Eight Body Movements and Postures and What They Tend to Signify
One way to gain more understanding of your audience is to learn body language and what it tends to stand for. Understand that while everyone is different, there are basic meanings for each type of body movement. However, bear in mind that can change based on culture. Some cultures have different meanings for movements and postures than Western cultures.
1. Man Spread Sitting Style Sitting like this signals disrespect and not being a considerate person. It can also be a way for people to show how little they care about others’ opinion of them. Its also a way to keep people at a distance, kind of like a cat does when they make themselves large to avoid a predator.
2. Sitting or Standing with Arms Crossed When someone crosses their arms in front of them, it can mean a couple of things. It can mean that they are feeling uncomfortable and are trying to protect their space. But it can also mean that they are done with any arguments and are setting boundaries.
3. Sitting or Standing Leaning Forward Palms Up Putting palms up is a type of submissive behavior or welcoming behavior. Leaning forward denotes interest in the conversation. Its usually a good sign that the conversation or interaction is going well.
4. Sitting Leaning Back with Arms behind Head Often this is a gesture of someone who doesnt respect others. But it can also mean that they feel as if they have everything under control and that they think theyre smarter and more dominant than the person theyre conversing with.
5. Hands on Your Chin Putting hands on the chin can mean boredom, but it can also mean that theyre judging what youre saying. Alternatively, it can mean that they are trying to pretend to be interested in what youre saying. But, if they rest their hand lightly on the cheek, not using it to support their head, that is a way to show genuine interest.
6. Hands Akimbo Legs Wide Standing This is a confident, dominant, ready-to-get-started stance. This person will exhibit a lot of energy for whatever theyre trying to talk about, and will often seem very strong. However, if they push their elbows in and tilt their head down, they may be trying to overcome shyness.
7. Rubbing Hands Together When someone rubs their hands together, it can be a sign of excitement and getting ready to win or get something they really want. Many people will do this unconsciously.
8. Pulling at Ties or Other Parts of Clothing This gesture shows that the person is very uncomfortable and is looking forward to leaving. They are not enjoying the conversation but they may also just be uncomfortable in their clothing if theyre not accustomed to dressing that way, so they feel inauthentic.
Learning to decode body language can make a huge difference in your ability to get along with people, understand them better, become more persuasive and even more motivating. Its a great skill to practice and learn if you want to get ahead in all your relationships.