BASIC KINESICS FOR THE
Atty. Harve B. Abella, Esq.
FACIAL ACTION CODING SYSTEM
• Psychologists-PAUL EKMAN and TOMKIN- agreed that there
was a common set of rules that governed the facial expressions
human beings made.We can pick up fleeting micro expressions
on our faces that signal what our authentic feelings really are
Ekman and Wallace Friesen , created a taxonomy of facial
• Human face can make 43 distinct muscular movement.
• There are 300 combinations of two muscles, if you add in a third
you get over 3000. We took it up to five muscles, which is over
10,000 visible facial configurations.
• Ekman said “ Most of the 10,000 facial expressions do not mean
anything. They are the kinds of nonsense faces children make”.
• However Ekman & Friesen identified about 3000 expressions that
comprise the essential repertoire of human facial displays of
• FROM THE INSIDE OUT Expression alone is
sufficicient to create marked changes in the autonomic
nervous system.-fear, anger,anguish heartbeat would
go up,hands get hot etc.
• The process also works in the opposite direction as
well.Emotions can also start on the face.
• The face is not a secondary billboard for our feelings.it
is a partner in the emotional process.
• FLASHES OF TRUTH Many facial expressions can be
made voluntarily but often some part of another
emotion that we are trying to suppress leaks out.
• Facial expressions can be reformed and corrected.
• The final area of kinesics is appearance.
• Appearance includes clothes, hair, jewelry, cosmetics and
such. It accents our body movements and how we are
• Appearance tells others how we want to be seen. How we
practice the “rules” of the game in an organization.
• If you changed your appearance drastically- from formal to
informal, for example- how would others respond?
• When do you give your appearance special attention?
These occasions tell you about the importance of
• Most people indicate they are not influenced by another’s
physical appearance,but apparently they are.
• Expect your appearance to a part of the messages you
communicate,and should plan your appearance so that it
will effectively communicate to others.
BODY SHAPE AND POSTURE
• Body shape and posture are a part of Kinesics. Body
shape and posture affect how we think about
ourselves, how we relate to others, and how others
relate to us even though body shape is mostly
hereditary and largely uncontrollable.
• When we encounter an unfamiliar situation, we
become more aware of body shape and posture-
interview or a formal speech.
• Posture is part of any relationship, regardless of your
degree of awareness. Whether you lean
forward/backward ,stand or sit erectly,or slouch ,you
tell another person something.
• The others mental filter gives meaning to your posture.
• Behaviorists have studied the shapes of our bodies
and have identified three types. The ectomorph is thin,
youthful, and tall; the mesomorph is strong, athletic,
muscular and bony; the endomorph is fat, round, and
• Indeed our physical structures communicate
something about us. Perhaps these body types lead to
false stereotypes, but the point remains that our
physical structures do communicate.
Nature vs. nurture
Some body language is inherited and consistent among all
humans. Other body language is not.
The use and recognition of certain fundamental facial
expressions are now generally accepted to be consistent and
genetically determined among all humans regardless of
However the use and recognition of less fundamental
physical gestures (hand movements for example, or the
winking of an eye), and aspects of personal space distances,
are now generally accepted to be environmentally
determined (learned, rather than inherited), which is
significantly dependent on local society groups and cultures.
North America: OK
Russia, Brazil, Turkey:
An orifice signal; sexual insult; gay man
Tunisia, France, Belgium: Zero; worthless
Japan: Money; coins
Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Malta: Up yours!
Cultural hand signals
Most western countries: Two
Greece Go to Hell!
South America: Thin
France: You can't fool me!
Mediterranean: Small penis
Widespread use : OK, good, hitchhike
Many Europoean countries: one
Australia: sit on this! (a_s hole)
Western countries: Number 5
Could also mean in many countries: Stop!
Greece and Turkey: Go to hell!
‘Sneering’ involves baring the teeth and flaring
nostrils usually signals anger and irritation.
Among apes, baring the teeth signals an
impending attack while flaring nostrils allows
more oxygenated blood to flow. Humans still
carry the expression as part of evolutionary
Universal facial expressions
Charles Darwin (1872). The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals
P Ekman, E R Sorenson and W V Friesen (1969) Pan-Cultural Elements in
Facial Displays of Emotion, Science Vol 164, No 3875, 4 Apr 1969
Ekman's work included isolated tribes-people
who could not have been influenced by Western
media and images, and essentially proved that
Darwin was right - i.e., that the use and
recognition of facial expressions to convey
certain basic human emotions is part of human
evolved nature, genetically inherited, and not
dependent on social learning or conditioning.
Rules for Better Reading
1) Read Gestures in Cluster
Each gesture is like a single word and one word may
have several different meanings.
Gestures come in ‘sentences’ called “clusters”.
A body language cluster, just like a verbal sentence,
needs around three words in it before one can
approximate what each ‘word’ means.
Critical evaluation cluster:
hand-to-face gesture (main signal)
+ cross arms
+ tightly cross legs
+ head and chin down
Rules for Better Reading
2) Look for congruence
When available, try to find validation in the verbal
Studies show that when verbal and non-verbal
message are incongruent, women tend to follow the
A person saying something different from how he is
behaving non-verbally is usually less believable
Examples of incongruence
Your BF or GF is saying all the ‘right words’ but
avoids your gaze
Your subordinate says its alright for him to do
overtime as you requested but you can see the
sneer in his face
Rules for Better Reading
3) Read gestures in context
Example: a person, chin down, crossing both legs and
arms in a cold night outside may not be acting
defensive but plainly feeling cold
But if the person was acting the same way in a setting
which was not warm and did not act that way until you
started blaming him for the failure of a business
engagement, may be acting defensively.
Hands out with palms upward
“I’m a peace maker”
Asking for help
Similar to palms upward but with drawing motion; also
may be waving hands around as long as its facing the
May indicate invitation or ‘sweet’ attempts at persuasion
Palms down and Palms out
Dominating move; authority; holding others at bay while
you speak; may mean you already made up your mind and
not open to input; you are firm with your message;
sometimes viewed as hostility;
Notice two lovers holding hands while walking, may
sometimes indicate who is on the ‘upper hand’.
Palms down, may usually change or combined with to
palms out which basically means the same except the latter
is more forceful
Palms out became a fad in the 90’s “talk to the hand”
Newborns squalling usually curl their hands into a tight
fist. This is observed even with deaf or blind babies
indicating that it is not a learned gesture but an inborn
response to anger or frustration
The difficulty nowadays is that it is used in many ways
even in jest
A hand with open fingers generally displays open-
Tightly close fingers indicate person is uptight and
The best way to interpret open or close fingers is
when seen together with palms down or palms up
Ex. Palms down with fingers apart may mean: “I
feel strongly about my position but I may also be
willing to hear things”
Nervousness signs: wringing hands, pulling or bending fingers, digging
nails on the fist, drumming fingertips on table tops usually show
Self touches may also indicate that all is not well since it is a way of
Rubbing the face (nose or chin)
Crossing arms in a tight hug
Clasping hands together tightly
Clenching hands in a fist
Boredom signs: finger tapping, facial rubbing,
supporting head with hand, knuckle cracking,
any motion to rouse the person (slapping own
Notice that some of these signs are also signs of
boredom thus one must be observant for other
Evaluation is shown by a
closed hand resting on the
chin or cheek, often with the
index finger pointing upwards.
When the person begins to
lose interest but still wants to
appear interested the position
will alter so that the heel
of the palm supports the head
as boredom sets in.
When the index
finger points vertically up
the cheek and the thumb
supports the chin, the
listener is having negative or
critical thoughts about the
speaker or his
Chin Stroke is the signal
that the listener is going
through the decision-
Research found those who habitually rub the
back of the neck have a tendency to be negative
or critical, whereas those who habitually rub
their foreheads to non-verbalize an error tend
to be more open and easy-going.
NOTE: hand-to-face gestures can easily be
The more powerful the politician the more controlled the
Many politicians rehearse their hand gestures
•Bush showing his hand in the podium, “I have nothing to hide”
•Marcos pounding his fist, “I intend to pursue the point”
Squeezing against the thumb against the fingertips avoids
intimidating the audience (Tony Blair style)
•In a study, subjects shown this gesture tend to interpret the doer as
someone who is ‘thoughtful’, ‘goal oriented’ and focused. While those
who used pointed finger were viewed as ‘aggressive’, ‘belligerent’ and
Dominance: turning hand so that palm faces
Submission: turning hand so that palm faces
Equality: both hands in vertical position. This
creates a feeling of equality and mutual respect.
Hands on the back- emotions attached to this
gesture is superiority, confidence and power
Thumb displays – in general, usually indicate
several things including dominance and
assertiveness. It also shows confident and
sometimes authoritative and aggressive attitudes.
To be understood, it needs to be read in a cluster.
People who wear high-status or prestige clothing usually
display their thumbs.
Hands clenched indicates
frustration even when smiling.
Steeple usually signal
confident attitude. It is
usually used in a superior-
Face Platter: Used mainly by
women and gay men to
attract a man’s attention
We respond normally to external threats by hiding behind a
barrier. As children we hide behind something when we are in
threatening situations. At the end of pre-school age (4-6) we
usually learn to ‘create a barrier by folding our arms tightly
across our chest when we are threatened. During teens, we
make our crossed arms less obvious by relaxing it a little and
combining it perhaps with crossed-legs. As adults we become
more sophisticated in making it less obvious to others.
Monkeys and chimps also crossed-arms to protect
themselves from frontal attack
The gesture is a classic sign of protective gesture. People
who feel nervous, threatened, in a defensive or negative
attitude would tend to also do the gesture.
In a study, students who were instructed to
tightly crossed their arms while listening to a
lecture had 38% less retention than those not
closing their arms, legs and were in a more
Studies also show that observer reaction to a
person crossing arms tended to be negative
compared to someone who did not cross arms
Clenched fist arms-crossed show hostile
Double arm grip crossed arms- showing feelings
of insecurity and not buying what is being told.
Crossed-arms with thumbs up – defensive but
wants to think he is still ok or cool
Posture and Legs
A subtle characteristic wherein others usually ‘feel’ there is something wrong but can’t put their finger
Aside from creating possible physical aches it also projects negative personality images:
Unsure of one’s self
Don’t appear to be interesting
Slouching makes you appear smaller
Straightening the spine (sitting or standing straight) is one
way to transform appearance.
The person appears
May also indicate readiness for action
Animals standing and trying to make itself appear large usually
indicate feeling threatened and would attack.
Body parts in the lower region are usually far
from one’s awareness so most of the time less
Legs and feet are important sources of
information because people do not pay so much
awareness in them like they do with their face
gestures and they usually do not consider faking
A person may look composed in the upper body but
would show feet tapping or short air jabs of the feet as
if indicating the frustration at not being able to escape
the situation or feeling anxious
Feet jiggling is similar to the idea of getting
away from what is experience. It is usually a sign
of discomfort and nervousness.
To make use of this action fully, try to look for
congruence/incongruence in the verbal language
Experiments showed (using managers as
respondents) that when subjects lied they
increased their foot movements. Most of the
respondents faked their facial gestures or
controlled hand movements when lying but are
usually unaware of the increased movements in
foot or/and legs
Studies also showed that observers tend to catch
lies better when they see the entire body of the
4 main legs position
This is a formal position that shows a neutral
attitude with no commitment to stay or go.
In male—female encounters, it is used more by
women than men as it effectively keeps the legs
together like a 'No Comment' signal.
Used often by subordinates when talking with
This is predominantly a male gesture and is like
a standing Crotch Display.
The Crotch Displayer plants both feet firmly on
the ground, making a clear statement that he
has no intention of leaving.
It is used as a dominance signal by men because
it highlights the genitals, giving the Crotch
Displayer a macho-looking attitude.
The body weight is shifted to one hip, which leaves
the front foot pointing forward.
A clue to a person's immediate intentions, because
we point our lead foot in the direction our mind
would like to go.
In a group situation, we point our lead foot at the
most interesting or attractive person but when we
want to leave, we point our feet at the nearest exit.
Leg Cross (while standing)
Usually casual or indicating being reserved.
In certain situations where a person is with
strangers, the leg cross is done together with
the arm cross and there is some distance
between the person and others.
Standing hands on hip
Posturing for authority, sometimes associated
with aggressiveness. Standing two feet on the
ground makes one look bigger, and this is
exaggerated when hands are on hips.
Compressing lips – classing sign of anger
Puckered lips – (lip shape when one is about to
kiss) a sign of affection (e.g. love, sensuality or
Purse lips – the shape is between compressed
and puckered lips. Usually indicates anger,
confusion or disagreement on some level.
Pouting – sadness, anger or frustration. May
also be done as a playful gesture.
Licking the lips – a gesture often misunderstood
especially by men. It can send a variety of
message depending on who is doing the licking
and the setting.
Jaw drop – shocked, confused
Jaw locked - lower jaw appear like it is set in
stone; anger, tension, sadness
Smiling – happy.
A real smile is…
Lips move or curl upward
Nose may crinkle slightly
Nostrils may flare
Muscles around the eyes are fully engaged
A fake smile is…
Lips move laterally towards the ears
Muscles and features of the rest of the face remain somewhat stagnant
Raising eyebrows – a way of emphasizing what is said; can also
indicate confusion. It is also perceived as submissive signal in
both humans and apes
those not used to lying, this is good indicator of telling the truth;
for perennial liars, raising brows could mean that it’s a lie.
When someone raises brows while questioning, notice other
signs (open mouth or flared nostrils) then it would indicate that
he has concerns of what you are saying.
Single eye brow raise- often means “I don’t believe you”.
Lowering brows is showing dominance and aggression
Blinking – the average person blinks about 20 times a minute.
More than the average usually means excitement or anxiety.
Squinting – when you squint to someone who is talking to
you the impression is generally you are doubting what he or
she is saying. Even if the real reason of your squint is you can’t
Half-closed eye – boredom and fatigue
Open eyes – usually interpreted as fully present at the
Eyes that are too open – (showing white part) may indicate
Dilating pupils – Excitement, mental activity
(e.g. problem solving and fully dilates in finding
Contracting pupils – angry, negative mood
Eyebrow flash – eyebrows rise rapidly and drops
again with the intention of drawing attention to
the face. This is usually used as a ‘hello’ signal or
social greeting and is found to be present in
apes and monkeys
Studies show that people tend to read eye
areas well than any other body parts and
women are better than men.
Autistic people, in general have a deficiency in
reading body language even if they have high
IQs. Researchers suspect this as the reason for
their poor social relations
• You are seen before you are heard.
• Movements if they are significant are learned.
We pride them as a part of society.
• Strong and weak body language – examine the
BODY LANGUAGEBODY LANGUAGE
THE BODYTHE BODY
OF POWEROF POWER
THE BODYTHE BODY
LANGUAGE OFLANGUAGE OF
• Body language consists of word, sentences and punctuation.
• Each gesture is like a single word e.g. Scratching, lying, fleas,
dandruff, sweating, uncertainty or forgetfulness.
• Critical – seen by the fact that the legs are tightly cross and arms
crosses the body (defensive) head and chin are down (hostility)
sentenced - i don’t like what you are saying and i disagree with
• Status power or prestige is also directly related to the number of
gestures or body movements he uses.
• As a general rule the higher the person on the socio-economic
scale, the less gesticulation and body movement he uses.
SMOKE DOWN :
Negative, secretive, suspicious
SMOKE UP :
Confident, superior, positive
TERRITORIES AND ZONES
• Dr. EDWARD T.HALL STUDIED MAN’S PERSONAL SPACE ,
HE COINED THE WORD PROXEMICS –
• SENSE OF TERRITORY IS INBORN IN ANIMALS. HUMANS
LIKE ANIMALS INDICATE THEIR OWNERSHIP OF THIS
ESTABLISHED TERRITORY AND WILL CONSEQUENTLY
DEFENDED AGAINST ALL INVASION. E.g.- 2nd
• SUBSTANCE OF CONVERSATION CAN OFTEN DEMAND
HANDLING OF SPACE. E.g.- TELLING A SECRET- NEGATES
THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF THE MESSAGE ITSELF.
• THE PROXEMICS OF HOME IS AN INTERESTING STUDY.
• POLICE INTERROGATORS USE TERRITORIAL INVASION
TECHNICS TO BREAK DOWN THE RESISTANCE OF THE
• CULTURAL FACTORS AFFECTING THE ZONE DISTANCES
• COUNTRY Vs CITY SPATIAL ZONES
• As the density of the crowd increases,
each individual has less personal space
and takes a hostile stand, which is why,
as the size of the mob increases, it
becomes angrier and uglier. This
information is used by the police, and they
try to break up the crowd so that each
person can regain his own personal space
and so become calmer.
HAND AND ARM GESTURE
• RESEARCH BY NIERENBERG AND CALERO ON THE HANDS-
CLENCHED POSITION BROUGHT TO THE CONCLUSION THAT
THIS WAS A FRUSTRATION GESTURE, SIGNALLING THAT
THE PERSON WAS HOLDING BACK A NEGATIVE ATTITUDE.
• STEEPLING - CAN BE AN EXCEPTION TO THESE RULES. IT IS
OFTEN USED IN ISOLATION OF OTHER GESTURES.
HANDS CLENCHED IN
HANDS CLENCHED IN
THE UPPER ARM GRIP
THE HAND GRIPPING
THE SUPERIORITY –
RUBBING THE PALMS TOGETHER
HANDS CLENCHED IN
• In palmistry, the thumbs denote strength of character and
ego and the non verbal use of thumb agrees with this.
• Thumb displays are positive signals, they are secondary
gestures, a supportive part of gesture cluster.
• Thumbs protruding from pockets shows dominant attitude.
• Arms folded with thumbs pointing upwards is a double
signal, -defensive, negative attitude plus a superior
• Closed fist thumb gesture can be used as a signal of
ridicule and disrespect when it is used to point at a another
FROM BACK POCKETS
IN MY HUMBLE OPINION…
HAND TO FACE GESTURES
• THE MOUTH GUARDTHE MOUTH GUARD THE
BRAIN SUB-CONSICOUSLY INSTRUCTS TO TRY AND
SUPPRESS THE DECEITFUL WORDS THAT ARE BEING SAID.
• NOSE TOUCHINGNOSE TOUCHING
IS SOPHISTICATED, DISGUISED VERSION OF THE MOUTH
GUARD. LYING CAUSES THE DELICATE NERVE ENDING IN THE
NOSE TO TINGLE
• THE EYE RUBTHE EYE RUB
THIS GESTURE IS THE BRAIN’S ATTEMPT TO BLOCK OUT THE
DECEIT, DOUBT OR LIE THAT IT SEES OR TO AVOID HAVING TO
LOOK AT THE FACE OF THE PERSON TO WHOM HE IS TELLING
• THE EAR RUBTHE EAR RUB
AN ATTEMPT BY THE LISTENER TO BLOCK THE WORDS
“HEAR NO EVIL” OR THAT A PERSON HAS HEARD ENOUGH OR
MAY WANT TO SPEAK.
HAND TO FACE GESTURE
• THE NECK SCRATCHTHE NECK SCRATCH
THE PERSON SCRACTHES ABOUT FIVE TIMES - IS A SIGNAL
OF DOUBT OR UNCERTAINITY AND IS CHARACTERISTIC OF A
PERSON WHO SAYS “ I M NOT SURE I AGREE”
• THE COLLAR PULLTHE COLLAR PULL
DESMOND MORRIS RESEARCHED THAT TELLING OF A LIE
CAUSED A TINGLING SENSATION IN THE DELICATE FACIAL
AND NECK TISSUES. IT IS ALMOST AS IF THE LIE CAUSES A
SLIGHT TRICKLE OF SWEAT TO FORM ON THE NECK WHEN
THE DECEIVER FEELS THAT YOU SUSPECT HE IS LYING.
PAIN IN THE NECK GESTURE
REASSURANCE IS NEEDED HERE
ARM BARRIERSARM BARRIERS
HIDING BEHIND A BARRIER IS A NORMAL HUMAN
RESPONSE THAT WE LEARN AT AN EARLY AGE
TO PROTECT OURSELVES.
TESTS REVEALTHAT, WHEN A LISTENER FOLDS
HIS ARMS,NOT ONLY HE HAS MORE NEGATIVE
THOUGHTS ABOUT THE SPEAKER, BUT ALSO
PAYS LESS ATTENTION TO WHAT IS BEING SAID-
IT IS FOR THIS REASON TRAINING CENTERS
HAVE CHAIRS WITH ARMS.
STANDARD ARM-CROSS GESTURESTANDARD ARM-CROSS GESTURE - IS AN ATTEMPT
TO HIDE FROM AN UNFAVOURABLE SITUATION COMMONLY
SEEN WHEN THE PERSON IS AMONGST THE STRANGERS,
PUBLIC MEETING, QUEUES, CAFETERIAS, ELEVATORS, OR
ANYWHERE PEOPLE FEEL UNCERTAIN OR INSECURE.
PARTIAL ARM/ BARRIERPARTIAL ARM/ BARRIER - IS OFTEN SEEN AT MEETINGS
WHERE A PERSON MAY BE A STRANGER TO THE GROUP
OR IS LACKING IN SELF-CONFIDENCE. IT ALLOWS A PERON
TO RELIVE THE EMOTIONAL SECURITY THAT HE
EXPERIENCED AS A CHILD WHEN HIS PARENTS HELD HIS
HANDS UNDER FEARFUL CIRCUMSTANCES.
ARM BARRIERSARM BARRIERS
FIST SHOWS A HOSTILE
HOLDING HANDS WITH ONESELF
STANDARD ARM CROSS
• THE STANDARD LEG-CROSS POSITIONTHE STANDARD LEG-CROSS POSITION
MAY BE USED TO SHOW A NERVOUS, RESERVED OR DEFENSIVE
ATTITUDE. HOWEVER THIS SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED IN
ISOLATION OR OUT OF CONTEXT.
• THE AMERICAN FIGURE 4 LEG LOCK POSITIONTHE AMERICAN FIGURE 4 LEG LOCK POSITION
INDICATES THAT AN ARGUEMENTATIVE OR COMPETITIVE ATTITUDE
• FIGURE 4 LEG CLAMPFIGURE 4 LEG CLAMP
SIGN OF THE TOUGH MINDED, STUBBORN INDIVIDUAL WHO MAY NEED
A SPECIAL APPROACH TO BREAK THROUH HIS RESISTANCE.
• STANDING LEG CROSS GESTURESTANDING LEG CROSS GESTURE
GENERALLY MOST PEOPLE STAND LIKE THIS WHEN THEY ARE AMONG
PEOPLE WHOM THEY DO NOT KNOW WELL.
• THE ANKLE LOCK GESTURETHE ANKLE LOCK GESTURE
OBSERVATION HAVE REVEALED THAT HE IS TRYING TO HOLD BACK A
NEGATIVE ATTITUDE, EMOTION, NERVOUSNESS OR FEAR.
• THE FOOT LOCKTHE FOOT LOCK
IT IS ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY USED BY WOMEN. SHOWS THAT SHE HAS
BECOME A MENTAL RECLUSE OR HAS RETREATED INTO HER SHELL.
AMERICAN 4 LEG LOCK
ARMS LOCK THE LEG IN
CLOSED BODY &
OPEN BODY & OPEN ATTITUDE
FEMALE – ANKLE LOCK
THE STANDARD LEG CROSS
WOMAN SHOWING DISPLEASURE
• EYES ARE STEELY, KNOWING, MOCKING, PIERCING, GLOWING
AND SO ON.
• IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A BURNING GLANCE OR A HURT
• FAR FROM BEING WINDOWS OF THE SOUL EYES ARE
PHYSIOLOGICALLY DEAD ENDS, SIMPLY ORGANS OF SIGHT
BUT NEVER REALLY CAPABLE OF EXPRESSING EMOTION IN
• EYES CAN TRANSMIT THE MOST SUBTLE NUANCES, THE
EMOTIONAL IMPACT OF THE EYES OCCUR BECAUSE OF THEIR
USE AND THE USE OF THE FACE AROUND THEM.
• THE LENGTH OF GLANCE, BY OPENING OF EYELIDS, BY
SQUINTING AND BY A DOZEN LITTLE MANIPULATONS OF THE
SKIN AND EYES, ALMOST ANY MEANING CAN BE SENT OUT.
EYE SIGNALSEYE SIGNALS
• IT IS ONLY WHEN YOU SEE EYE TO EYE WITH ANOTHER
PERSON THAT A REAL BASIS FOR COMMUNICATION CAN BE
• LIKE MOST BODY LANGUAGE AND GESTURE, THE LENGTH OF
TIME THAT ONE PERSON GAZES AT ANOTHER IS CULTURALLY
• NOT ONLY IS THE LENGTH OF THE GAZE SIGNIFICANT; JUST
AS IMPORTANT IS THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA OF THE
PERSON’S FACE AND BODY AT WHICH YOU DIRECT YOUR
GAZES.THESE SIGNALS ARE TRANSMITTED AND RECEIVED
NON-VERBALLY AND ARE ACCURATELLY INTERPRETED BY
OTHER POPULAR GESTURES AND ACTION
• STRANDDLING A CHAIR -STRANDDLING A CHAIR - SYMBOLISES THE SAME PROTECTIVE
BEHAVIOR TO SHIELD HIMSELF WHEN UNDER PHYSICAL OR
• PICKING IMAGINERY LINT -PICKING IMAGINERY LINT - WHEN A PERSON DISAPPROVES OF THE
OPINIONS OR ATTITUDES OF OTHERS BUT FEELS CONSTRAINED IN
GIVING HIS POINT OF VIEW. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST COMMON
SIGANLS OF DISAPPROVAL AND INDICATES HE DOES NOT LIKE
WHAT IS BEING SAID EVEN THOUGH HE MAY BE VERBALLY
AGREEING WITH EVERYTHING.
• HEAD GESTURE -HEAD GESTURE - HEAD UP IS THE POSITION TAKEN BY A PERSON
WHO HAS A NEUTRAL ATTITUDE ABOUT WHAT HE IS HEARING.
WHEN THE HEAD TILTS TO ONE SIDE IT SHOWS THATWHEN THE HEAD TILTS TO ONE SIDE IT SHOWS THAT
INTEREST HAS DEVELOPED.INTEREST HAS DEVELOPED.
WHEN THE HEAD IS DOWN IT SIGNALS THAT THE ATTITUDE ISWHEN THE HEAD IS DOWN IT SIGNALS THAT THE ATTITUDE IS
NEGATIVE AND EVEN JUDGEMENTAL.NEGATIVE AND EVEN JUDGEMENTAL.
BOTH HANDS BEHIND THE HEAD “I HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS,BOTH HANDS BEHIND THE HEAD “I HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS,
“EVERYTHING’S UNDERCONTROL – FEELING CONFIDENT,“EVERYTHING’S UNDERCONTROL – FEELING CONFIDENT,
DOMINANT OR SUPERIOR ABOUT SOMETHING.DOMINANT OR SUPERIOR ABOUT SOMETHING.
BODY POINTING IS USED TO EXCLUDE THE MAN ON THE RIGHT
Being a bad listener,
Putting people down ,
Raising one’s voice ,
BODY LANGUAGEBODY LANGUAGE
Tense body posture,
Hands on hips,
Prolonged eye contact,
Looking down on others.
DESCRIPTION BODY LANGUAGE
Self depreciating,Self depreciating,
Low self-esteem,Low self-esteem,
Too ready to please.Too ready to please.
Covering mouth and eyes,Covering mouth and eyes,
Stumped posture,Stumped posture,
Nervous deposition,Nervous deposition,
Poor eye contact,Poor eye contact,
Faltering voice,Faltering voice,
Pleading smile,Pleading smile,
Tendency towards obsequiousness.Tendency towards obsequiousness.
DESCRIPTION BODY LANGUAGE
Firm but fair,
Offering praise where due,
Treating people as equals.
Relaxed posture,Relaxed posture,
Face-to-face eye contact,Face-to-face eye contact,
Calm and open gestures,Calm and open gestures,
Relaxed facial expression,Relaxed facial expression,
Maintaining reasonableMaintaining reasonable
distance from subject (not toodistance from subject (not too
close for comfort),close for comfort),
Resonant speech,Resonant speech,
Unambiguous hand signals.Unambiguous hand signals.
DESCRIPTION BODY LANGUAGE
Patronizing,Patronizing, Exaggerate gestures (such as openExaggerate gestures (such as open
Crafty,Crafty, palms to indicate deliberate sincerity),palms to indicate deliberate sincerity),
Calculating,Calculating, Overly laid back posture,Overly laid back posture,
Insincere,Insincere, Patronizing touching,Patronizing touching,
Two – faced,Two – faced, Exaggerated eye contact,Exaggerated eye contact,
A “user”,A “user”, Sugary voice tone,Sugary voice tone,
Lacking trust,Lacking trust, PattingPatting
Overly friendly,Overly friendly,
Making ends justify means,Making ends justify means,
TEN GESTURES THAT USUALLY FAILTEN GESTURES THAT USUALLY FAIL
• Standing rigid with your arms at your sides
• Clutching your chest with both arms
• Gripping the podium or projector with white knuckles
• Playing with hair, clothing or face
• Clasping hands behind you
• Mismatching gestures and words
• Shrugging when making assertions
• Shrugging immediately after the talk
• Tugging at clothing
• Moving extraneously in any way
SEVEN GESTURES THAT USUALLY WORKSEVEN GESTURES THAT USUALLY WORK
• Resting arms comfortably
• Opening arms and palms (if the words match)
• Enumerating with the hand (don’t make this your
only gesture and never do it more than once in a
• Tenting the fingers
• Sweeping arm from one side to the other to show
movement or progress
• Chopping from top to bottom side to side to match a
• Avoiding extraneous movement
WEEK BODY LANGUAGEWEEK BODY LANGUAGE
• Looks nervous
• Plays with pencil or notes
• Reads or mumbles talk
• Rustles transparencies
• Whispers to someone nearby
• Slouches with legs apart or scrunches body
• Crosses legs and keeps one moving
• Grips notes with both hands
• Closes fists
• Crosses arms tightly over chest
STRONG BODY LANGUAGESTRONG BODY LANGUAGE
• Sits straight , leaning slightly forward
• Attends closely to the previous speakers
• Takes notes (perhaps to refer to when her turn comes)
• Places feet comfortably flat on the floor or crossed
• Rests comfortably (if not taking notes)
• Surveys audience to spot potential problems with line
of sight or hearing
• Looks relaxed
• Smiles when appropriate
• Seems to enjoy
• TOUCH: Often the swiftest and the obvious type of
body language. Touch spells a more vivid and direct
message than a dozen of words, but such a touch
must come at the right moment and in the right
context. Touch varies from culture to culture.
• TYPES OF TOUCH: Compulsive- completely
impervious to all messages. Assertive- Gentle,
empathy. Passive- minimal. Aggressive- firm, jabbing,
pointing without touching.
TWO BASIC GROUP OF BL POSTURES:
• OPEN CLOSED: Accepting or rejecting messages.
• FORWARD BACK: Actively or passively reactive to
• Posture group combine to create four basic modes.
• Responsive mode: open/forward-actively accepting,
time to close the sale/deal, ask for agreement, demand
• Reflective mode: open/back- interested and receptive
but not actively accepting. Time to present further facts
and incentives, time to keep quiet and let him think.
• Fugitive mode: closed/back- trying to escape physically
or mentally into boredom, time to spark interest even if
• Combative mode: closed / Forward - there is active
resistance, try to soften, defuse anger, avoid
contradictions, outright arguments. Steer towards
FOUR BASIC MODES OF BODYFOUR BASIC MODES OF BODY
LANGUAGE IN BUISNESSLANGUAGE IN BUISNESS
RESPONSIVE REFELECTIVE FUGITIVE COMBATIVE
EngagedEngaged ListeningListening BoredBored Let me speakLet me speak
Leaning forwardLeaning forward Head tiltedHead tilted Staring intoStaring into
Finger tappingFinger tapping
Open bodyOpen body Lots of eyeLots of eye
Foot tappingFoot tapping
Open armsOpen arms NoddingNodding DoodlingDoodling StaringStaring
Open handsOpen hands High blink rateHigh blink rate FootFoot
EAGER EVALUATING LET ME GO AGGRESSIVE
Sucks glasses/Sucks glasses/
Feet towardsFeet towards
Open legsOpen legs Strokes chinStrokes chin LookingLooking
Finger pointingFinger pointing
Feet underFeet under
Looks up andLooks up and
Fist clenchedFist clenched
On toesOn toes Legs crossed inLegs crossed in
4 position4 position
(Ankle on knee)(Ankle on knee)
ATTENTIVE REJECTION DEFIANT
Closes papersCloses papers
Arms behindArms behind
on hipson hips
moving backmoving back
Hands backHands back
Pen downPen down SmileSmile Arms foldedArms folded FrownFrown
Hands flat onHands flat on
Open FeetOpen Feet
Legs crossedLegs crossed
11 position11 position
(Thigh on knee)(Thigh on knee)
Head downHead down
READY TO PROCEED
READINESS TO END AN
CONVERSATION – HANDS ON KNEES
• (Standing) Feet pointing in
• Hands clenched
• Touches faceTouches face
• Hands over mouthHands over mouth
• Pulls earPulls ear
• Eyes downEyes down
• Glances at youGlances at you
• Shifts in seatShifts in seat
• Looks down and to leftLooks down and to left
The man on the right
indicating he wants
To avoid being seen as
aggressive, we stand with our
bodies angled at 45 degrees
to each other during friendly
encounters to form an angle
of 90 degrees.
Open triangular position
encouraging the entry of a
Direct body pointing
in the Closed Position
to attempt to get a
If another person wants to join two
others standing in a Closed
Position, he'll be invited when the
other two angle their bodies to
form the triangle. If not accepted,
the others will hold the Closed
Position and turn only their heads
towards him as a sign of
recognition and probably give
Body Pointing is used to close off a
couple and exclude the man on the
Not only do the feet serve as
pointers indicating the
direction in which a person's
mind is going, they also point
at people who we find the
most interesting or attractive.
Most common deceit signals
(Pease and Pease)
IMPORTANT: in applying these common deceit
signals, strictly enforce the three rules on reading
body language: Clusters, Congruence or
Incongruence and Context
The least dependable signs of lying are the ones
over which a person has the most control, such as
words, because a person can rehearse their lies.
The most reliable clues to lying are the gestures a
person makes automatically, because they have
little or no control over them.
(subconscious suppression of deceitful words)
The mouth cover may involve the whole hand, a
few fingers or the fist.
If a person covers mouth while talking, maybe
If a person covers mouth while the other is
talking may indicate disbelief
Several quick rubs below the nose or one quick nose touch.
Research show that when a person lies, certain chemicals are
released causing tissue inside the nose to swell as well as
increase in blood pressure thus the human nose expands with
blood during lying and is known as the “Pinocchio effect”, this
cause the nose to tingle resulting to a rubbing action to satisfy
A real itch in the nose is usually an isolated repetitive gesture
and is incongruent or out of context with the person’s overall
When a child doesn’t want to look at something, he covers eyes.
Among grown ups it becomes more complex and turns into the eye
rub which could mean the blocking out of deceit, doubt or deceitful
thing it sees or to avoid having to look at the face of the person being
Men usually do the eye rub more than women.
Women use, small gentle touching motions just below the eye.
Looking away holds the same meaning
“lying through your teeth” – a combination of clenched teeth, false
smile and eye rub.
This the adult version of the ‘hands-over-both-ears’
used by child.
It’s the symbolic attempt to block the words heard
by putting hand around or over the ear or tugging
the earlobe, rubbing the back of the ear or ‘finger
drill’ (finger is screwed back and forth in the ear
It can also mean the person has heard enough and
want to speak.
In Italy it means someone is gay
index finger — scratches the side of the neck
below the earlobe
This gesture is a signal of doubt or uncertainty
and is characteristic of the person who says, 'I'm
not sure I agree.‘
It is noticeable when verbal language
contradicts it (e.g. I understand what you mean)
Collar Pull - lies cause a
tingling sensation in the facial
and neck tissues making the
scratch the part. This also
explains the collar pull.
Increased blood pressure
from the deceit causes sweat
to form on the neck when the
deceiver feels that you
suspect he's not telling
Collar Pull could also mean
anger and frustration.
Deceit signals (Hagen)
Self touches (nose touch, rubbing back neck)
Lack of eye contact
Excessive won’t back down eye contact
Angling body away from accuser
Hiding the hands
Biting the lips or covering mouth
Exaggerated movement of arms and legs
Corner position: For
friendly and casual
The Co-operative Position: used
best when two people are thinking
alike or when working on a task
Position: Sitting across the
table from a person can
create a defensive,
and can lead to each party
taking a firm stand on his
point of view because the
table becomes a solid
barrier between both
Sitting directly opposite
each other creates bad
This is taken by people
when they don't want
to interact with each