“I teach police officers this one importantfact: “if you pull somebody over and you seethe person looking down but you see thenose wings start to dilate, move backbecause chances are theyre oxygenatingand theyre going to get violent.”“If they begin to touch their neck, this isusually a very good indicator that there issome issue there, there is something thatthey feel uncomfortable about and that theyshould perhaps pursue. And this is a veryaccurate indicator. And the beauty of it isthat you see it in real time.”People may lie but their bodies do not andcannot. Look for the clues and watch everymovement.
Liars come in with a script in their heads.Remember this fact! You trip liars up by making them fill-indetails that they haven’t rehearsed."A lot of different signs of anxiety are mistaken for signs ofdeception.” Research shows that even for the innocent,the whole tenor of an encounter with police can make itharder to remember things accurately. "In interrogation thewhole goal is to convince somebody or trick them orcoerce them whatever it takes to get them to confess tothe crime.“Today there is a movement to change that mindset andconvince law enforcement and other interrogators thatencounters with suspects are opportunities to getinformation, not just a moment to elicit a confession. Theconcern is that if an interviewer is already convinced thatsomeone committed the crime they are investigating,interviewers stop searching for other answers. And thatcan lead to mistakes. If you are in law enforcement,remember this important fact! Seek Information, Not a Confession
Ask a Simple QuestionBasically the system asks an interviewer to payattention to words and verbal cues rather thanfocusing on non-verbal communication.Interviewers should begin with a non-threatening question.The first question is designed to giveinterviewers a baseline of sorts. It gives theman idea of how much detail someone provideswhen they are telling a story truthfully. Next,interviewers are supposed to ask the person totell them about the event under investigation.Then they compare the two stories. Does thesuspect use the same number of descriptivephrases? Is there the same kind of recall? Allthese things are very important when trying toturn a gut instinct about whether someone islying, into something more rooted in specificpatterns.
Then comes the harder question, which oftenseparates the liars from the truth-tellers: "Nowwhat I want you to do is simply go back to thattime and describe every single thing thathappened but this time I want you to tell me whathappened last and work all the way backwards."A liar is going to have a hell of a time doing this!Try this the next time your teenager comes homelate.The point is that a person who is being honesttends to provide tons of little facts, anecdotaldetails that you only get from living a situation. Infact, truth-tellers tend to add about 30 percentmore detail than people who are lying.But there are still practical questions on how lawenforcement might use this approach. Thesystem might work with someone who has todecided to talk, but what about someone who isrefusing to cooperate? Thats unclear.
Aggressive body languageA significant cluster of body movements is usedto signal aggression.ThreatFacial signals - Much aggression can be shownin the face, from disapproving frowns and pursedlips to sneers and full snarls. The eyes can beused to stare and hold the gaze for long period.They may also squint, preventing the otherperson seeing where you are looking.Attack signals - When somebody is about toattack, they give visual signals such as clenchingof fists ready to strike and lowering and spreadingof the body for stability. They are also likely togive anger signs such as redness of the face.
Exposing oneself - Exposing oneself to attack is also a form of aggression.It is saying Go on - I dare you. I will still win. It can include not looking atthe other person, crotch displays, relaxing the body, turning away and soon.Invasion - Invading the space of the other person in some way is an act ofaggression that is equivalent to one country invading another.False friendship - Invasion is often done under the cloak of familiarity,where you act as if you are being friendly and move into a space reservedfor friends, but without being invited. This gives the other person adilemma of whether to repel a friendly advance or to accept dominance ofthe other.Approach - When you go inside the comfort zone of others withoutpermission, you are effectively invading their territory. The close you get,the greater your ability to have first strike, from which an opponent maynot recover.Touching - Touching the person is another form of invasion. Even touchingsocial touch zones such as arm and back can be aggressive.
GesturesInsulting gestures - There are many, many gestures that have the primaryintent of insulting the other person and hence inciting them to anger and aperhaps unwise battle. Single and double fingers pointed up, arm thrusts,chin tilts and so on are used, although many of these do vary acrosscultures (which can make for hazardous accidental movements when youare overseas).Mock attacks - Gestures may include symbolic action that mimics actualattacks, including waving fingers (the beating baton), shaking fists, head-butts, leg-swinging and so on. This is saying Here is what I will do to you!Physical items may be used as substitutes, for example banging of tablesand doors or throwing. Again, this is saying This could be you!‘Sudden movements - All of these gestures may be done suddenly,signaling your level of aggression and testing the other personsreactions.Large gestures - The size of gestures may also be used to signal levels ofaggression, from simple finger movements to whole arm sweeps,sometimes even with exaggerated movements of the entire body.
Attentive body languageWhen you are in conversation or otherwise attending to what others aresaying or doing, you body sends signals to the other person as to howinterested you really are. Attentive body language sends a strong signal ofreal and deep interest that is both flattering and likely to result in reciprocalattention. It was said that if you met with the English 19th century politicianWilliam Gladstone, you would come away thinking he was the mostintelligent and witty person in the country. If, however, you met his peerBenjamin Disraeli, then you would come away thinking that you were themost intelligent and witty person. Disraeli, it would seem, was somewhatmore skilled at paying attention.Listening - A person who is attentive is first of all listening. This can be ofvarying intensity though attentive listening is deep and interested.Ignoring distractions - There are many competing stimuli that demand ourattention. If a person ignores distraction, from phone calls to other peopleinterrupting, then they send strong and flattering I am interested in yousignals.
Stillness - Body movement often betrays distracting thoughts and feelings.When the listener is largely still, the implication is of forgetting everythingelse except the other person, with not even internal dialogue being allowedto distract.Leaning forward - When I am interested in you and what you have to say Iwill likely lean slightly towards you, perhaps better to hear everything youhave to say.Tilted head - An attentive head may be tilted slightly forward. It also mayshow curiosity when tilted to the side (although this may also indicateuncertainty).Gaze - An attentive person looks at the other person without taking theirgaze away. They will likely blink less, almost for fear of missing something.Furrowed brow - Concentration may also be shown in the forehead as theeyebrows are brought together as the listener seeks to hear andunderstand the other person.Wanting more - An attentive person seeks not just to hear but to be readyto listen to everything the other person has to say.
Patience - When you want to hear more from the other person you arepatient, listening until they have finished speaking and not butting in withyour views. Even when you have something to say or when they pause,you still patiently seek a full understanding of them and give them space inwhich to complete what they have to say.Open body - Open body language shows that you are not feelingdefensive and are mentally open to what they have to say (and hence notclosed to their thoughts).Slow nodding - Nodding shows agreement and also encourages the otherperson to keep talking. Fast nodding may show impatience, whilst a slowernod indicates understanding and approval.Interest noises - Little noises such as uh huh and mmm show that youare interested, understand and want to hear more. They thus encouragethe other person to keep talking.Reflecting - When you reflect the other person back to them they feelaffirmed and that you are aligned with them. Reflecting activities rangefrom matching body language to paraphrasing what they say.
Bored body languageWhen a person is bored, they whole body is telling you. So if you are tryingto persuade them, dont bother (unless you are trying to bore them intosubmission).Language of boredom - A ready body is poised for action.Distraction - A bored person looks anywhere but at the person who istalking to them. They find other things to do, from doodling to talking withothers to staring around the room. They may also keep looking at theirwatch or a wall clock.Repetition - Bored people often repeat actions such as tapping toes,swinging feet or drumming fingers. The repetition may escalate as they tryto signal their boredom.Tiredness - A person who feels that they are unable to act to relieve theirboredom may show signs of tiredness. They may yawn and their wholebody may sag as they slouch down in their seat, lean against a wall or justsag where they are standing. Their face may also show a distinct lack ofinterest and appear blank.
Reasons for boredomLack of interestIf the person is not interested in their surroundingsor what is going on, then they may become bored.The disinterest may also be feigned if they do notwant you to see that they are interested. Watch forleaking signs of readiness in these cases.ReadinessA bored person may actually be ready for theactions you want, such as closing a sale. Salespeople are known to keep on the sales patter longafter the customer is ready to sign on the dottedline.
Closed body languageA significant cluster of body movements are all about closing. This issometimes misinterpreted solely as indicating defensiveness.Language of closure - Closure literally closes the body up. It may rangefrom a slight bringing together of the limbs to curled up into a tight ball.Extreme cases include rhythmic rocking of the body.Arms across - In a closed positions one or both arms cross the central lineof the body. They may be folded or tightly clasped or holding one another.There may also be holding one another. Lighter arm crossing may includeresting an arm on a table or leg, or loosely crossed with wrists crossing.Varying levels of tension may be seen in the arms and shoulders, from arelaxed droop to tight tension and holding on to the body or other arms.Legs across - Legs likewise can be crossed. There are several styles ofleg crossing, including the ankle cross, knee cross, figure-four (ankle onopposite knee) and the tense wrap-around. Legs may also wrap aroundconvenient other objects, such as chair legs. When legs are crossed butarms are not, it can show deliberate attempts to appear relaxed. This isparticularly true when legs are hidden under a table.
Looking down or away - The head may be inclined away from the person,and particularly may be tucked down.Reasons for closing - There can be several reasons for closed bodylanguage. This is one reason why reading body language can behazardous and you should take into account other factors. In particularlook for the transition when the body closes and the triggers that mayhave caused this change.Defending - When we feel threatened, our body language becomesdefensive. We use closure to place the barriers of our arms and legsacross in front of us to defend ourselves from attack. When we close, wealso make our body smaller, reducing the size of the target. When wetuck our chin down, we are protecting the exposed throat. We also maybe signaling to the other person that we are not a threat to them. Thusthe held-in arms shows that we are not attacking and looking away fromthem removes aggressive staring. In a variant of this, particularly wherethe person is holding themselves, a closed position may indicate self-nurturing. The person is effectively holding or hugging themselves in animitation of a parent or other caring person.
Hiding - Closing also may serve the purpose of hiding something that we donot want the other person to see. Holding the body still prevents it frombetraying our thoughts. Looking away prevents the other person from seeingour expression that may show dislike or lying.Cold - A more pragmatic form of closure is when we are cold. Huddling upreduces exposed body area and reduces heat loss. Holding warmer parts ofthe body against colder parts evens the temperature and prevents extremitiesfrom being chilled too much.Relaxing - And we also cross our arms and legs when we are relaxing. It canjust be a comfortable place to put those gangly limbs. We may look awaybecause we are thinking, nothing more.Opening - When you are trying to persuade a person, then their standing orsitting in a closed position is usually a signal that they are not ready to bepersuaded. Moving them to an open position can significantly increase yourchances of persuading them.Force hand use - A common method sales people use to break a crossed-arms closed position is to give the person something to hold or otherwise askthem to use their hands, for example asking them to hand over something,turn over a page, stand up and so on.
Deceptive body languageLanguage of deception - A deceptive body is concerned about being foundout -- and this concern may show.Anxiety - A deceptive person is typically anxious that they might be foundout (unless they are psychopathic or good at acting), so they may sendsignals of tension. This may include sweating, sudden movements, minortwitches of muscles (especially around the mouth and eyes), changes invoice tone and speed. Many of us have hidden anxiety signals. Forexample: Biting the inside of the mouth (George W. Bush), patting head(Prince William), hands in pockets (Tony Blair). These signals are almostimpossible to stop as we start them very young.Control - In order to avoid being caught, there may be various signs ofover-control. For example, there may be signs of attempted friendly bodylanguage, such as forced smiles (mouth smiles but eyes do not), jerkymovements and clumsiness or oscillation between open body languageand defensive body language. The person may also try to hold their body still, toavoid tell-tale signals. For example they may hold their arms in or put theirhands in their pockets.
Distracted - A person who is trying to deceive needs to think more aboutwhat they are doing, so they may drift off or pause as they think aboutwhat to say or hesitate during speech. They may also be distracted bythe need to cover up. Thus their natural timing may go astray and theymay over- or under-react to events. Anxiety may be displaced intoactions such as fidgeting, moving around the place or paying attentionto unusual places.Reasons for deception - There can be many good reasons fordeception.Persuading - Deception may be an act that is intended to get anotherperson to say or do something.Avoiding detection - Deception also may be more self-oriented, wherethe sole goal is to get away with something, perhaps by avoidinganswering incriminating questions.
Defensive body languageDefending from attack - The basic defensive body language has a primitivebasis and assumes that the other person will physically attack, even whenthis is highly unlikely.Covering vital organs and points of vulnerability - In physical defense, thedefensive person will automatically tend to cover those parts of the bodythat could be damaged by an attack. The chin is held down, covering theneck. The groin is protected with knees together, crossed legs or coveringwith hands. The arms may be held across the chest or face.Fending off - Arms may be held out to fend off attacker, possibly straightout or curved to deflect incoming attacks.Using a barrier - Any physical object may be placed held in front of theperson to act as a literal or figurative barrier. This can be a small as a penor as large as a table. Straddling a reversed chair makes some peoplecomfortable in conversation as they look relaxed whilst feeling defensive.Barriers can also protect the other person and if I am powerful, I may use asimple barrier to make you feel less defensive. It also means I control thebarrier.
Becoming small - One way of defending against attack is to reduce the sizeof the target. People may thus huddle into a smaller position, keeping theirarms and legs in.Rigidity - Another primitive response is to tense up, making the musclesharder in order to withstand a physical attack.Rigidity also freezes the body, possibly avoiding movements being noticed orbeing interpreted as preparing for attack.Seeking escape - Flicking the eyes from side to side shows that the person islooking for a way out.Pre-empting attackGiving in - Pre-empting the attack, the defensive person may reduce the,generally using submissive body language, avoiding looking at the otherperson, keeping the head down and possibly crouching into a lower bodyposition.Attacking first - Aggressive body language may also appear, as the personuses attack as the best form of defense. The body may thus be erect, thrustforward and with attacking movements. Where attack and defense bothappear together, there may be conflicting signs appearing together. Thus theupper body may exhibit aggression whilst the legs are twisted together.
Dominant body languageSize signals - The body in dominant stances isgenerally open, and may also include additionalaspects.Making the body big - Hands on hips makes the elbowsgo wide and make the body seem larger. So also doesstanding upright and erect, with the chin up and thechest thrust out. Legs may be placed apart to increasesize.Making the body high - Height is also important as itgives an attack advantage. This can be achieved bystanding up straight or somehow getting the otherperson lower than you, for example by putting them ona lower seat or by your standing on a step or plinth.Occupying territory - By invading and occupyingterritory that others may own or use, control anddominance is indicated. A dominant person may thusstand with feet akimbo and hands on hips.
Superiority signalsBreaking social rules - Rulers do not need to follow rules: they make therules. This power to decide ones own path is often displayed in breakingof social rules, from invasion and interruption to casual swearing in politecompany.Ownership - Owning something that others covet provides a statussymbol. This can be territorial, such as a larger office, or displays ofwealth or power, such as a Rolex watch or having many subordinates.Just owning things is an initial symbol, but in body language it is theflaunting of these, often casually, that is the power display. Thus a seniormanager will casually take out their Mont Blanc pen whilst telling theirsecretary to fetch the Havana cigars.Invasion - A dominant act is to disrespect the ownership of others,invading their territory, for example getting to close to them by moving intotheir body space. Other actions include sitting on their chairs, leaning ontheir cars, putting feet up on their furniture and being over-friendly withtheir romantic partners. Invasion says Whats yours is mine and I cantake anything of yours that I want and you cannot stop me.
Belittling others - Superiority signals are found both in saying I am importantand also You are not important. Thus a dominant person may ignore orinterrupt another person who is speaking or turn away from them. They mayalso criticize the inferior person, including when the other person can hearthem.Facial signals - Dominance can be shown in the face from disapprovingfrowns, pursed lips to sneers & snarls (sometimes disguised as smiles). Theeyes can be used to stare and hold the gaze for long period. They may alsosquint, preventing the other person seeing where you are looking. They mayalso look at anywhere but the other person, saying that you are not evenworth looking at. Faces can also look bored, amused or express otherexpressions that belittle the other person. Dominant people often smile muchless than submissive people.Phallic displays - Dominant men will often expose their crotch, effectivelysaying to other men I am safe from attack or my penis is bigger than yours,whilst showing off. They may also be offering come and get it! to women.When women do this, it is to some extent a tease or invitation to men but mayalso be an emulation of the male display, thus saying I am as strong as aman. This appears in standing or sitting where the legs are apart. It may beemphasized by scratching or adjusting of the crotch.
The dominant greeting - When people first meet and greet, their firstinteraction sets the pattern for the future relationship. When a person isdominant here, then they will most likely continue to be dominant.The handshake - A classic dominant handshake is with the palm down,symbolically being on top. Another form of dominant handshake is to usestrength to squeeze the other person.Holding the other persons hand for longer than normal also shows that youare in control.Eyes - Prolonged, unblinking eye contact acts like overplaying the handshake-- it says I am powerful, I can break the rules. The dominant person mayalternatively prevent eye contact, saying You are beneath me and I do notwant even to look at you.Speaking - The person who speaks first often gets to control theconversation, either by talking for longer or by managing the questions.Responding to dominance - If others display dominant body language youhave a range of options. The simplest response is simply not to submit, whichis what they probably want. Continue to appear friendly and ignore theirsubtle signals.
Another response is to fight dominance with dominance, for example:•Out-stare them (a trick here is to look at the bridge of their nose, nottheir eyes).•Touch them, either before they touch you or immediately when theytouch you.•When they do a power handshake, grab their elbow and step to theside.•When they butt in to your speech, speed up, talk more loudly and saylet me finish!Another approach is to name the game. Ask them why they are usingdominant body language. A good way to do this is in a curious, unafraidway.
Emotional body languageWith careful observation, emotions may bedetected from non-verbal signs. Remember thatthese are indicators and not certain guarantees.Contextual clues may also be used, in particularwhat is being said to the person or what else ishappening around then.AngerAnger occurs when achievement of goals arefrustrated.Neck and/or face are red or flushed.Baring of teeth and snarling.Clenched fists.Leaning forward and invasion of body space.Other aggressive body language.Use of power body language.
Fear, anxiety and nervousness - Fear occurs when basic needs arethreatened. There are many levels of fear, from mild anxiety to blind terror.The many bodily changes caused by fear make it easy to detect.•A cold sweat‘.•Pale face.•Dry mouth - indicated by licking lips, drinking water, rubbing throat.•Not looking at the other person.•Damp eyes.•Trembling lip.•Varying speech tone.•Speech errors.•Voice tremors.•Visible high pulse (neck or movement of crossed leg.•Sweating.•Tension in muscles: clenched hands or arms, elbows drawn in to the side,jerky movements, legs wrapped around things.•Gasping and holding breath.•Fidgeting.•Defensive body language - crossed arms, legs and drawing in of limbs.
Sadness - is the opposite of happiness and indicates a depressive state.•Drooping of the body.•Trembling lip.•Flat speech tone.•Tears.Embarrassment - may be caused by guilt or transgression of values.•Neck and/ or face are red or flushed.•Looking down or away from others. Not looking them in the eye.•Grimacing, false smile, changing the topic or otherwise trying to cover upthe embarrassment.Surprise - occurs when things occur that were not expected.•Raised eyebrows.•Widening of eyes.•Open mouth.•Sudden backward movement.Happiness - occurs when goals and needs are met.•General relaxation of muscles.•Smiling (including eyes).•Open body language
Evaluating body languageA notable cluster of body movements happens when a person is thinking,judging or making some decision.Language of evaluationHand movements - The classic signal of evaluation is the steepled handswhich are clasped together, either looking like they are praying, with bothhands pressed together, or with linked fingers and with index fingers onlypointing upwards. The fingers pointing upwards may touch the lips.Another common evaluative movement is stroking, often of the chin butpossibly other parts of the face.Other actions - Other evaluative signals include pursing lips, stroking theside of the nose and (if worn) peering over the top of spectacles (‘to lookmore carefully at you).Relaxed intensity - The body may well be relaxed and open. The personseems to be unafraid or even unaware of danger. However there is also alevel of concentration, perhaps with pursed lips and an intense gaze. Thechin may be resting in one or both palms.
Reasons for evaluationDeciding - A person who is evaluating may be making an important decision.If they are buying from you, they may be close to the point of closure.Judging - In their decision-making, they may be judging. Perhaps this is you,something you are saying or something else. Watch how they change withwhat you say and try to figure this one out.Thinking - Sometimes the evaluation is only on an internal point. When theyare deep inside their own world, they may be mentally trying out ideas to seeif they will work. If you have suggested something, they may be trying to fityour idea into their own model of the world.Greeting body language - There are many possible components of greetingas the styles vary significantly across social groups and cultures. Greeting isa ritual that helps break the ice and paves the way for appropriate otherinteraction. Greetings can include signals that may even be secret, forexample saying were in the same club. Formality is often an importantfactor, and when you move from a formal greeting to an informal greeting isan important factor in development of a friendship. Too early and it is aninsult. Too late and it you may be considered arrogant or distant.
Handshake - Handshake variables include:•Strength (weak - strong)•Temperature (cold - hot)•Moisture (damp - dry)•Fullness of grip (full - partial)•Duration (brief - long)•Speed (slow - fast)•Complexity (shake - dance)•Texture (rough - smooth)•Eye contact (prolonged - intermittent - none)Styles - A firm grip shows confidence, whilst a limp grip may indicate timidity,particularly in men (women may be expected to be more gentile). Palm downindicates dominance and a feeling of superiority (I am on top). Palmssideways indicate equality. Palm up indicates submission. A long handshakecan indicate pleasure and can signal dominance, particularly if one persontries to pull away and the dominant person does not let them. Dominancemay also be shown by using the other hand to grip the person, such as at thewrist, elbow, arm or shoulder. This may also be done by gripping the shakenhand with both of your hands. This may also indicate affection or pleasure(which allows for an ambiguous signal).
A variant of the dominant handshake which is used bypoliticians who are being photographed and hence shakehands side-by-side is to stand on the left hand side of theother person. This means your hand will be on theoutside and it will look like you are the dominant party tothose viewing the photograph. Responses to thedominant handshake can include counter-touching (useyour other hand to hold their hand, wrist, elbow, arm orshoulder), hugging (pull them in), thrusting (push themaway by pushing your hand towards them) and steppingthe side. Hand-touching is also used, for example thehigh five, where open palms are touched high in the air,or where closed fists are tapped. Where the other personis not gripped, the origins may be in potentiallyaggressive situations where holding of another could beconstrued as a threatening act.Salute - Salute variables include:•Shape of hand (straight - curved)•Speed (fast - slower)•Head-touch (forehead - none)•Shape (up-down - curved)
Style - The salute is a formal greeting where the open hand is brought up tothe forehead. It is often used in the military in a strictly prescribed mannerand situation. There are several possible origins of this, including:•Shading the eyes from the brilliance of a superior person.•An abbreviation of raising ones hat or tugging the forelock (in the absenceof a hat).•Raising helmet visor to show the face (to allow recognition and dispelfears of enmity).•Raising the hand to show it does not contain a weapon.Bowing - Bowing variables include:•Lowering (slight - very low)•Pivot (head - waist)•Duration (short - long)•Gender style (bow - curtsey)Style - Bowing is another formal greeting and can be as extreme as a full90 degree bend from the waist to even complete prostration on the floor.This averts the eyes (I dare not look at your majesty) and exposes thehead (‘you can kill me if you wish).
Bowing amongst peers is commonly used in a severely contracted form asa slight nod of the head. Even in the shortened form, the lower and longerthe bow, the greater the respect that is demonstrated. If eye contact ismaintained during a bow, it can signify either mistrust or liking. Lookingdown as you bow indicates submission, although this also can just be aformal action.The female variant on the bow is the curtsey, which again can be a fullsinking to the floor or a slight bob. Similarly to bowing, this puts the personlower than the other person and into a position of greater vulnerability.Bowing is different in different cultures. In countries such as Japan it isclearly defined and an important part of greetings. In other countries it isless important or maybe seen as obsequiousWaving - Variables for waving include:•Open palm (flat - curved)•Movement angle (big - small)•Raised (above head - held low)•Direction (sideways rotation - up-down)
Style - Waving can be done from a distance. This allows for greetingwhen you first spot another person. Waves gain attention and a big,overhead wave can attract a person from some distance. This also makesothers look at you and is not likely from a timid person. A stationary palm,held up and facing out is far less obvious and may be flashed for a shortperiod, particularly if the other person is looking at you (all you need isthat they see the greeting). Greeting children is often done with a smallup-and-down movement of fingers, holding the rest of the palm still.Between adults, this can be a timid or safe signal from a child position (Iwont harm you - please dont harm me.).Hugging - Hugging variables include:•Hand placement (shoulder, etc.)•Arms touch (none - wrap)•Body position (front - side - behind)•Pressure (light - strong)•Body touching (none - full)•Gender (man/woman - man/woman)
Styles - Hugging is a closer and more affectionate form of greeting thanshaking hands and perhaps reflects a desire for bonding. Hugging isgenerally more common between friends, although its usage does varyacross cultures and is common in some places. Gender rules may alsoapply, for example hugging in America is far more common betweenwomen than between men. Harassment laws may also limit touching ofthe other person in what may be interpreted as an intimate way. Full-bodyhugs create contact with breasts and between genitalia and hence may besexually suggestive or stimulating. This tends to limit their use to romanticgreetings, although they are still used in some cultures, including betweenmen. Light shoulder-only hugs are more common as social greetings, inwhich people lean forward in order not to break rules about touchingbreasts or genitalia. Side-on, one-handed hugs are safer and can be afriendly touch. Even so, this still can be a deliberate romantic advance oract of domination (even if not, it may be perceived as such). Longer, fullerhugs often signal greater affection and may happen between people whohave not seen one another for some time. Hugging someone from behindcan be surprising and even threatening, and is usually only done byfriends who trust one another implicitly.
Kissing - Contact during kissing can be:Lip/cheek to lip/cheekDuration (peck - smooch)Tongue (involved - not)Gender (man/woman to man/woman)Body involvement (none - full)Styles - In some cultures, kissing is a part of socialgreeting. This may or may not include man-man andman-woman (which can lead to significant cross-culturalembarrassment). The type of kiss is governed stronglyby the relationship. Social greetings are relatively short,and may involve double or triple kissing, alternatingeither side of the face. General friendship kissing maybe longer and with more body contact, though mostlyusing arms to include a hug (and steady the body). Themost intense kiss is the romantic kiss which may wellinclude full-length body touching, caressing with handsand lip-to-lip kisses that may even include interplay oftongues.
Facial signalsThe face is used a great deal in sending greeting signals, and accompaniesother greeting activity for example saying:•Smiling: I am pleased to see you.•Frowning: I am angry with you.•Raised eyebrows: I am surprised to see you.•Eyebrows together: I do not know your name.•Looking down: I am inferior to you.•Expressionless: I do not care about you.Eye contact is particularly important in greeting and is usually held for asocially prescribed period. Prolonged eye contact can indicate bothaffection and dominance. Little or no eye contact can indicate timidity (Idare not look at you), dislike (I do not want to see you) or dominance(You are unimportant and below my interest.). As with the handshake, adominant signal may be sent under cover of the friendly greeting.WordsThe words used in greetings can change significantly with the culture andcontext.
FormalityInformal greetings often use non-words and short forms like Hi, Watcha,Yay and so on. Formal meetings use more formal language, such asHello, Greetings, Good day and so on. In some cultures, greeting is veryformal and a fixed set of words are required in specific situations,Greeting, O holy one, father of us all and master of the world.Other greetingsThere are many other ways in which people greet and further subtletiesaround the actions above, including:•Touching or raising a hat•Pressing or rubbing noses•Touching or pressing bodies together in certain places and ways•Moving the body through a defined locus•Giving of gifts•Touching palms or fistsGreetings may also be extended to parting, for which there are manysimilar rituals, including handshakes, bows and words of praise.
Open body languageA significant cluster of body movements are all about being open. This issometimes misinterpreted solely as indicating being relaxed and untense.Remember that perhaps the most significant part of being open or close isthe act of opening or closing. When you open or close, you are signaling achange in the way you are thinking or feeling, which is likely to be inresponse to what the other person has said or done.Language of opennessThe open stance has arms and legs not crossed in any way. They mayalso be moving in various ways.Arms openArms are not crossed and may be animated and moving insynchronization with what is being said or held wide. Palms are alsorelaxed and may be quite expressive, for example appearing to holdthings and form more detailed shapes. Open hands show that nothing isbeing concealed.
Legs openOpen legs are not crossed. Often they are parallel. They may even bestretched apart. The feet are of interest in open legs and may point forwardor to the side or at something or someone of interest.Looking around and at the other personThe head may be directed solely towards the other person or may belooking around. Eye contact is likely to be relaxed and prolonged.Relaxed clothingClothing is likely to hang loosely and actions to loosen clothing may takeplace, such as removing a jacket and unbuttoning a collar.Reasons for openingThere can be several reasons for open body language. In particular look forthe transition when the body opens and the triggers that may have causedthis change.AcceptingWhen arms rounded and palms are sideways, the person may be offering amock hug, showing that they care for the other person. Gestures may beslower and symbolize gentleness.
Passive threat - An open posture may be associated with a passive threat.When the person casually exposes them self‘ by opening their body andlooking away they are opening themselves for attack. When this is relaxed,it may be saying I am so powerful and you are so weak, you are unable toattack me even when I am exposed.‘Aggression - When there is tension in the open body, especially if fists areclenched, then this may be a sign of significant aggression. The person iseffectively holding their body open in readiness for a fight. Aggression isalso seen when the body is square on to the other person and is relativelyclose to them. Movements may be particularly sudden and designed to testthe other persons reactions.Supplicating - When palms are held upwards, this may form a pleadinggesture and may be combined with lowering of the body. This is sayingPlease dont hurt me. Opening the body in supplication is also sayingHere, you can hurt me if you wish and is equivalent to a dog who rolls overon its back and exposes itself to indicate that it is not a threat.Relaxing - And finally, the open body may simply be the body at rest,relaxed and comfortable.
Power body languagePower is often expressed in communication as a combination of strengthand humanity. This is very attractive and is a form of Hurt and Rescue.GreetingHandshake - As the other person approaches, move to left side, extendyour arm horizontally, palm down (be first to do this). Grab their palm firmly,pull them in and hold their elbow with your left hand. The horizontal arm isan unmissable signal. Palm on top is being dominant, putting yourself on top.Holding the elbow further controls them. The royal handshake isoutstretched arm to keep the other at their distance. A limp hand, palmdown, stops them doing a power shake.Touching - Touching is power symbol. Touching people can be threatening,and is used by leaders to demonstrate power. The handshake is, of course,a touch, and can lead to further touching, such as the elbow grip and pattingshoulders and back.Guide people with a palm in the small of the back. Greet them with a handon the back. Touch them on the elbow or other safe areas.
SpeakingTalking - Talk with confidence and use the body beat in time with assertions.Beat with a finger, a palm or even a fist (which is rather aggressive).Emphasize and exaggerate your points. Use silences too. Pause in themiddle of speaking and look around at everyone. If you are not interruptedthey are probably respecting your power. Stand confidently without speaking.Look around, gazing into peoples eyes for slightly longer than usual.Emoting - It is powerful to show that you have emotion, but in the right placeonly. It shows you are human. At other times it emphasizes how you are incontrol. A neat trick is to bite the lower lip, as it shows both emotion andcontrol (Bill Clinton did it 15 times in 2 minutes during the Monica Lewinskyconfession)…andWalking - Walk with exaggerated swinging of arms, palm down and out. Kinkelbows outwards, making the body seem wider. Add a slight swagger. Whenwalking with others, be in front of them. When going through doors, if you aregoing to an audience, go first. If you are going from an audience, go last(guiding others through shows dominance).Position - Generally be higher. Sit on a higher chair. Stand over people.Wear heels. Drive a higher car.
Ready body languageA significant cluster of body movements are all about being ready forsomething.Language of readiness - A ready body is poised for action.Pointing - Any part of the body may be pointing at where the person isthinking about. This may be another person or the door. This may be assubtle as a foot or as obvious as the whole body leaning. Eyes may alsorepeated flash over in the intended direction.Tension - The body is tensed up and ready for action. If sitting, hands mayhold onto armrests in readiness to get up. Legs are tensed ready to lift thebody. Things in the hand are gripped. Attention is away from everythingexcept the intended direction.Hooking - The hands may slightly hook clothing, in particular with thumbshooked into the waistband. This is like a not-quite putting of hands inpockets, indicating the person is relaxed but ready to move quickly.Movement - Where there is movement, it is in preparation for furthermovement. Legs uncross. Hands grab bags, straighten clothing, and so on.The whole body leans in the intended direction.
Reasons for readiness - There can be several reasons for a ready bodylanguage.Leaving - The person may want to leave. Perhaps they have anotherappointment. Perhaps they are uncomfortable with the situation and justwant to get out of there.Ready to buy - When a person is ready to buy, then they may sendreadiness signals. They point at the thing they want to buy or the contractthat needs selling.Continuing conversation - Readiness may also be to talk more. Whenyou are talking and they show readiness signals, maybe they just want tosay something.Ready to fight - When a person sees a real or verbal fight coming up, theyput their body in a position where they can move quickly, either to attack orto defend.
Let’s have some fun; read aloud the text in the triangle below:
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