The Secret Language
More than half of what we communicate is communicated not through words but through body language. This includes our posture, facial expressions, and gestures. Because body language is so important, you’ll want to know what yours is saying and how to interpret other people’s, too. Here are some examples of body language and its meaning. (Note: These meanings are for North America. Interpretations may differ a bit in other cultures.) If your posture is slumped and your head is down, this could mean that you are sad or lack confidence. If your posture is straight, but relaxed, you are expressing confidence and friendliness.
A smile is a sign of friendliness and interest. But people sometimes smile just to be polite. To get another clue from people’s faces, notice their eyes. Friendliness and interest are expressed when a person’s eyes meet yours (especially when you’re the one who’s talking) and then look away and meet yours again. A person who doesn’t look away is expressing challenge. A person who doesn’t look at you is expressing lack of interest or is shy. Hand gestures can mean a person is interested in the conversation. But repeated movements – like a pencil or tapping a foot – often mean the person is either impatient or nervous. Stay away from someone who points at you while talking with you: that person might be angry at you or feel surprised to you.