Non-verbal communication is part of our society and also an integral part of the business culture. Most of the body language is subconscious and it takes time to learn how to interpret it. By mastering body language, you can avoid seeming nervous, disinterested, distressed and showing your interest in somebody when that is not appropriate.
Playing with hair, frequent blinking, crossed arms, head leaning and smiling are parts of non-verbal communication we pay most attention to and are already used to controlling.
Body parts we forget to think about and that are most difficult to control are the legs. People can be masters at lying, acting and faking facial expressions, but when you see them shifting from foot to foot you immediately get uneasy about what they are saying.
If you have a positive attitude towards someone, your feet will be pointed in the direction of that person. The same applies to disinterest, in which case your feet will be pointed away from your interlocutor. This body posture will be the same for your knees, hips, arms and shoulders. With women, body postures are always more stiff, as opposed to men who are usually more casual.
Straight back and parallel feet
A well mannered person will be the one who sits with straight back, parallel feet or crossed legs, while those sitting leaned back with spread legs will be perceived as bad mannered. Men are usually those who sit with spread legs, since this is a dominant posture breading with confidence, making the person look bigger and in charge.
Knees giving away your interest
With the legs crossed, the knee positioned on top pointed to the person or subject of interest, you show attention and willingness to listen. However, if in the same position, the knee is pointed away from a person or subject of interest, you are signalling that you are threatened, cautious or uncertain about the person or the topic.
Spread legs and sexual interest
Men should be especially attentive to their sitting with spread legs. When the crotch is pointed at the person or subject of interest, the meaning of this body posture is mainly sexual.
Women should pay great attention to their shoe play, since it hides sexual meaning. Slipping the foot in and out of the shoe, or dangling the shoe from the foot, gives away a sense of relaxation and readiness for flirting.
Crossed legs and “leg twine”
A “leg-twine”, which we often see with women, can mean two things. One is insecurity, while the other again has a sexual overtone. Crossed legs is the position most women sit in, largely because of their outfits, and even though there is a biological drive in this posture due to the muscle tone accentuation it provides, it will in most cases be related to the feeling of insecurity or of feeling threatened, with the knees representing a barrier – similarly to the crossed arms on the chest.
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