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Body Language 101

Body language, in small or big ways, is an important part of communication. Reading and decoding each gestures and nonverbal communication helps to better relationship, career and self-confidence. Here are some body parts and their common body language interpretations to help you understand the message that they are not speaking out.


  • A person’s eyes dilate strongly when they are very stimulated and in a problem solving mode. At maximum dilation, the person is ready to make a decision which is more likely to be positive.
  • An eyebrow raise is a sign that a person isn’t threatening. When your eye brow raise someone they will often smile. This is very submissive sign or at least is perceive that way.
  • The first person to look away in an introduction is the more submissive.
  • If a person is maintaining strong eye contact they are either, interested in you of their eyes are dilated or challenging you if their eyes are constricted.
  • The most threatening look is achieved by moving narrowed eyes toward a person with little to no body movement.
  • The speed of the head movement will demonstrate how angry they are.
  • Liars maintain strong eye contact with people.
  • If someone you a sideways glance, look at their eye brows. If they are raised, they like you, if not, they don’t.
  • If a person’s blink rate increases, they are likely lying.
  • If a person’s eyes are darting around they are getting bored or nervous.
  • When first meeting a person shake hands with strong eye contact and then give them at least 3 seconds to look you over uninterrupted.
  • To build strong rapport you should look in them in the eyes for 60 to 70% of the time you are together.

Hands and Arms

  • When shaking someone’s hand, if their hand is on top they are trying to dominate and vice versa.
  • An equal handshake, in which both people shake in a vertical manor, with equal pressure, is the best way to generate good rapport.
  • Do not shake with both hands or touch any other part of the body unless you have an intimate relationship.
  • At most, a brief touch to the elbow during a hand shake has been shown to generate good feelings toward a stranger.
  • A valuable clue to whether the person is being open and honest is whether they are showing their palms or not. Honesty equals palm displays.
  • If a person says they can’t do something and they show you their hands they are telling you the truth.
  • If you are talking with your palms it will force others to speak truthfully.
  • Hands clenched in front of a person means that they are holding back a negative reaction.
  • Holding one’s wrist behind their back is an attempt at self-control.
  • If a person places their head in their open hands as if on a platter they are saying that they admire you.
  • If a person is picking imaginary lint they are a secret opinion that they don’t want to tell you.
  • Hands folded in front, hand in hand, shows they are feeling vulnerable.
  • Pointing at a person is one of the most annoying gestures.
  • Never rub your thumb to your fore-finger around people.
  • The rubbing of the hands together shows that they are expecting something positive.
  • The speed at which they are rubbing shows who they are think will benefit. If a person rubs their hands very slowly they are showing they expect results just for themselves.
  • The steeple hand gesture represents that you are confident and self-assured. This gesture should be used sparingly. If you want to guarantee a look of confidence this is the look.
  • By pressing your fore finger to your thumb you will come off as authoritative, nut not aggressive.
  • Holding hands behind the back show that you are confident and feel superior.
  • Hands on hips shows they are preparing to dominate unless the elbows are held close to the body (submissive).
  • If the person tucks their thumbs in their pants rather than rest theirs hands on their hips, they are being very aggressive.
  • Thumbs protruding from pockets shows that the person feels they are superior to others.
  • We fold our arms in front of ourselves when we feel threatened or don’t like or trust something.
  • When you fold your arms you lose credibility.
  • If you are folding your arms while grasping your biceps it show that you are feeling insecure.
  • If you clench your fists while folding your arms people will see you as being hostile.
  • Arms crossed with thumbs turned up shows that the person is warming up to you.
  • Women will often use their purse to create protection in some situations.
  • If a person puts a drink on the opposite side of the hand in which they’re drinking, that shows that they feel uncomfortable.

Legs and Feet

  • The information you gain by studying leg and feet positions is extremely useful because people have little control over them.
  • This is why most meetings feel only comfortable if the two people have their legs hidden by a table or a desk.
  • If you want to appear young and vibrant walk quickly while swinging your arms.
  • Your feet will point toward where you want to go.
  • Always offer people both coffee or tea, that makes it difficult to remain crossed up without burning themselves.
  • Another tip to get a person to unlock themselves is to ask them positive questions that get them to tell you what they are feeling.
  • Never cross your legs and then have both hands cradle behind your head. This is extremely off putting, to women specifically.
  • The jiggling of the feet is a sign that the person wants to get away from a situation.
  • Open and uncrossed legs show that you are open or dominate while crossed legs show that you’re closed off or uncertain.
  • If legs are crossed, the knee points towards what you don’t prefer.
  • Never ask a person to make a decision if they have their legs or arms crossed.
  • If a person has their legs crossed and they are holding them in place with their hands they are feeling stubborn.
  • A person that locks their ankles together is essentially biting their lip and holding back a negative emotion.
  • If person locks one foot around their call or thigh they are showing signs of timidness.
  • If a person sits oddly in a chair they are showing you that they don’t see you as important.
  • If they place the back of their chair in front of you, they are in the mood to take control of you.
  • Women speficaly cross and uncross their legs around people they like.
  • They cross their legs in parallel manor when they really like someone.
  • If a person has one foot moved closer to you, they are really feeling a connection.


  • You can check to see that smile is sincere by checking by checking for wrinkles at the sides of the eyes.
  • If you smile at a person, they will return the favor. People that smile a lot, often will receive positive reactions.
  • When a person is smiling they are often more likely to be telling the truth.
  • A false smile will often appear stronger on one side of the face versus the other.
  • A tight-lipped smile, in which teeth are not shown, tell you that the person is trying to keep a secret.
  • A smile in which the person has their head turned down and their eyes aimed upward is used to show that the person is attracted to you.
  • Laughing is attractive and makes you, as well as others, feel comfortable.
  • Laughter has more to do with bonding than humor.
  • People who smile are more persuasive.
  • Yawning is used by people to build rapport and avoid aggression.

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