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How to Read Body Language and Facial Expressions

https://www.verywellmind.com/understand-body-language-and-facial-expressions-4147228

verywellmind.com

How to Read Body Language and Facial Expressions
Body language refers to the nonverbal signals that we use to communicate. According to experts, these nonverbal signals make up a huge part of daily communication. From our facial expressions to our body movements, the things we don't say can still convey volumes of information.

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Eye signals

Eye signals
  • Eye gaze: Directly eye contact indicates interest and paying attention. Prolonged eye contact can feel threatening.
  • Blinking:  People often blink more rapidly when they are feeling distressed or uncomfortable. 
  • Pupil size: Highly dilated eyes, for example, can indicate that a person is interested or even aroused. 

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Lip signals

Lip signals
  • Pursed lips: an indicator of distaste, disapproval, or distrust.
  • Lip biting: signals people are worried, anxious, or stressed.
  • Covering the mouth: used when people want to hide an emotional reaction.
  • Turned up or down: When the mouth is slightly turned up, it might mean that the person is feeling happy or optimistic. A slightly down-turned mouth can be an indicator of sadness/ disapproval.

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Gestures

  • A clenched fist indicates anger in some situations or solidarity in others.
  • A thumbs up and thumbs down: gestures of approval and disapproval.
  • The "okay" gesture: "okay" or "all right." In some parts of Europe, the same signal is used to imply you are nothing. In some South American countries, the symbol is actually a vulgar gesture.
  • The V sign: peace or victory in some countries. In the UK and Australia, the symbol takes on an offensive meaning when the back of the hand is facing outward.

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Arms and legs

  • Crossed arms: a person feels defensive, self-protective, or closed-off.
  • Standing with hands placed on the hips: an indication that a person is ready and in control, or is a sign of aggressiveness.
  • Clasping the hands behind the back: might indicate bored, anxiety, or even anger.
  • Rapidly tapping fingers or fidgeting can be a sign that of boredom, impatience or frustration.
  • Crossed legs can indicate that a person is feeling closed off or in need of privacy. 

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Posture

Posture
  • Open posture involves keeping the trunk of the body open and exposed. This type of posture indicates friendliness, openness, and willingness.
  • Closed posture involves hiding the trunk of the body often by hunching forward and keeping the arms and legs crossed. This type of posture can be an indicator of hostility, unfriendliness, and anxiety.

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Body Language

Is the unspoken element of communication that we use to reveal our true feelings and emotions - gestures, facial expressions and posture.

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Disinterested interlocutors

Signs of a disengaged, disinterested or unhappy audience:

  • Arms folded in front of the body.
  • Minimal or tense facial expression.
  • Body turned away from you.
  • Eyes downcast, maintaining little contact.

Being aware of these signs can help you to adjust what you say and how you say it, so you can make him feel more at ease and receptive to your viewpoint

Unengaged Audiences

Some signs that people may be bored or disinterested in what you're saying:

  • Sitting slumped, with heads downcast.
  • Gazing at something else, or into space.
  • Fidgeting, picking at clothes, or fiddling with pens and phones.
  • Writing or doodling.

When you notice that, you can re-engage people by asking a direct question, or by inviting people to contribute an idea.

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Common errors when reading people

  • Ignoring context: Crossed arms don’t mean much if the room is cold or the chair they’re sitting in doesn’t have armrests. 
  • Not looking for clusters: It’s a consisten...

Trusting your instincts

Your first impressions are usually pretty accurate. But whether they are wrong or right, first impressions affect us in a big way and we are slow to change them.

You have to be willing to update them quite rapidly. 

Reading first impressions

  • Studies show that if someone seems extroverted, confident, religious or conscientious, they probably are.
  • We all pay more attention to pretty people, and so we tend to take the time to evaluate them.
  • If you want to know if someone is good at their job, watch them do it for 30-60 seconds. 
  • Funny people are smart: Effective humor production acts as an honest indicator of intelligence in humans.

Prep with a power pose

2 minutes of power posing - standing tall, holding your arms out or toward the sky, or standing like Superman, with your hands on hips - will dramatically increase your confidence.

Try...

When the going gets tough, start smiling

Frowning, grimacing, glowering, and other negative facial expressions send a signal to your brain that whatever you're doing is difficult. That causes your brain to send cortisol into your bloodstream, which raises your stress levels. Instead, force yourself to smile. It works.

If you're confronted...

...don't back away; just shift to a slight angle - so you're standing at an angle--much like models who almost never stand with their bodies square to the camera.

And if you wish to appear less confrontational, approach the person and stand at a 45-degree angle (while still making direct eye contact, of course).