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Nonverbal Body Language

Reading nonverbal body language can be interesting. The way we stand and move our hands, expressions on our face and the gleam in our eyes, all send out strong signals about, who we are and what we are thinking. Here are some pointers that will help you to interpret the subtle hints that our body keeps giving out about our personality.
How Natalie wished, that she could read what was actually going on in Lucy's mind? Her words were comforting but, her eyes seemed to contradict what she said.

This is a dilemma that we often face. This happens because most of the time we fail to read the nonverbal communication or body language signals that the other person unknowingly, sends out. If you want to be able to read nonverbal body language you have to be a keen observer. You must be able to understand what that twinkle in the eyes or that slight tilt of head of your audience means, as these are all signs of nonverbal communication or body language.

Reading Nonverbal Body Language

Head: The head isn't there just to help us think. It also, sends out signals whether we are interested, bored, consenting or disagreeing with the speaker. Nodding is one of the nonverbal cues of body language that denotes agreement. Turning one's head away shows disinterest. These are common body language gestures that we all can interpret. However, there are other nonverbal gestures of the head that send out subtler messages. For example, a slightly tilted head is a sign of sympathy. A smile accompanying a tilted head reflects agreement. Such a posture of the head may also, indicate flirting. However, to be sure, check for the following signs of body language in flirting. Other than this, people who are lying often lower their head. However, this could also, be a sign of submission. If a person lowers his head when he is complemented, it is not out of guilt or submission, but just because he is a shy person.

Eyes: Eyes are not only mirrors to the soul, but also a way to our heart. Many interviewers try to gauge the level of confidence of interviewees through the eye contact they maintain. A constant and steady gaze reflects confidence. However, here we need to distinguish a confident, stable gaze from staring that is considered to be a sign of insolence. To give out a positive picture of your personality, don't keep staring at your interviewer. Look at him for a couple of seconds and frequently look away for a second or two, before returning to maintain the eye contact confidently. This can be easily done, if only you relax and concentrate on what the gentleman across the table is talking about.

If you are searching for looks of interest in the eyes, observe the pupils. Dilated pupils reflect interest. However, do not mistake large pupils after a couple of drinks to be signs of attraction, as alcohol and certain drugs also have the same effect. To be sure, read more on body language signs of attraction. The role of eyes in interpreting body language does not end here! Avoiding (nonverbal) eye contact in a tricky situation is a strong lying body language. Such reaction could either be due to guilt or because of the widespread belief that eyes easily betray our emotions.

Hands: Crossed hands whether, while sitting or standing sends a message that the person is not an approachable individual. It reflects a reserved disposition and a rigid person who does not like to be questioned. On the contrary, resting one's arms behind one's back shows that, the person is open to what is being discussed and is waiting for chance to provide his own input on the topic. Sitting with palms open reflect a relaxed mood. A firm and full handshake indicates a confident personality.

Legs: Standing with legs shoulder width apart denotes a relaxed personality. Legs spaced a little wider reflects a confident individual. Keeping one's legs comfortably spaced while sitting again, denotes a relaxed mood. If legs are kept further apart, then it could be interpreted as a body language of sexual interest. Tapping one's legs, while sitting, is a sign that the person is nervous or bothered about something. If one keeps his legs crossed, be it while sitting or standing indicates that the individual is shy or protective!

Nonverbal Posture

Other than the specific parts of the body, the overall postures also, speak volumes about one's personality and mood. If a person leans forward while listening or talking to you, it shows that he is interested in you. Physical proximity is a sure sign of attraction. Facing you or turning one's body completely towards you, while in conversation is another nonverbal body language sign of attraction. When a man is interested in a woman, he often brushes his hair (a quick effort to groom himself), sits up straight and pulls back his shoulders to look bigger. This is his male body language to show attraction.

Although, nonverbal body language sends out strong indications, about, one's personality or what one thinks of the situation in hand, it is best not to solely depend upon this form of nonverbal communication. Body language is not interpreted in the same way across all cultures. Also, while reading body language don't concentrate only on the eyes or the position of the head. Try to read, the overall posture and behavior of the person. Interpreting body language can be fun. However, do not rely rigidly on it to form an opinion about someone. Human beings are complex and their emotions and behavior are more so.
By Debopriya Bose
Last Updated: 9/21/2011
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