ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Your Body Language Speaks Volumes

Updated on July 3, 2011

Non Verbal Signals

Body language is the art of reading non-verbal movements people make and isn’t really such a big secret anymore. What you are thinking can be revealed by the way you stand or even facial expressions you make. Body language can reveal a lot about a person because, people use non-verbal signals to communicate on a daily basis. These subtle signals can speak volumes. It’s an art, but not as difficult to master as you might think.

Body language techniques are often used by police, forensic psychologists and employers. These techniques can also be useful in everyday situations from becoming a victim of fraud, scams or deceptions.

According to research, up to 93 % of communication is non-verbal. Tone of voice, eye movement, posture, hand gestures and facial expressions can reveal much more than words. For instance, how you shake hands can divulge a lot about your personality. A firm hand shake suggests you are an honest and genuine person. On the other hand, no pun intended, a limp handshake shows a lack of confidence.

It’s not hard to spot a liar. Their Physical expressions will be limited and inflexible and they usually use fewer arm and hand movements. A guilty person gets defensive while an innocent person will often go on the offensive. Sometimes they might resort to using humor to avoid certain subjects. A liar is uncomfortable and may turn away or unconsciously place objects like a book or coffee cup between themselves and you.

Detecting Lies

Here is one way some experts use to detect a lie. Quickly change the topic of conversation. Someone who is being untruthful will usually follow along…relieved focus has been taken off a touchy subject. A truthful person will promptly try to switch back to the original topic.

However, the eyes communicate more than any other part of the human body. Avoiding eye contact can mean a person is being untruthful. Shifty eyes also fall under this category. The best approach is to calmly look people in the eye while speaking. But don’t stare intently because this can make people feel uncomfortable. Furthermore, eyebrow muscles draw the eyebrows down and toward the center of the face if someone is annoyed.

If you want to show confidence, maintain a good posture. Good posture is a sign of a confident person. If you are sitting, lean forward to listen. If standing, stand erect and don’t slouch. The way someone stands reflects their confidence level. Standing with hands on hips can indicate aggression or alertness.

A Warm Smile

A warm smile also helps others to feel at ease. Researchers say there are 50 or more different types of smiles and over 80 facial muscles involved in making one. Does the smile have the familiar crinkle around the corner of the eyes? If not, the smile is probably faked. True smiles change rapidly from a small facial movement to a broad open expression and when someone smiles naturally their whole face is involved.

How you position your arms can say a lot about your thoughts. Crossing of the arms can make others feel you are creating a kind of a barrier and being defensive. Therefore, hang your arms beside you or hold something. Tightly crossing of legs may also mean someone is insecure and hiding something.

Although body signals can reveal a lot, vocal cues can also be useful in reading a person.For example, lengthy pauses during a conversation and over use of “uh," and" um," may indicate dishonesty. A statement using a contraction is more likely to be truthful such as “I didn't do it” instead of “I did not do it.”

But bodily cues are by far the most reliable at detecting deception, mainly because people have less conscious control over these. Hand-to-face gestures shrugs, playing with or touching things indicate deception.

Space is important. Standing too close to someone can cause an individual to feel uncomfortable or threatened. Studies have shown individuals not respecting others personal space are, often less popular and feel rejected by others.

Body language displays far more about our feelings than we might wish others to know. Physical gestures are subconsciously interpreted by others. Most are totally unaware of what they reveal to others by their body language. Our actions are often reflexive, automatically showing what we are thinking. If you don’t want to be an open book others can read at will, here are a few tips to follow.

Checking the Time, fidgeting or Inspecting Your Fingernails is a positive sign of boredom. Never look at the time and by all means avoid inspecting your fingernails. And never prop up your head with your elbows and hands during a conversation. It’s another way of screaming “I’m bored!”

Picking lint off your clothes during a conversation also conveys boredom, but it can also mean you disapprove of someone’s ideas or feel uncomfortable about giving an honest opinion.

Do you stroke your chin while looking at someone? Some people frequently do this when making a decision and people may deduce you’re making a judgmental decision about them. Likewise, if you want to give the impression you don’t like someone or their ideas, simply narrow your eyes while looking at them. It automatically produces a scowl.

Looking down can be interpreted as either lack of confidence or disinterest. Sometimes it can even be misinterpreted as a sign of arrogance….make eye contact.

Do you want to be seen as being better than everyone else? Then, by all means, rest your hands behind your head or on your hips. Some take this as a sign of superiority or having an over inflated opinion of oneself. By the same token, scratching the back of your head or neck gives the impression of doubt, or be an indication of lying.

If you don’t want to be seen as overly anxious be aware of how often you blink. An abnormal rate of blinking is a clear signal of anxiety. Some people tend to blink more rapidly when they become nervous. Wiping sweaty hands on your clothes is another sign of nervousness. If your hands are sweating…just let them. Another clear indication of being uncomfortable is sitting on the edge of your chair. It makes others feel uncomfortable as well. So, keep your rear end firmly planted.

Guys, crossing your hands in front of your genitals may be alright “back on the block,” but in a more formal setting you’re almost guaranteed to lose respect before speaking a single word. People feeling nervous frequently, but unconsciously, take a guarded stance, protecting this vulnerable area.

Of course, just because someone fits into any of these categories doesn’t necessarily mean they are a liar or exhibiting feelings you feel you have interpreted a certain way. Body language isn’t an exact science and takes a little practice. A person’s normal behavior patterns should be taken into account whenever possible.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      7 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Great point on con artists Martie. You caught something I should have mentioned. Annaw, I also should have pointed out your angle as well. But my rule of thumb is to keep my articles 800-1,000 words. Any longer, you tend to get people yawning and some sites won't print anything above that.

    • annaw profile image

      annaw 

      7 years ago from North Texas

      As a Conflict Management Specialist - Mediator the neutral third party, I must always portray neutrality in words, deeds and body language. In my case it is my facial expressions I am working to control My facial expressions tell the truth and contradicts what is coming out of my mouth. Great hub.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      I’ve studied body-language in depth and it helped me a lot with the closings of deals and the handling of disputes while I was in the business world. But I’ve also learned that con-artists study body language too and they can act the role of a trustworthy person perfectly. Somehow, my friend, the bad and the evil cannot be identified before they shock us with their true agendas. So the advantage of understanding body language is merely to improve normal communication.

      Great hub, JY! I’ve voted it up in all ways with my thumb in the air and a broad smile on my face :))))

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)