Far out Friday: Do you speak body language?

by Mackenzie McCarty02 Aug 2013

Body language is likely the first language you ever learned – which makes it even harder to understand why so many of us fail so miserably at it. Thankfully, life coaches (yes, there is such a thing) Mark and Angel have put together some useful everyday phrases for the novice on their blog site, Mark and Angel Hack Life. Here are some of our favourites:

  • Holding Objects in Front of Your Body – a coffee cup, notebook, hand bag, etc.  Holding objects in front of your body indicates shyness and resistance, such that you’re hiding behind the objects in an effort to separate yourself from others.  Instead of carrying objects in front of you, carry them at your side whenever possible.
  • Picking Lint Off of Your Clothes – If you pick lint off of your clothes during a conversation, especially in conjunction with looking downwards, most people will assume that you disapprove of their ideas and/or feel uneasy about giving them an honest opinion.  Leave the lint alone!
  • Stroking Your Chin While Looking at Someone – “I’m judging you!”  People frequently stroke their chin during the decision-making process.  If you look at someone while you’re stroking your chin, they may assume that you’re making a judgmental decision about them.
  • Standing Too Close – Most people consider the 4 square feet of space immediately surrounding their body to be personal space.  Cross this invisible boundary with good friends and intimate mates only.
  • Touching Your Face During a Conversation – Face touching, especially on the nose, is commonly interpreted as an indication of deception.  Also, covering up the mouth is a common gesture people make when they’re lying.  Always keep your hands away from your face when you’re speaking.
  • Resting Hands Behind the Head or on the Hips – usually interpreted as a sign of superiority or bigheadedness.  Only use these gestures when you’re in the presence of close friends.
  • Crossing Your Arms – a sign of defensive resistance.  Some people may also interpret it as a sign of egotism.  Always try to keep your arms open and at your sides.
  • Displaying a Sluggish Posture – Your stance literally makes a stand for you, delivering a clear message about how you should be treated.  It can make a huge difference in the way strangers respond to you.  Place your feet a comfortable distance apart, keep your shoulders pulled back, head up and greet people with direct eye contact and a firm handshake.
  • Scratching at the Backside of Your Head and Neck – a typical sign of doubt and uncertainty.  It can also be interpreted as an indication of lying.  Try to keep your hands away from your head when you’re communicating with others.
  • Increasing Your Rate of Blinking – a clear sign of anxiety.  Some people start blinking their eyes really fast (in conjunction with an increased heart rate) when they get nervous.  Since most people try to make eye contact, it becomes immediately obvious to others.  Be cognizant of your blinking habits when you’re nervous, especially if someone is looking at you from a close proximity.
  • Standing with Your Hands Crossed Over Your Genitals – This casual posture almost guarantees that you’ll lose a little respect before you even have the chance to speak a single word.  People feeling nervous or unsure of themselves will unconsciously take a guarded stance.  Quite frequently they adopt a posture that guards one of their most vulnerable areas: their genitals.  This stance pushes your shoulders forward and makes your entire body look smaller and weaker.  Again, try to keep your hands at your sides and your shoulders back.
  • Propping Up Your Head with Your Hands – “I’m getting bored!”  Never prop up your head with your elbows and hands during a conversation.  Place your hands on the table in front of you and keep them at rest.
  • Sitting on the Edge of Your Chair – a clear indication of being mentally and physically uncomfortable.  It’s an apprehensive stance that will make others around you feel uncomfortable as well.  Keep your rear end firmly planted on the surface of the seat.  When you lean forward, use your back without moving your bottom.
  • Foot and Finger Tapping – usually indicates stress, impatience or boredom.  Monitor your habits and practice keeping your limbs at rest.

To read Mark and Angel’s full body language ‘dictionary’, Click Here