Whether we want to or not, we humans are constantly exchanging nonverbal messages through our body language. This includes our facial expressions, gestures, posture and even movements. Some signals are understood immediately; others, however, are not as easily discerned or have a completely different meaning due to the cultural situation. We’ve summarized what your body language reveals about you.
1. Crossed arms
Crossing your arms and even turning away from your dialogue partner means you would like to distance yourself and get some space. Crossed arms symbolize a kind of protective wall. With men, this posture can be understood as rejection. By contrast, with women, it means uncertainty.
2. Eye contact
Eye contact is very important. It is recommended that you look into your dialogue partner’s eyes for several seconds and to give them a friendly smile. If your partner returns these looks, the conversation can be continued in a pleasant atmosphere. Try not to stare, though. That’s not well received. Avoid blinking a lot, and don’t look down. That conveys uncertainty.
3. Shaking hands
A perfect and pleasant handshake is one that is three to four seconds long. The shake is firm and dry, and at the same time, you look your dialogue partner in the eye and smile. If your handshake is cold and unexpressive, you’ll lose any initial sympathies.
4. Nervous gestures
If you touch your hair or face frequently during a conversation, you’ll convey a message of nervousness. These gestures can also reflect stress or frustration, however. So to give an impression of confidence, keep your hands out of this area.
Your posture also reveals something about you. Try to stand or sit up straight. For it to be effective, do the following: shoulders back, chest out, back straight and stomach in. Don’t overdo it, though. Otherwise you’ll seem stiff.
6. Sure footing
Surely you’ve experienced this situation at one time or another. Your dialogue partner is teetering back and forth, switching constantly from one leg to the other or crossing his legs. This posture implies uncertainty. So stay calm, take an upright and steady stance, and you’ll seem more confident.
7. Keeping your distance
Nothing is more unpleasant than someone standing too close to you, invading your personal comfort zone. If someone gets too close to you, he often wants to demonstrate his power. It’s important that you try to get an arm’s length distance. But always stand close enough to your dialogue partner so that he realizes you’re listening with interest.
8. Looking away
If you’re constantly looking out the window or at your watch or phone during a conversation, you will show clearly that you’re bored. No matter how dull a topic may be, try to concentrate on what’s being said to end the topic skillfully if necessary or to direct the conversation towards a solution.
9. Lip service
Your lips can also reveal how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking. If you’re biting your lip, this behaviour shows uncertainty. Puckering your lips does not mean an invitation for a kiss. In business it means that something isn’t suiting or pleasing.