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Body Language Course Part 2 | Posture

Action Speak Louder than Words: Many types of posture and a variety of gestures- such as the raising of eyebrows when we meet – are common to all cultures,

while others, especially certain hand gestures, are culturally specific and you have to be a little aware that how you use them in different countries. Let us understand from this picture.


(Anger, excitement, shyness, rejection)

Posture(the position in which someone holds their body when standing and sitting)

You can judge a person’s attitude from their body language.

  • Anger tends to be conveyed by leaning forward sometimes ‘tight’ facial expression.
  • Excitement is often exhibited in an open body position, arms raised up, pams open with mouth and eyes wide open.
  • Shyness is usually conveyed by looking down with little eye contact as well as leaning one side.
  • Rejection tends to be exhibited by turning face to away the body.


Intimidation can be defined as frighten someone or making someone awe of you. In other words, intimacy is an act to scare someone.

Especially senior managers who act in this way towards their subordinates seen as intimidating.

2.Posture of superiority

The four-cross position(with the ankle of one leg resting on the knee of the other) with elbows outstretched and hands clasped(gripe) behind the neck, head or back similarly suggest superiority.

Especially senior male managers in discussion sometimes adopting similar postures in order to maintain their respective positions of authority.


You may have seen in a meeting sometimes some people sitting closed to their arms. What do you understand about this posture?

This often happens when chairs have no arms rests but it could mean that the person is in the defensive position.

4.Interest- indifference

 Pictures not only reflects feelings but also intentions. leaning forward in your chair suggests that you are reacting positively to what you are hearing and that you may be about to act upon a particular suggestion.

On the other hand, leaning backwards tends to indicate indifference, in simple words lack of interest.

5.Inappropriate posture

Inappropriate body language can be insulting or annoying. Coming over too forceful or too relaxed can be offensive. For example

Sitting slumped in a chair with your head down when someone is talking to you displays indifference towards the speaker.

Similarly, sitting with one leg over the arm of a chair suggests casual indifference.

American men, for example, often sit with their legs in a four-cross pattern. Europian en will often just cross one leg over the other, which is perceived in the USA as an effeminate(unman) posture.

Note- Male body language in the company of women during meetings sometimes produces the unexpected.

One study found that when a woman was present in a standing group, those men  who were attracted to her pointed their feet in her direction- even when they were talking to their male colleagues

6.Opening up 

It takes time to feel comfortable with a superior and, as many body language experts will testify(declare) if you can get an individual to open up physically, the chances are that he or she will open up emotionally as well. 

Crossed arms, legs or ankles, self hugging, chin down and a slumped appearance are all telltale(saaf dikhai dene wala) signs that something is wrong.

When you are bullied you may feel depressed and this makes you slump down and lean forward. If you try standing up straight instead, you can’t feel depressed properly!

When we feel angry we tense up(bechain hona), clench our fists and tighten the jaw, so being persuaded to ‘loosen up’ can have the opposite effect of what is intended-’you cant feel angry properly.

What this means that you need to find a way to break the ice gently. One way to do this is to offer Tea or Coffee.

But, it is nevertheless the case that people find it difficult to raise a cup to their mouths with their legs crossed, and almost totally impossible with their arms crossed.

Thus, by such a simple procedure, you enable your ‘closed’ individual to literally ‘open up.


Gesture(a movement of part of the body, especially a hand or the head, to express an idea or meaning.)

We generally gesture with our hands, arms, head and shoulders and do so to add emphasis to what we are saying.

1.Active interest, listening and concern

A common gesture of television interviewers and their guests is the head cock where the head is tilted to one side. This indicates active listening, Interest and concern.

Nodding the head slowly while listening indicates that “I hear you and understand”, whereas more rapid Nods  mean “I hear you  and agree with you.”

2. Confidence, aloofness, submission, aggression 

Generally speaking, when the head is held up and the face points in an upward direction this indicates confidence and in some cases, aloofness, or even a patronising attitude towards others.

Lowering the head and avoiding eye contact is more suggestive of submissive behaviour.

When thrusts their head and chin forward they may be signalling alarm or aggressiveness, particularly if the eyes are wide open at the same time.

3. Don’t care waste of time

A common shoulder gesture is a shrug where both are raised and often accompanied by the palms up hand gesture.

These usually indicate that the person concerned doesn’t care, doesn’t know, or thinks whatever is happening is a waste of time.

4. Disagreement

When the listener tells the speaker that they are in agreement yet the former’s head appears to move slightly from side to side rather than up or down this signalling disagreement.

In such cases, it may be that the listener simply cannot be bothered to argue.

Hand gestures

1. The handshake- strength or weakness?

Overall countries and cultures similar gestures have different meanings and can easily give rise to misunderstandings.

For example, one of the most commonly used gestures in overall countries is the handshake.

In the USA and western Europe, a firm handshake is associated with positiveness, conviction, strength, openness and honesty, 

In the Indian subcontinent, a limp handshake is the norm.

  1. Hand-cupping – domination and control

Hand gestures can be used to express negative as well as positive feelings, such as annoyance, aggression and insult.

Those people who choose to shake hands by placing one hand over – rather than the side of – then the person’s hand are wanting to assert their dominance.

3. Fist and finger insults

The waving, the ‘V’ sign and the single finger-pointing upwards are all insults, Pointing known as buttoning – is generally regarded as rude or aggressive and should be avoided to do these things in the perception of business interaction.

4. The hand shrug – mock honesty

In a conversation, a palms-up gesture tends to indicate uncertainly,  with a degree of honesty. But it can also be used to deceive(cheat). 

The hand-shrug is one of those mock honest gestures which appear to enlist(Enroll)  our sympathy by giving the impression.

5. Patting, tapping, thumping, fiddling

When someone places their hands palms-down in a ‘patting’ fashion, along with raised eyebrows, 

they are indicating satisfaction with or certainty while banging or thumping clearly indicates annoyance and aggression.

Fiddling with pencils during meetings suggests boredom or irritation. 

6. Steepling – confidence, certainty

A common gesture often is seen in organisational life steepling, where both hands are close together with fingertips touching, but with palm a short distance apart.

This action has been interpreted as indicating a sense of confidence, or as suggesting that the individual concerned has come to a decision.

7. Palm rocking – ‘maybe’

This hand gesture often noticed among younger managers is palm rocking with fingers it means that “so-so, maybe, possibly”. It involves the palm face down and rocked from side to side.

8. Thumbs up

‘Thumbs-up’ gesture would be commonly used to understand as meaning “OK”. But in Australia, it means “up yours!” and in Nigeria, it is regarded as “rude”.

In Germany, when you order drinks, it means that ‘one please’.

Deception gestures

(Rubbing, scratching, touching)

There are some gestures of which we are hardly aware, such as touching our noses when we are not telling the truth, or when we believe someone is trying to deceive us.

Scratching one’s neck with an index finger about five times below the ear, while the neck is turned slightly to one side, indicates doubt and uncertainty.

This gesture is common among car mechanics.

Sometimes when people are not telling the truth they rub their eye while looking down as if they are distracted by a piece of grit, when in fact this gesture is designed to distract the attention of the listener.

When you see someone tap the side of their nose with their forefinger this can indicate a desire for confidentiality or secrecy, although the gesture differs in meaning between cultures.

In some situations, placing the hand over the nose suggests both fear or disbelief.

So you see, the body language of posture and gesture really can be quite revealing. 

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