Did you know that even if you lie verbally, your body betrays your true intentions? No matter how good you can pretend to be interested in a conversation your body will always show how really bored you actually are. Nonverbal communication is often done unconsciously (instinctively) rather than consciously.
Learn to read these simple body postures, facial expressions and voice tones that will show you the exact message that other people are conveying without actually verbalizing it. In a matter of a few seconds, you can be able to recognize unspoken requests, hidden intentions and simply identify the true message behind what people are saying!
By Olesia Dovzhenko
Dr. Edward G. Wertheim from Northeastern University stated in his work “The Importance of Effective Communication” that body language can play five following roles:
- Repetition: It repeats and often strengthens the message you’re making verbally.
- Contradiction: It can contradict the message you’re trying to convey, thus indicating to your listener that you may not be telling the truth.
- Substitution: For example, your facial expression often conveys a far more vivid message than words ever can.
- Complementing: For example, if your boss pats you on the back in addition to giving praise, it can increase the impact of his/her message.
- Accenting: Pounding the table, for example, can underline the importance of your message.
Digging a bit deeper into this subject we have discovered a fantastic work of Antoni Lacinai, who is the Global Keynote Speaker and considers to be the Communication Wizard in the corporate world. In his work “51 Body Language Gestures, and What They Signal” he explains the meaning behind some gestures.
A confident dominant person has their hands in their pockets with thumbs outside or on their hips to make themselves look bigger. They will shake your hand firmly with their palm facing down. When standing or sitting their legs will be apart and they will maintain eye contact.
Lack of confidence or defensiveness shows when someone crosses their arms, hunches their back or rounds their shoulders, crosses their legs, fiddles or keeps their eyes down. They tend to make themselves look smaller.
A posture with spread fingers denotes a flirty intention. If they touch your hand or lean in closer it means they’re interested in you.
When someone covers their mouth when they speak, in most cases they might be lying. Blinking a lot, tilting their head, using their non-dominant hand for emphasis and moving a lot are all signs of dishonesty.
If they scratch their neck during a conversation, they probably disagree.
If two people cross their legs while standing, they feel safe in each other’s company. They might also imitate each other’s movements and posture.
If their body leans away from you and looks towards the door, they probably feel uncomfortable and their body wants to leave and escape the situation.
When someone leans their head on their hand it shows that they are bored with what you’re saying.
Someone with a straight posture and their nose looking up signifies arrogance, pride and superiority. They might also have an asymmetric smile.
Be careful to always check the context of the situation when trying to read body language. Someone crossing their arms might just be feeling cold. Someone scratching their neck might have neck pain. Look for the signs and notice situations to learn to read people better.