet - lethargy
    Dropped shoulders - lethargy or weariness
    Fidgeting with objects, hands - nervous
    Hands behind head - arrogance, superiority
    Hands on hips - in defiance
    Hands on table - in agreement
    Head down - timidity
    Head rested on hand - bored, disinterested
    Leaning away - discomfort with the situation
    Leaning in closer - interest, comfortable
    Looking at watch - boredom
    Looking away to the left - lying
    Messaging temples - anxiety
    Nodding - interest, agreement or understanding
    No eye contact - lack of confidence, lying
    Shaking of legs - a sign of stress
    "Shifty" eyes - nervousness
    Stroking of chin - thinking, in thought
    Tapping foot - impatient or nervous
    Wiping hands on clothes - nervousness

    How to Tell if Someone is Lying

    One of the most sought after secrets of understanding body language is the ability to tell if someone is lying to you. Does body language tell if someone is lying? While it is a nearly impossible to know for sure if someone is telling the truth, there are a few signs of lying you can keep an eye out for.

    The first symptom of lying is lack of eye contact. If someone is noticeably nervous and shifting their eyes around, or better, looking to the side as the speak to you, this is a common symptom of lying. Watch the subject's hands, if they touch their hand/mouth/throat while speaking, this is another common behavior.

    Study the person's emotions and their statements. If their body gestures do not match, or are oddly timed ("I really like my gift!" and then smiling afterwards), there is a decent chance that they may not be telling the truth. Further signs of lying are if the person turns away, shifts their body somehow in another direction, or places objects in between the two of you.

    Liars, especially liars who are not well practiced, will show signs of nervousness. Use your own judgment in regards to the circumstances and context, and remember, you can never be 100% sure.

    Improve Your Body Language

    Improving your body language will help you come across as more confident. It will also help make you a more persuasive salesman, which is a trait that can aid you in a variety of circumstances. It is important to understand that you shouldn't force your body language, but rather be aware of it to help control your emotions and tactics. Forced body language can come across as awkward and strange. Most of us can usually spot unnatural movements.

    There are different body language expectations for different circumstances. On a job interview, you want to appear calm, cool and collected. You want to come across as confident and in control. You do not want to come across as creepy. Prolonged eye contact, close talking -- these may be appropriate on an intimate date, but not in a job interview!

    Here are some tips we've come across to help improve your body language:

    • Smile and laugh - Laughter is contagious, it will also help put you in a positive mood. Your body language will naturally improve because of it.
    • Slow down, breathe regularly - Nothing will stress you out more than moving at full speeds. Don't walk fast, don't talk fast and remember to breathe. Not only will this help calm you down, it'll calm down the people around you who pick up on stressful vibes.
    • Use your body with purpose - No fidgeting and keep your hands out of your pockets. Don't be afraid to take up a little space. Show you are comfortable in the situation, not put-up-your-feet comfortable, but that you are in control and unafraid. Use your hands to expand on points or call attention to important statements.
    • Hold objects by your side - If you have a drink in hand, keep it to your side, not in front of your chest. Holding your drink in front of your chest can express the same feelings as if you were standing with your arms crossed. Relax.
    • Show your interest - Nod occasionally to let the person you are interacting with know that you are listening and are in agreement. Leaning in is another way to show your interest, just be careful not to lean in to soon or to often, or you may creep them out.
    • Eye contact is powerful - Make eye contact with the people you are talking to, just don't stare. Breaking eye contact downward is generally more positive than breaking eye contact to the sides. If you have trouble looking people in the eye, try looking at their nose instead. They won't be able to tell.
    • Mirror - This is a tough one because it can be hard to pull off. When two people have strong rapport, their actions and body language will naturally start to mirror each other. If you can, you can stimulate this by consciously doing it. Just be careful, as if you get it wrong, it will be really awkward for everyone.

    Also - here are ten more quick tips:

    Tip 1. - Eyes
    Dilated pupils - the person is interested in the topic.
    People say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. They can tell so much information about the person if you know what you are looking for. As in most situations, the same signal can be interpreted in a different way. It depends entirely on the circumstances at hand. The example above could also mean that the person is on drugs, or it could mean that they are focused.

    Tip 2. - Hands
    Open palm.- the person is relaxed and comfortable.
    The hands have many expressions and are a good place to start when learning how to read body language. Generally when some ones hands are open it means that their defenses are relaxed.

    Tip 3 - Mimicking
    When you are talking to someone, if they are mimicking your body position and action it means that they are comfortable in the situation and most likely interested by you and what you are saying.

    Tip 4 - Eyes
    If someone's eyes are gazing to the side it is a trait that they are feeling guilty. Likewise if they are gazing down this express's shame. Remember the eyes have so many meanings and it's easy to make the wrong evaluation. Practice makes perfect.

    Tip 5 - Arms
    The main two expressions with arms is that they are either closed (folded) or open. When folded the person is possibly angry or disapproving. When their arms are open the person is in an honest position and is accepting of the situation.

    Tip 6 - Rubbing of the Chin
    If someone is rubbing their chin it generally means that they are thinking.

    Tip 7 - Feet
    When you are in conversation with someone you can tell if they are comfortable and interested by what you are saying by their feet position. When standing opposite one another the other persons feet are facing in your direction. This means that they are comfortable and their head and eyes will also be focused on you.
    When standing opposite someone their feet are pointing away and their head and eyes are not focused on you. They will most likely be nodding and agreeing with a fake smile. This means that the person n question is not interested and might even feel uncomfortable in the situation.

    Tip 8 - Legs
    When stood up Legs are a good indicator of how confident someone is. If someone is standing with their legs shoulder width apart they are relaxed. If they are standing with a stance wider than that they are a confident and are in a grounded position to show they are in control.
    When stood up with legs crossed the person is probably shy.
    When sitting down if the legs are crossed it shows the person is in protective mode. This is very much used alongside crossed arm action.
    If the legs are open when the person is seated then they are in a relaxed position. The same as when standing.

    Tip 9 - Fingers
    Fingers can create many gestures and are great for reading body language. A pointing finger can either be someone pointing to a item or place, it can also indicate anger. If someone is curling their fingers tightly they are usually pleading for some thing.
    Drumming or tapping with the fingers indicates frustration. The faster the beating, the greater the frustration and tension inside the person.

    Tip 10 - Eyebrows
    The eyebrows have many uses. Listed below are some examples. When the eye brows are raised, normally the person is shocked or surprised. The greater the surprise the more raised they will be. When someone flicks their eye brow up and down quickly they are greeting someone else or are showing they have acknowledged them.
    I hope you have enjoyed learning how to read body language tips. Remember reading body language is not a skill that can be learned over night. The more you practice the easier it will become and the more subtle you will be able to do it.

    Read more about Body Language here.

  2. #2
    RocketMan Guest


    OK. I agree with all of this...

  3. #3
    incognito Guest


    This is some good stuff.
    Last edited by incognito; 10-21-2009 at 04:50 PM.

  4. #4
    381 Guest


    A very good guide i must say! Thnks for the effort!!

  5. #5
    socialnexus Guest

    Default Re: Body Language - A Guide

    I feel like such a noob right now but... where is the guide?

  6. #6
    Bill Preston's Avatar
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    Default Re: Body Language - A Guide

    it's back..

  7. #7
    devvor Guest

    Default Re: Body Language - A Guide

    Great post, we covered most of this in psychology class. This probably one of the best tools a guy can use.

  8. #8
    Coyote Guest

    Default Re: Body Language - A Guide

    am about to go out on a mission now. reading this has helped me focus on what i will initially be framing the gal with. make an assessment and then build my confidence through confirming what i have already got with her..... opened her but no close yet.

    gonna see if i can read her and confirm what i know or think i know with this kind of template then this early stage of rapport building will get stronger

  9. #9
    Score Guest

    Default Re: Body Language - A Guide

    this is a great guide, well informed and well analyzed. Good job

  10. #10
    wilko88 Guest

    Unhappy Re: Body Language - A Guide

    I saw this post, quite a good post however felt it'd be good to add some important missed info for people to consider... btw for anyone wanting to really study body language, by far the best book I've ever read - The definitive book of Body Language.
    Also any book by Paul Ekman will be very informative on this topic..

    Now as for Body language despite the great post, there is a few very key points missed...

    1. Always consider the context and the scenario of which the body language is used..
    - Example...
    a. When a girl or guy crosses their arms, consider - could they be cold?
    b. Racial background is another big thing to take under consideration here, whilst many body language movements are universal, there are those that carry different meanings for different cultures - Head nodding is generally seen as "Yes I agree", however for instance for Japanese this isn't necessarily the case, it often means "Yes, I hear you" rather then necessarily agreeing with what you are saying.
    c. Shifty eye's aren't always deceitful, this person whether because of their culture or just themselves may not be comfortable with a lot of eye contact - for a girl this could be because they are not interested, for example if you are facing her whilst she stands body turned away from you and head looking over at you consistently breaking eye contact, it could well be a sign she's trying to tell you she doesnt care to continue the conversation.

    2. This is one of the most important points of all, Body language is just like any language.
    If you want to describe something you saw to a mate, you can't take 1 word and expect them to see what you see, you need to explain it with many words in a sentence, the same holds true for body language, it should always be read in "clusters".

    - An example of this I hear you ask.
    a. Read by itself Crossed arms as we touched on above could be cold or defensive or multiple things.

    b. Read as a cluster, Crossed arms with fists clenched, held under your arms with your feet spread apart to shoulder width, sharply closed lips with dilated pupils, etc... this would likely mean someone is feeling threatened and agitated.

    So as mentioned.. you really need to look for the whole picture.. not just a single detail.

    This also related to picking out liars. Body language accounts for about 70% of what you understand the other person to be saying, the spoken word only accounts for about 30%, hence the saying "It's not what you said, it's how you said it".
    So, when picking out a liar, you need to look for congruence between what they are saying via spoken word, the context of the situation and their body language.

    3. Ultimately it is impossible to beat body language.

    This means, no matter what, you can never lie and not show it through body language in some way... Body language is independent of conscious thought, therefore whilst over time you can make many of the obvious signs more subtle or in some cases you may even manage to completely get rid of some, you will always show some signs.
    This comes back to the second point about checking for congruence between what a person says as to what their body language is.

    4. Practice!!! If you want to get truly good at body language and really understand and know how to read it you need to practice, best way to do this is study people, it's not easy to read it in person on the go, so start possibly on TV, turn the sound off and try and see if you can read what they are saying by their body language.

    Overall I'd really recommend anyone who wants to get a real understanding of this to read the book I mentioned above, it will give you an amazing insight that will shock you...

    Feel free to contact me with any questions

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