MUST READ: Here are 15 body language signs and their true hidden meaning

Body language refers to the nonverbal signals that we use to communicate. These nonverbal signals make up a huge part of daily communication. In fact, body language may account for between 60% to 65% of all communication.

Examples of body language include facial expressions, eye gaze, gestures, posture, and body movements. In many cases, the things we don’t say can convey volumes of information.

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In this article, we will discuss the various body language modes/examples and the meaning behind them—so you know what to look for when you’re trying to interpret nonverbal actions. Understanding these body signals can help you decipher what people are really thinking and feeling, even before they say a word.

  1. Hand rubbing: When someone rubs their hands together, it signals nervousness, anxiety, or anticipation.
  2. Rapid blinking: Blinking more than usual might indicate discomfort or stress.
  3. Dilated pupils: Linked to interest, excitement, or attraction.
  4. Sustained eye contact: Can show engagement, confidence, or even a challenge, depending on the context.
  5. Avoiding eye contact: This signals shyness, discomfort, or even guilt. It can also be a sign of submission or a lack of confidence in that situation.
  6. Nodding: Slow, steady nodding shows agreement and understanding. Rapid, jerky nods might indicate anxiety or excitement.
  7. Crossed arms: This can be a defensive posture, indicating disagreement, disapproval, or even a closed-off attitude.
  8. Open palms facing up: This is seen as a gesture of trust, honesty, and openness.
  9. Mirroring movements: Mirroring, where someone mimics your movements, is a strong signal of rapport and connection. It indicates that the person is comfortable and aligned with your energy.
  10. Fidgeting or playing with hair: This signals nervousness, boredom, or even excitement.
  11. Steepling fingers: Can indicate confidence, authority, or even critical thinking.
  12. Ankle crossing: Sometimes a sign of relaxation, but it can also indicate nervousness or boredom.
  13. Pointing the foot towards someone: This could signify interest, attraction, or even possessiveness. If their feet point away from you, it may suggest a desire to leave or disengage from the conversation.
  14. Spreading legs while sitting: This is interpreted as confidence or dominance, but can also be simply comfortable.
  15. Shifting weight from foot to foot: This indicates restlessness, impatience, or even uncertainty.

Learning how to read body language, as well as how to use it consciously, is an important soft skill that has many benefits in the workplace and outside of it. Upskilling yourself with powerful communication skills will help you move your career forward.

Reading body language can help you better respond to your audience, whether they’re family members, friends, or coworkers. You can tailor your communication to them when you can identify what engages and interests them.

You can use different types of nonverbal communication to:

  • Repeat and strengthen your verbal message
  • Complement your verbal message
  • Substitute for a verbal message
  • Accent elements of your message

So, why is body language important? Body language can help us understand others and ourselves. It provides us with information about how people may be feeling in a given situation. We can also use body language to express emotions or intentions.

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