There’s a myriad of ways to gauge body language that extends beyond the
main 7 strategies that were mentioned above. People are complex creatures
with interesting personalities, and like a good book, it gets more interesting
with every turn of the page, especially when more clues are unraveled along
the way the deeper you look.
Other body language indicators to look out for when you’re trying to
analyze someone are:
Nothing like a good, strong, firm handshake to let you know when someone is feeling comfortable and confident. But what if the handshake was the opposite though?
Limp, reluctant, and almost like they can’t wait to release your hand as soon as they touch it? While it doesn’t necessarily have to mean anything specific, a less than firm handshake could simply indicate that the person is lacking self-confidence, feeling uncomfortable, is non-committal, timid or is an introvert by nature. Cold and clammy hands, on the other hand, could signal that the person is feeling anxious and nervous, as we all tend to
sweat a little bit when we’ve got those butterflies in our stomach.
– Strategy number 3 focuses on the more obvious facial expressions that take place during the communication process, but there’s another aspect to what psychologists refer to as display rules which play a very vital
role when it comes to letting others know just how you feel.
Perhaps even what you’re thinking. These very tiny facial movements are known as microexpressions, and they tend to concentrate on the areas specifically around the mouth and the eyes. These microexpressions, along with the rest of your facial expressions, can completely contradict what you’re saying and anyone who is skilled at reading nonverbal cues will be able to pick up on this immediately. A person may be under the impression they’re doing a good job of concealing the fear that they have when they’re trying to impress the person they’re talking to, but the ever so slight pullback of the muscles around the mouth area will give away just how anxious they feel on the inside. The dangerous thing about microexpressions is that they don’t just happen when a person is feeling nervous or anxious.
They also take place when someone is lying. Hiding a little white lie is not so easy when your little facial muscles are giving you away.
– There are only three main reasons (and emotions) that would make someone raise their eyebrows. They either feel surprised, afraid or worried. The next time you’re in a relaxed and casual conversation with a friend, try raising your eyebrows and see if it’s easy to do. You might come off looking
strange at best. When someone is talking to you and the conversation doesn’t involve a topic that would either cause fear, surprise or worry yet they have their eyebrows raised, keep your antennas up because something else could be going on beneath the surface
The Chin and the Neck
– Yes, even your chin and neck have their own secret language that they’re trying to tell the rest of the world while you remain completely unaware unless you make a conscious effort to concentrate on these two areas and what they’re doing when you’re having a conversation. If your chin juts out in front of you (either habitually or subconsciously), others might get the impression that you’re either somewhat stubborn or obstinate. Even the way you hold your neck around others lets them know how you’re feeling on the inside. Shy introverts who are obviously uncomfortable being in a large group of people tend to tuck their chin under so they’re eyes are fixed on the floor or avoiding eye contact, whereas those who are confident and poised tend to have their necks straight up and held high.
The Arm Cross
– We already know the context does have a role
to play in the crossing of the arms, but generally, if you’re
crossing your arms during a negotiation, for example, the signal
you’re giving off is that you’re feeling closed off to what the
other person is saying. Even if they’ve got a smile on their face
and engage pleasantly enough in the conversation while they’re
doing it. How they really feel when their arms are crossed in
front of them is they’re feeling emotionally, physically and
mentally closed off to whomever they may be speaking to and
what’s being said to them. Most of the time this gesture is done
so unintentionally that it makes it the most revealing indicator of
all. When Gerard Nierenberg and Henry Calero recorded more
than 2,000 negotiations as part of the research for their book
How to Read a Person Like a Book, not one of those negotiations
resulted in an agreement if one (or both) parties had their legs or
arms crossed during the negotiation.
– At the risk of looking like a bobble head, the only reason someone might be nodding excessively when you speak to them is if they were either concerned about what you thought of them, or if they are worried you might be doubting their ability to keep up with your instructions
(employees sometimes do this when the boss is giving off a string of instructions and they’re trying to impress them by showing that they can keep up with everything that’s being said).
Tightly Clenched Jaw
– The only time someone’s jaw would be
tightly clenched during a conversation is if they were feeling
stressed. If you notice that the words they tell you might make it
sound like they’re okay with an idea but their jaws are clenched
while they’re saying it, that’s the signal you need that tells you
they’re not as okay with the idea as they’re leading you to
– Another part of your body which could get you into
trouble by sending mixed messages. When you tap your toes,
someone might get the impression that you’re either feeling
anxious or you’re in a hurry to bring the conversation to a close.
Tapping your toes when you’re trying to get the attention of
another is a way of getting them to notice you without
interrupting a conversation that they might be having. Toe
tapping is a way of signaling when you’re feeling pressed for
time without having to spell it out directly because you don’t
want to come off sounding rude. There’s a reason people tap
their toes, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best form of
communication, especially since either way you’re going to be
perceived as being rude when you continuously tap, tap, tap at
someone else. Imagine how it would feel to have someone
tapping their toes at you