Body language is how we communicate without words, this may be obvious but the brain picks up on nonverbal language cues 1/5 of a second faster than when someone is speaking. An example would be if walk into my house, I can probably figure out real fast if my husband is in a good or bad mood.
There are some people who send nonverbal signals that are actually wrong. They may be perfectly normal and happy, but they end up sending off the wrong body language to someone that makes them seem angry or not happy.
Psychology is studying human behaviors and helping others understand. You should learn more good examples of body language so you do not accidentally send the wrong signals to someone: maybe a first date, girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, or boss.
Understand that these body languagecues listed below may only apply to Americans. Different countries and cultures have their own types of body language and way of communication. For example, Americans that fold their arms during a conversation usually is a bad sign and means the person is not pleased or wants to get out of the conversation. For someone in the Vietnamese culture, crossing your arms while listening is a sign of respect and you are paying attention to what that person is saying.
Below are listed some good examples of body language that you can learn and you can eventually read on other people.
A handshake can be a good indication of how you are feeling since it is one of the only times we are in contact with someone we first meet. It is an extremely important part of nonverbal communication. A simple handshake can make or break you.
If you have a firm handshake you will receive instant credibility and it will put off confidence to the other person. If you have a weak handshake it will make you look fragile and easy to dominate. There is a balance, you do not need to crush the other person’s hand in order for you to put off that you are being confident. Giving someone too tight of a handshake will communicate that you are a bully or trying to overcompensate.
When you go to an important meeting with a boss or have a class with a teacher. It is important to take notes, this puts off the signal that you really care what they have to say. It makes you look really engaged and makes you look smarter. You will see most politicians debate with a pen in their hand, and they take notes while the other person is talking. It makes them look intelligent and engaged, even if they are only doodling. Taking notes in every conversation is not ideal.
Pulling your collar.
Pulling the collar of your shirt or making a scratch or wipe underneath it means that you are stressed. It can mean that you are under a lot of pressure or in a stressful situation.
If you are having a conversation with someone and want to let them know that you care, sit up and lean in toward them. If you lean back, hang your arms on the chair, and have your legs every which way possible, it puts off to the other person that you do not care about the conversation.
Crossing arms is the most common form of body language, and probably the easiest to read. If you are talking with someone and they fold their arms it is probably a good idea to get out of the conversation. For the most part, it means that the other person is not interested or losing interest in the conversation.
When you breathe and go slow when you speak and have slower movements it makes everyone feel calmer. Some people are really rough around the edges and do not know that they make people feel uncomfortable when they talk and react to things a million miles an hour. Breathing deeply also helps you calm down if you are nervous and it takes the edge off.
No eye contact.
If you are having a serious conversation and you do not look the other person in the eyes when speaking it makes it look like you are lying. People who are good liars make it a point to look at peoples eyes when they are speaking to them.
Too much eye contact.
Looking into someone’s eyes too long is a sign of aggression. There is a fine line between not looking into someone’s eyes and looking like a liar, rather than looking at them too long and looking aggressive. It is better to take the middle ground here and just hold the look for a second or two. Do not be looking around all the room but just hold a stare with them for a couple seconds and look away briefly, but go back to their eyes often. It makes people feel more comfortable and you make it seem like they can trust you and you are not being too aggressive.
First of all, biting your nails is just gross and not a good habit.
If you want to learn about breaking a bad habit check out our post:How Do I Create Good Personal Habits?
When you bite your nails it communicates to other people that you are nervous, stressed out, and insecure. A lot of nail-biters do this subconsciously and do not realize they have this habit.
Never check your watch.
If you are talking to someone important and you look at your watch, it is a sure sign of being bored and makes them feel disrespected. It makes it seem like you have better things to do or you are in a time crunch and have to be in another place.
Putting your hand on your cheek.
This form of body language communicates that you are lost in thought and pondering something. When your head is leaning on your hand and you are looking down with your eyebrows crinkled, it puts off that you are thinking deeply.
When you tap your fingers on something or drum like you are at a rock concert it can put off two signals. Either you are tired, or you are waiting for something and your patience is running out.
If you constantly look at the ground when you talk to people it makes it seem like you are shy or you do not care. It can also mean that you are not interested in the conversation.
Holding your own hand.
Usually when a person feels stressed they will put their hands together as if they were holding their own hand. This makes it seem like you are not sure of yourself and insecure.
Sucking in lips.
Sucking your lips into your mouth makes it seem as if you do not want to express something, either a thought or emotion. You are very reluctant to share information about yourself with the person.
Stop messing with things.
If you are messing with your clothes, fingernails, a pen, or papers, just stop! If you are fiddling with things it makes it seem like you are bored and you disapprove of what they are saying. If anything, it communicates that what they are saying to you makes it seem like you don’t care.
If someone knows you well they can always tell when you are faking anything, especially smiling. Do not even try to smile if you do not mean it because people can see right through it.
Blinking a lot.
Blinking is normal but it is apparent when you are blinking a lot, it usually means you are nervous or you disagree with what is being said.
Stay out of my bubble, getting too close to people can be uncomfortable and will turn them off to the whole conversation.
Putting fingertips together.
“Steepling” is the word when someone places both hands together at the point of their fingers. This is a sign of power and authority. A lot of people in authority positions will do this, usually bosses and superiors.
Hands behind your back.
This is a type of body language that indicates that you have something to hide. People tend to do this subconsciously, and it makes it seem like people are nervous about something when they have their hands in their pockets.
Touching your face.
The area around your face is a subconscious sign of deceit. If you touch your nose, mouth, or face it speaks that you are resisting what the other person is trying to tell you.
Shaking your head yes too much.
When talking to someone it is ok to nod your head to communicate to the other person that you are listening and you agree. It is not good to do it too much because it comes off as you being weak and that you are indifferent.
Hands on head.
Putting both hands on your head puts off that you are angry, upset, ashamed, or not happy about something. Instead of showing disgust on your face, you do it by putting both your hands on your head.
Stroking your chin.
This language says to people that you are thinking about something very deep. If you are having an intelligent conversation with someone and the person starts stroking their chin or beard, it means they are really invested in the conversation on a deep level.
When a person pulls on their ears it means they are thinking about a decision. They are nervous and pondering what the right answer should be. The person is in between two decisions and can not make up their mind.
If you are standing up straight with your shoulders back it makes you look confident, especially if you are walking with even paced strides. It makes you look relaxed and confident in yourself, but do not stick your chest out too much, it may look like you are arrogant.
Hands on your hips.
Standing with your hands on your hips means you are either ready to go or you are trying to be aggressive with someone. Most of the time it means you are ready to do something, but notice what kind of mood you are in, and if you are mad and trying to make a point to someone, you are probably putting your hands on your hips.
Rubbing your eyes can be body language that you are doubting what is being said. It can also mean that you are in disbelief of what is happening.
People play with things when they are bored. They fidget with their hands or some object like a pencil or a fidget spinner! The most common form of fidgeting is bouncing your leg on the ground. I remember in junior high when kids started doing this as a fad and it just caught on. It was cool to fidget during class.
This is usually a sign of sadness or insecurity. Make sure and always put your shoulders back and stand up straight, it won’t put off to everyone that you are sad. Even if you are not sad your bad body language still says you are.
Making big gestures.
If you are not giving a speech to a group of people, it is not wise to make big gestures. This is only appropriate if you are giving a speech or presentation. If you are just talking to a few friends or a couple people you do not know this may seem like you arrogant.
Looking at your cell phone.
Never look at your phone when you are talking to people, it is not only rude but it makes it seem like you do not care about that person. It shows them that there is someone else out there that is more important than you. If you need to, stop the conversation politely and go and check your phone if it is that important.
If someone is telling you something that you are really interested in you may unconsciously mirror that person body language. This can be done on purpose or unconsciously to put good body language to show them you care about what they are saying.
What are examples of good body language? ›
- Have an open posture. Be relaxed, but don't slouch. ...
- Use a firm handshake. But don't get carried away! ...
- Maintain good eye contact. Try to hold the other person's gaze for a few seconds at a time. ...
- Avoid touching your face. ...
5 of the most common body language signs
There are five common body language signs you can use today. They are raised eyebrows, mirroring, head tilt, crossed arms, and fidgeting with objects. Let's dive into these, so you can better read people and have more confident body language.
The body language definition refers to nonverbal cues we consciously and unconsciously use to communicate. It includes all non-verbal communication. The words we use when speaking make up our verbal communication. The non-verbal cues that make up a person's body language often communicate more than the words they use.What are 10 types of body language? ›
- Facial expressions. The human face is extremely expressive, able to convey countless emotions without saying a word. ...
- Body movement and posture. ...
- Gestures. ...
- Eye contact. ...
- Touch. ...
- Space. ...
- Voice. ...
- Pay attention to inconsistencies.
If the person keeps their distance, that is normally an indication of negative body language. However, if the person leans in when talking to you and makes a lot of eye contact, these can be taken as examples of positive body language.What are the 4 major types of body language? ›
All people use one of four movements to communicate their body language: light and bouncy, soft and fluid, dynamic and determined, or precise and bold. Each of the movements corresponds to one of the four energy types and has a unique meaning.What are the 4 types of positive body language? ›
- Open hands with palms facing up. If someone makes a gesture of open hands it can indicate that they are open and honest as a person. ...
- Standing up straight. Standing up straight shows confidence and self-belief. ...
- Eye contact. ...
- Nodding or tilting the head to the side. ...
- Body language is the use of physical behaviour, expressions, and mannerisms to communicate non-verbally. ...
- There are six universal expressions in which individuals use facial features to convey basic emotions, including surprise, happiness, anger, fear, sadness, and disgust.
- Facial expressions: The face is a mirror of the mind and can reflect your thoughts, worries and desires. ...
- Hand gestures: We often use our hands to explain things. ...
- Eye movements and contact: Eyes speak volumes.
Show You're Truly Engaged. Want to show someone you're truly engaged in their conversation without actually saying it? Use your body language. If you're speaking one-on-one with someone, open up your body language using good posture, a healthy amount of eye contact, open hand gestures if having a discussion and a smile ...
What is positive body language? ›
A positive body language is a type of non-verbal communication that puts us in a position of comfort, likeability and dignity. Also known as open body language, it helps us be open and approachable to others—helping them feel at ease during interactions or exchanges.What is body language 12 psychology? ›
Body language is a type of communication in which physical behaviors, as opposed to words, are used to express or convey information. Such behavior includes facial expressions, body posture, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space.What are 21 facial expressions? ›
Here is the full list of emotional states identified by the scientists from facial expressions: Happy, Sad, Fearful, Angry, Surprised, Disgusted, Happily Surprised, Happily Disgusted, Sadly Fearful, Sadly Angry, Sadly Surprised, Sadly Disgusted, Fearfully Angry, Fearfully Surprised, Fearfully Disgusted, Angrily ...What are the 5 best body language tricks? ›
- Smile. We all smile when we're happy, but did you know that smiling could actually make you happier? ...
- Don't cross your arms. ...
- Make eye contact (most of the time). ...
- Keep good posture. ...
- Nod while listening.
To summarize, nonverbal communication can be categorized into eight types: space, time, physical characteristics, body movements, touch, paralanguage, artifacts, and environment.How can you tell if someone is lying body language? ›
- People who are lying tend to change their head position quickly. ...
- Their breathing may also change. ...
- They tend to stand very still. ...
- They may repeat words or phrases. ...
- They may provide too much information. ...
- They may touch or cover their mouth.
Among the behaviors that indicate negative body language are: poor stance, avoiding eye contact, creating barriers, being clumsy with objects, inappropriate spacing, sweating, frowning, and overusing gestures. Each gesture communicates a different feeling.What are the 3 most crucial aspects of body language? ›
While body language covers a wide range of human expression, the most crucial aspects are posture, eye contact, and personal space.What is open body language examples? ›
Openness begins with the face. The person's eyes are open wide, and focused on you; her eyebrows may be raised; her face is turned toward you. The person may be smiling, nodding, or otherwise signaling positive attitudes.How many types of body language are there in communication? ›
One is verbal or written. The other is nonverbal, which is subtler, and in many ways more important in face-to-face communication. Understanding and decoding the different types of body language in communication is extremely important to navigate conversations effectively.
What are 3 examples of positive nonverbal communication? ›
Positive nonverbal communication includes smiles, body language, eye contact and tone of voice.What are body language basics? ›
Types of body language
facial expressions (raised brow indicating surprise, scowl indicating anger, frown indicating sadness) nonverbal cues (smiling, winking, nodding) hand gestures (thumbs up, a wave, pointing) posture (hunching, tilting head, sitting up straight)
There are three main types of gestures: adaptors, emblems, and illustrators (Andersen, 1999). Adaptors are touching behaviors and movements that indicate internal states typically related to arousal or anxiety. Adaptors can be targeted toward the self, objects, or others.How do you communicate with body language? ›
- Build rapport. One highly important thing to keep in mind is building and maintaining rapport. ...
- Make eye contact. ...
- Increase proximity. ...
- Watch your posture. ...
- Consider facial expressions while speaking and listening. ...
- Set your intention. ...
- Be flexible.
Talking is often seen as the most common method of communication but most communication is silent. Gestures, tone of voice, grins, grimaces, shrugs, nods, moving away or closer, crossing arms and legs tells us far more than words.What is body language in one word? ›
: the gestures, movements, and mannerisms by which a person or animal communicates with others.What are gestures examples? ›
Waving to a friend, pointing to a restaurant menu item, and indicating how many apples you want by holding up three fingers are all examples of gestural non-verbal communication.What are the positive and negative body language signs? ›
|Positive Body Language to adopt||Negative Body Language to avoid|
|sitting up straight||slouching in your seat|
|sitting with both feet on the floor||crossing your arms and legs|
Body language assists us in understanding and decoding what the person is saying. That is the importance of body language. It also helps us to interpret others' moods and emotions. Moreover, it enhances our conscious understanding of people's reactions to what we say and how we say it.What is good listening body language? ›
“Body language completely changes the context.” He recommends the listener sit close and face the speaker, incline their head toward the person and hold eye contact. It's important for a listener to lean their body toward their conversation partner.
How can you improve your communication skills? ›
- Listen, listen, and listen. ...
- Who you are talking to matters. ...
- Body language matters. ...
- Check your message before you hit send. ...
- Be brief, yet specific. ...
- Write things down. ...
- Sometimes it's better to pick up the phone. ...
- Think before you speak.
Facial expressions that give clues to a person's mood, including happiness, surprise, contempt, sadness, fear, disgust, and anger.What are the 9 expressions? ›
Nine emotions are Shringara (love/beauty), Hasya (laughter), Karuna(sorrow), Raudra (anger), Veera (heroism/courage), Bhayanaka (terror/fear), Bibhatsa (disgust), Adbutha (surprise/wonder), Shantha (peace or tranquility).What are the 16 facial expressions? ›
They used the algorithm to track instances of 16 facial expressions one tends to associate with amusement, anger, awe, concentration, confusion, contempt, contentment, desire, disappointment, doubt, elation, interest, pain, sadness, surprise and triumph.What are body signals for emotions? ›
Body signals can be thought of as signposts for feelings. For example, we may not know consciously that we feel unsafe, but our body may be giving us a clear warning sign through a tight tummy, sweaty palms or a beating heart.What are the 3 P's of body language? ›
In your body language, in your words, in your phrases, in your messaging, in the movement of your eyes. Precision, precision, precision. Are your hands flopping down to your hip after you've done your grand gesture?What is attractive body language? ›
If you want to look more attractive, you don't have to change your looks—you simply have to change your body language to be more open. Body language research has shown that keeping your torso, chest, and abdomen open to the world is the best way to show availability.What is the most appropriate body language? ›
Instead, focus on those who are speaking by turning your head and torso to face them directly and by making eye contact. Leaning forward, nodding, and tilting your head are other nonverbal ways to show you're engaged and paying attention. It's important to hear people.What are two positive body language examples? ›
Sitting up straight, but not too straight - This basically means maintaining a relaxed posture, without slouching. Sitting bolt upright could make you look fake or as though you're nervous, but sitting in a relaxed yet upright manner shows that you're comfortable with your space and confident.How is body language important in communication? ›
Body language assists us in understanding and decoding what the person is saying. That is the importance of body language. It also helps us to interpret others' moods and emotions. Moreover, it enhances our conscious understanding of people's reactions to what we say and how we say it.
What are men attracted to? ›
Men prefer a woman who can stay calm and relaxed. Beauty is more than make-up and a fancy haircut. Men find women more attractive when they are neat and clean. Men find women who smell nice, who have clean hair and hydrated skin more attractive than a face perfectly covered in makeup.How do you tell if someone is attracted to you? ›
- They lean in.
- They tilt their head as you speak (a sign of engagement).
- They smile at you.
- They make eye contact with you.
- They reach out and touch your arm, hand, back, or leg.
- Carry yourself with confidence. ...
- Give genuine compliments. ...
- Use the right amount of eye contact. ...
- Smile! ...
- Have a good attitude. ...
- Show interest in others. ...
- Pursue your passions.
Speak clearly, maintain an even tone, and make eye contact. Keep your body language relaxed and open. Wrap up with a summary and then stop. Summarize your response and then stop talking, even if it leaves a silence in the room.Does and don'ts of body language? ›
Don't stare at anyone, keep your eyes moving. Don't flap your arms. If you don't know what to do with your arms and hands, keep them at your side. Don't only look at your notes and fail to raise your head to look at your audience.What is an example of open body language? ›
Openness begins with the face. The person's eyes are open wide, and focused on you; her eyebrows may be raised; her face is turned toward you. The person may be smiling, nodding, or otherwise signaling positive attitudes.