Understanding and Overcoming Negative Body Language


Your body language affects your results

Body language communicates more than we realise to whoever we are talking to. It conveys our current emotional state and/or out interest in the person we are with, without us having to say a single word. Did you know that our body language can work for us or against depending on the gestures that we use?

We all watch other people. It’s a great human pastime. If we are in a cafe we can tell whether the couple at table four are having an argument without them actually saying a word. They will be displaying a variety of negative gestures. Or we could be sitting in a meeting watching the other attendees and its almost as if we know what they are thinking.

 For example: 

  •  Watching the clock. While talking to someone, looking over their shoulder or even trying to glance at our watch, is a sign of disinterest. It can be seen as incredibly disrespectful. It could even be a sign of  boredom and impatience. It could give the impression that you have better things to do than listening or talking to the person you’re with. In fact it may just be that you are running late for another appointment – better to say that than try the secretive glances which the other person is totally aware of!
  •  Slouching. This will say that you are bored, disinterested and paying no attention to the person in front of you. It suggests a withdrawal from the conversation. Particularly if slouching is coupled with the clock watching!
  • Crossed arms. Usually means defensive posture or might be a sign of boredom. Always try to keep your arms open and at your sides. Though crossed arms may feel comfortable, if you want people to see you as open-minded and interested in what they have to say, then try dong something other than crossing your arms.
  • Foot or finger tapping. Usually indicates impatience or stress.
  •  Avoiding Eye contact. Eye contact is something we place great faith in. If a person doesn’t look us in the eye we see them as shifty and possibly even untruthful or trying to hide something. If a person is searching for memory eyes may tend to look up or down. Consistent eye contact shows interest and attention. As much as possible maintain eye contact during the conversation but not too intense since it may send a wrong signal about being aggressive.
  •  Turning away or not facing the person during conversation. This will signal lack of interest and disrespect. Face directly forward during a conversation to give off the impression that you’re truly interested in what the other person is saying.

These are just a few basic tips you can do to avoid upsetting the person you are talking to, or listening to.

 For more tips on body language, download a copy of this amazing cheat sheet. It will help you improve your relationships both in business and in your personal relationship. Click here to take the test!


Ann Andrews CSP specialises in working with high performing teams and showing managers how to deal with poor performance.

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