Body language

Body language
True or false?
Body language is largely instinctive, thus difficult to
While delivering a speech, you shouldn’t look at people
individually; look at something that is behind them to
„take all of them in” at the same time.
Where the members of the audience are seated is of
no importance as long as they can hear you.
The closer you stand to your audience, the friendlier
you seem.
Body language signals may mean different things in
different contexts.
Aspects of non-verbal communication
 Body movement (kinesthetic behaviour)
- signs based on agreement
- gestures
- organisers
- emotives
- accommodators
 Facial expression
 Paralanguage
 Occupying the space
 Objects
Nature or nurture?
- fear,anger, surprise, disgust
- smile
- emotions – eyes!
- mirror
- personal space
- touching
- signals of yes/no
- gender differences
Eye contact
 Dilated pupils reflect emotional involvement
 Pupil movement reflects thinking processes
 Eye contact – control
 Audience should be facing
- look at the ceiling
- fix your stare at one enthusiastic face
- wear dark glasses
Facial expression
Avoid a poker face
Identify with your message:
Reflect emotions related
to the content
Keep smiling (?)
Free your arms and hands
Gestures - extensions of thoughts
 Avoid compulsive movements
- rubbing nose, turning a ring
- moving praying hands in front of you
- tapping with fingers on the desk
- sweeping hair from your face
- adjusting collar
Body position
 Plant yourself firmly on the ground
 Avoid
Crossed legs
Bent legs with closed knees
Swaying to and fro
Putting your weight from one leg to another
Stiffness (closed legs, closed arms/hands)
 Establish your space bubble
- Move-occupy your space bubble
- Sitting
- Do not hide behind barriers
(pulpit, desk, papers)
- Avoid finding support on
table, blackboard, tc.
- Don’t stand too close
Comfortable, familiar
Match the formality of occasion
Make a contrast to your background
Rich patterns, excentric clothes
Tight collars/belts/sleeves
Jingling necklaces and noisy shoes
Too warm clothes
Do not cross your arms and legs
The act of opening
Open hands – nothing is concealed (vs.
clutched fists – nerves)
Relaxed, prolonged
eye contact
Attentive listening
Smile and nod slowly when listening (vs.
Quick nod=impatience)
Lean towards your partner
Stand still
Tilted head
Deceptive and nervous body language
 A lack of eye contact
 Excessive hand movements
 Biting fingernails
 Chewing the inside of the mouth
 Drying mouth
 Control (stiffness,
hands in pockets)
 Rubbing nose
Dominant body language
Making the body large and high
Hands on hips
Legs apart
Chin up
Erect position
Standing on a pulpit
Keeping a distance
Breaking social rules
Imposing informal terms or talking down
Invasion of personal space
Interruption or never waiting for a response
Dismissive gestures, facial expressions
- Prolonged staring
- Avoiding looking
at partner
Defensive-submissive body language
Covering vulnerable physical areas (chin
down, knees together, crossed legs, arms
across chest or face)
Using a barrier
(pen, papers, table)
Seeking escape (flicking the eyes side to
side, leaning away)
Keeping small
Control your body language
 Establish your personal space
 Practise speaking while walking
 Strive for an open position
 Keep your hands free to
emphasise message
 Watch yourself – look out
for compulsive acts
 Practise eye movement
 Learn to listen