How To Read Body Language
It doesn’t matter what the setting is or what you’re doing. Each day we all speak non-verbally through body language. Whether you’re out on the town, doing some shopping or even on a job interview, there are many little telltale signs that give away how we truly feel, even when we say otherwise. Knowing such body language can come in handy on your next date or when you’re trying to ace your next job interview.
The first sign of body language, and perhaps the most powerful, are the way we use our eyes. Surprisingly, a lot of emotions and thoughts can be conveyed just through the eyes alone. For important events such as a job interview or if you are addressing an audience, remember to be calm and look each person in the eye as you speak or answer a question. If you’re unable to meet someone’s eyes as you are talking to them this can come across as being rude or not caring enough about the person you are speaking towards to look them in the eye.
However, there is a difference between looking someone in the eye and staring them down. Learn how to look someone in the eye without making them uncomfortable. Avoid having shifty eyes, which involve looking around a lot, since this can be seen as a sign of dishonesty. While out on a date, show respect and interest by holding eye contact with your date. If you’re busy looking elsewhere or have a hard time focusing on your date, it’s going to be pretty obvious that you would rather be somewhere else.
You can tell a lot about a person by the way they carry themselves. Literally. Posture is a telltale sign. When sitting down in conversation, whether it’s a date or a friendly outing, leaning in while talking shows that you are really interested in the conversation and is an even more positive sign that you are a good listener. If you are standing up and are talking to someone who is sitting down, be careful to not slouch or stand too tall.
Slouching is sign as a lack of confidence and standing too tall can appear condescending to the person seated. When you walk, keep your back straight and hold your head up and smile. This type of posture generates confidence, warmth and sincerity. Walking with a slouch or hunch or with your head down indicates that you are shy, inverted or awkward.
Handshakes can speak volumes as well. When meeting new people, be sure to have a firm handshake. This shows that you are confident, honest and genuine. Giving too firm of a handshake can make you appear to be someone who is trying too hard, while a limp handshake makes you appear less confident and withdrawn.
Even the way you position your arms can generate signs of body language. The best way to keep you from projecting negative body language is to keep your arms at your sides comfortably. Having crossed arms during a work meeting or while out with friends creates an instant barrier, which can be off-putting to others. Try to avoid putting your hand on your hip while listening to someone talk. Even if it’s just a natural thing, others can perceive it as a sign of attitude or that you aren’t taking the person who is talking, seriously.