What your body language reveals
Brought to you by Good Health magazine
Actions speak louder than words, so learn to pick up on and read non-verbal cues and make them work for you.
David Alssema, body language expert, has decoded five common signals for us. Which ones can you spot next time you’re talking to someone?
1. Looking up: This signal can be decoded in several ways. For example, if a person is accessing information to answer a question or conduct a conversation and they move their eyes upwards, it may mean they are visually remembering or constructing the answer. Eyes glancing upwards will help to access visual images or experiences. But, if the person is looking up and around with their head slightly tilted, it can also communicate boredom.
2. Scratching nose: A person scratching their nose can signify many things. However, if the action is accompanied by other signals such as not retaining eye contact, hesitating or other ‘lying’ signals, it can illustrate that the person may not be telling the truth.
3. Tilting head: A person’s head tilt can be read in many different ways, depending on their facial expressions. A standard head tilt can signify listening, if the person’s ear is pointed towards the speaker. A downwards head tilt with the eyes looking upwards indicates seduction. If a person maintains a straight posture but has their head held high, this may indicate dominance or arrogance. A head held at a normal straight level generally indicates assertiveness, whereas a head tilted downwards can signal submissiveness, or a shy/humble attitude.
4. Flicking hair: Flicking hair communicates many things. It could be as simple as a bad haircut that is getting in the person’s way or it could be a nervous behaviour that many people are unaware they even do. Flicking hair or twirling hair can be read as a sign of flirting or seductive nature, so beware of its use.
5. Legs apart: Confidence can be communicated by someone taking up more personal space. Sitting with one’s legs apart can illustrate an Alpha-type or confident attitude. The crotch display is one that many males will show to illustrate their strong male attitude and confidence or even competitiveness. Many western movies will have cowboys standing with their legs apart to demonstrate a strong male image, or alternatively with their hands placed on either side of their crotch. Generally, people who stand with their legs apart are demonstrating dominance and power.