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Body Language

Body language means communication with the movement or position of the human body. It can be conscious – or unconscious. It is something that is noticed by everybody but is not always given enough attention.

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A way to learn the secrets of body language is to watch television with the sound turned off and try to interpret what is being said simply from reading body language. You will experience that humans say a lot with their mouth which is contradicted by their body, gestures and other channels of communication.

This makes it easier to tell whether a person you are talking to is happy, sad, sullen or irritated. Or whether he or she is lying to you, or is impatient, or bored. You should also be able to register whether the person appears to like you, agrees or disagrees with you, is aggressive to you, or is suspicious, angry or worried. Body language is the movements of arms and legs, body posture, the manner in which you sit, facial expressions, gait, eye movements and regular gestures such as stroking your hair, touching your nose, etc.

Tilting your head signals that you are not dangerous. Perhaps you hold your hands close to your face when you talk – generally, this is a sign of insecurity. The same is true if you roll a beard or moustache with your hands or fix your hair, perhaps pushing or curling it behind an ear. The way that people sit in chairs is not coincidental. If you are lounging with arms and legs dangling, it is probably a sign that you are relaxed and feeling comfortable.

If you are positioned on the edge of the chair with you legs stretched before you and your feet crossed it can signal indifference. Someone going to the dentist or waiting for a job interview might be seated on the edge of the chair with his or her feet together. If it’s a woman she’ll probably be hugging her handbag, or clutching a hanky. Body tension spreads to the respiratory system, forcing your breathing and making you sound short of breath. When you are in such a position it is easy to lose your head and simply run away if things take a turn for the worse.

We do not believe that you can teach people to control their body language completely; they will lose control at some point or other – when they become too eager or too angry. When you try to interpret body language, you must interpret in relation to what is being said with words In order to reach your conclusion you must also pay attention to facial expression, the mouth’s position, eye movements and pupil dilation and retraction. Research has shown that the speaker’s face is the most reliable source of information about the mood of a person.

Eyebrows that rise up and down rapidly signal acceptance of social contact. If you raise your eyebrows and keep them raised for a while it signals surprise and astonishment – perhaps even indignation. When the raised eyebrows are used along with a wink you are flirting. This can cause problems. For example, in Japan where it is considered very inappropriate, practically improper, to use eyebrow raising at all. Tears and laughter are forms of expression that we think are fairly easy to interpret.