Gestures

Seated Body Formations

Take the following situation you are in a supervisory capacity and are about to counsel a subordinate whose work performance has been unsatisfactory and erratic. To achieve this objective, you feel that you will need to use direct questions that require direct answers and may put the subordinate under pressure. At times you will also need to show the subordinate that you understand his feelings and, from time to time, that you agree with his thoughts or actions. How can you non-verbally convey...

Dominant and Submissive Handshakes

Submissive Dominant Relationships

Considering what has already been said about the impact of a command given in both the palm-up and palm-down positions, let us explore the relevance of these two palm positions in hand shaking. Assume that you have just met someone for the first time and you greet each other with a customary handshake. One of three basic attitudes is transmitted through the handshake. These are dominance 'This person is trying to dominate me. I'd better be cautious', submission 'I can dominate this person. He...

The Standard Leg Cross Position

Common Gestures

One leg is crossed neatly over the other, usually the right over the left. This is the normal crossed-leg position used by European, British, Australian and New Zealand cultures and may be used to show a nervous, reserved or defensive attitude. However, this is usually a supportive gesture that occurs with other negative gestures and should not be interpreted in isolation or out of context. For example, people often sit like this during lectures or if they are on uncomfortable chairs for long...

Steepling Hands

I stated at the beginning of this book that gestures come in clusters, like words in a sentence, and that they must be interpreted in the context in which they are observed. 'Steepling', as Birdwhistell called it, can be an exception to these rules, as it is often used in isolation of other gestures. In fact, people who are confident, superior types or who use minimal or restricted body gestures often use this gesture, and, by doing so, they signal their confident attitude. My observation and...

Partial Armcross Barriers

Lasting Longer The Bedroom

The full arm-cross gesture is sometimes too obvious to use around others because it tells them that we are fearful. Occasionally we substitute a subtler version - the partial arm cross, in which one arm swings across the body to hold or touch the other arm to form the barrier, as shown in Figure 75. The partial arm barrier is often seen at meetings where a person may be a stranger to the group or is lacking in self-confidence. Another popular version of a partial arm barrier is holding hands...

Gripping Hands Arms And Wrists

Arm Grabbing Body Language

Several prominent male members of the British Royal Family are noted for their habit of walking with their head up, chin out and one palm gripping the other hand behind the back. Not only does British Royalty use this gesture it is common among Royalty of many countries. On the local scene, the gesture is used by the policeman patrolling his beat, the headmaster of the local school when he is walking through the school yard, senior military personnel and others in a position of authority. This...

Hand Shake Styles

Handshake Communication Meaning

The palm-down thrust is certainly the most aggressive handshake style as it gives the receiver little chance of establishing an equal relationship. This handshake is typical of the aggressive, dominant male who always initiates it, and the stiff arm with palm facing directly downwards forces the receiver into the submissive position because he has to respond with his palm facing up. Several ways to counter the palm-down thrust have been developed. You can use the step-to-the-right technique...

Female Leg Cross Gestures

Woman Sexual Desire Body Language

Men often sit with their legs apart in an aggressive crotch display, whereas women use leg crossing as protection for their delicate genital area. Women use three basic positions to communicate a courting attitude. With the knee point Figure 121 , one leg is tucked under the other and points to the person whom she finds interesting. This is a very relaxed position which takes the formality out of a conversation and gives the opportunity for a fleeting exposure of the thighs. The shoe fondle...

Interpreting And Misinterpreting

The ability to accurately interpret hand-to-face gestures in a given set of circumstances takes considerable time and observation to acquire. We can confidently assume that, when a person uses one of the hand-to-face gestures just mentioned, a negative thought has entered his mind. The question is, what is the negative It could be doubt, deceit, uncertainty, exaggeration, apprehension or outright lying. The real skill of interpretation is the ability to pick which of the negatives mentioned is...

Clusters Circumstances and Gestures in Daily Encounters

Has High Status

Figure 165 A good example of an openness cluster. The palms are fully exposed in the submissive position and the fingers are spread wide to give more impact to the gesture. The head is in the neutral position and the arms and legs are apart. This man is communicating a submissive, non-threatening attitude. Figure 166 This is a classic deceit cluster. As he rubs his eye he looks away towards the floor and both eyebrows are raised to the disbelief position. His head is turned away and down,...

Aggressive And Readiness Gestures

Clusters Circumstances Gestures

Which gesture is used in the following situations the young child arguing with his parent, the athlete waiting for his event to begin and the boxer in the dressing-room waiting for the bout to start In each instance, the individual is seen standing with the hands-on-hips pose, for this is one of the most common gestures used by man to communicate an aggressive attitude. Some observers have labelled this gesture 'readiness' which in the right context is correct, but the basic meaning is...

Male Male Aggression

Simiologia Pedriadria Los

Figure 105 shows two men sizing each other up, using the characteristic hands-on-hips and thumbs-in-belt gestures. Considering that they are both turned at an angle away from each other and the lower halves of their bodies are relaxed, it would be reasonable to assume that these two males are unconsciously evaluating each other and that an attack is unlikely. Their conversation may be casual or friendly but a completely relaxed atmosphere will not exist until their hands-on-hips gestures cease...

Nose Touching

Couple Body Language Touching Face

In essence, the nose touch gesture is a sophisticated, disguised version of the mouth guard gesture. It may consist of several light rubs below the nose or it may be one quick, almost imperceptible touch. Some women perform this gesture with small discreet strokes to avoid smudging their make-up. One explanation of the origin of the nose touch gesture is that, as the negative thought enters the mind, the subconscious instructs the hand to cover the mouth, but, at the last moment, in an attempt...

Courtship Gestures and Signals

Female Courtship Signals

I have a friend named Graham who has developed an art that most males would love to acquire. Whenever he attends a social function he can quickly 'psych out' the available women, make his choice and, in almost record-breaking time sometimes as little as ten minutes , he may be seen heading towards the exit with the woman, escorting her to his car and drilling back to his apartment. I have even seen him return to the party within an hour and repeat this amazing process two or three times in the...

Hands Clenched Together

Body Language Clenched Hands

At first this seems to be a confidence gesture as some people who use it are often smiling and sound happy. However, on one particular occasion, we saw a sales person describing the sale he had just lost. As he went further and further into his story, we noticed that not only had he taken the hands-clenched position, but his fingers were beginning to turn white and they looked as though they were welding together. This was therefore a gesture showing a frustrated or hostile attitude. Research...

Head Gestures

This book would not be complete without a discussion of the basic head movements, the two most widely used being the head nod and the head shake. The head nod is a positive gesture used in most cultures to signify, 'Yes', or affirmation. Research conducted with people who have been deaf, dumb and blind from birth shows that they also use this gesture to signify the affirmative, which has given rise to the theory that this may be an inborn gesture. The headshake, usually meaning 'No', is also...

Seated Readiness

One of the most valuable gestures that a negotiator can learn to recognise is seated readiness. In the selling situation, for example, if the potential buyer were to take this gesture at the end of the sales presentation and the interview had progressed successfully up to that point, the sales person could ask for the order and expect to get it. Video replays of insurance sales people interviewing potential buyers revealed that, whenever the seated readiness gesture followed the chinstroking...

Gesture Clusters

Ademanes Orador

One of the most serious mistakes a novice in body language can make is to interpret a solitary gesture in isolation of other gestures or other circumstances. For example, scratching the head can mean a number of things -dandruff, fleas, sweating, uncertainty, forgetfulness or lying, depending on the other gestures that occur at the same time, so we must always look at gesture clusters for a correct reading. Like any other language, body language consists of words, sentences and punctuation....

Territory And Ownership

Property owned by a person or a place regularly used by him constitutes a private territory and, like personal air space, he will fight to protect it. Such things as a person's home, office and motor car represent a territory, each having clearly marked boundaries in the form of walls, gates, fences and doors. Each territory may have several sub-territories. For example, in a home a woman's private territory may be her kitchen and laundry and she objects to anyone invading that space when she...

Hand Gestures Rubbing the palms together

Recently a personal friend of ours visited my wife and me at our home to discuss the details of a forthcoming skiing holiday. In the course of the conversation our friend suddenly sat back in her chair, smiled broadly, rubbed her palms together and exclaimed, 'I can hardly wait to go ' Non-verbally she had told us that she expected the Rubbing the palms together is a way in which people non-verbally communicate positive expectation. The dice thrower rubs the dice between his palms as a sign of...

Chin Stroking

The next time you have the opportunity to present an idea to a group of people, watch them carefully as you give your idea and you will notice something fascinating. Most, if not all the members of your audience will bring one hand up to their faces and begin to use evaluation gestures. As you come to the conclusion of your presentation and ask for the group to give opinions or suggestions about the idea, the evaluation gestures will cease. One hand will move to the chin and begin a...

The American Figure 4 Leg Lock Position

This leg cross indicates that an argumentative or competitive attitude exists. It is the sitting position used by many American males who have a competitive nature. This being the case, it is difficult to interpret the attitude of an American during a conversation, but it is quite obvious when this gesture is used by a British citizen. I recently addressed a series of meetings in New Zealand where the audience comprised about 100 managers and 500 sales people. A highly controversial issue was...

Cigarette Smokers

Gangster Gestures

Like pipe smoking, cigarette smoking is a displacement of inner tension and allows time to stall, but the cigarette smoker generally reaches his decision faster than the pipe smoker. The pipe smoker is, in effect, a cigarette smoker who needs more time to stall in making decisions than his cigarettes allow. The cigarette ritual involves tapping, twisting, flicking, waving and other mini-gestures indicating that the person is experiencing more tension than may be normal. One particular signal...

Territorial Gestures

People lean against other people or objects to show a territorial claim to that object or person. Leaning can also be used as a method, of dominance or intimidation when the object being leaned on belongs to someone else. For example, if you are going to take a photograph of a friend and his new car, boat, home or other personal belonging, you will inevitably find that he leans against his newly acquired property, putting his foot on it or his arm around it (Figure 130). When he touches the...

Disguised Armcross Gestures

Disguised arm-cross gestures are highly sophisticated gestures used by people who are continually exposed to others. This group includes politicians, sales people, television personalities and the like who do not want their audience to detect that they are unsure of themselves or nervous. Like all arm-cross gestures, one arm swings across in front of the body to grasp the other arm but instead of the arms folding, one hand touches a handbag, bracelet, watch, shirt cuff or other object on or...

Arm Gripping Gesture

Images Healthy Person

You will notice that this arm-cross gesture is characterised by the hands tightly gripping the upper arms to reinforce the position and to stop any attempt to unfold the arms and expose the body. The arms can often be gripped so tight that the fingers and knuckles turn white as the blood circulation is cut off. This arm-fold style is common to people sitting in doctors' and dentists' waiting-rooms, or first-time air travellers who are waiting for the plane to lift off. It shows a negative...

The Mouth Guard

The mouth guard is one of the few adult gestures that is as obvious as a child's. The hand covers the mouth and the thumb is pressed against the cheek as the brain subconsciously instructs it to try and suppress the deceitful words that are being said. Sometimes this gesture may only be several fingers over the mouth or even a closed fist, but its meaning remains the same. The mouth guard is not to be confused with evaluation gestures, which will be covered later in this chapter. Many people...

Straddling a Chair

Centuries ago, men used shields to protect themselves from the spears and clubs of the enemy, and today, civilised man uses whatever he has at his disposal to symbolise this same protective behaviour when he is under physical or verbal attack. This includes standing behind a gate, doorway, fence, desk, the open door of his motor vehicle and straddling a chair (Figure 91). The back of the chair provides a shield to protect his body and can transform him into an aggressive, dominant warrior. Most...

The Competitive Defensive Position B3

Competitive Defensive Position

Sitting across the table from a person can create a defensive, competitive atmosphere and can lead to each party taking a firm stand on his point of view because the table becomes a solid barrier between both parties. This position is taken by people who are either competing with each other or if one is reprimanding the other. It can also establish that a superior subordinate role exists when it is used in A's office. Argyle noted that an experiment conducted in a doctor's office showed that...

Framework for Understanding

As we approach the end of the twentieth century, we are witnessing the emergence of a new kind of social scientist-the non-verbalist. Just as the birdwatcher delights in watching birds and their behaviour, so the non-verbalist delights in watching the non-verbal cues and signals of human beings. He watches them at social functions, at beaches, on television, at the office or anywhere that people interact. He is a student of behaviour who wants to learn about the actions of his fellow humans so...

The Ankle Lock Gesture

Locked Ankles

Crossing or folding the arms or legs suggests that a negative or defensive attitude exists, and this is also the case with the ankle lock gesture. The male version of the ankle lock is often combined with clenched fists resting on the knees or with the hands tightly gripping the arms of the chair (Figure 87). The female version varies slightly the knees are held together, the feet may be to one side and the hands rest side by side or one on top of the other resting on the upper legs (Figure...

Seated Body Pointing

Body Language Feet Pointing

Crossing the knees towards another person is a sign of acceptance or interest in that person. If the other person also becomes interested, he or she will cross knees towards the first person, as shown in Figure 144. As the two people become more involved with each other they will begin to copy each other's movements and gestures, as is the case in Figure 144, and a closed formation results that excludes all others, such as the man on the right. The only way in which the man on the right could...

Headrubbing And Headslapping Gestures

Amazing Sketches That Are Easy

An exaggerated version of the collar pull gesture is the palm rubbing the back of the neck in what Calero called the 'pain-in-the-neck' gesture. A person who uses this when lying usually avoids your gaze and looks down. This gesture is also used as a signal of frustration or anger and, when this is the case, the hand slaps the back of the neck first and then begins to rub the neck. Let us assume, for example, that you asked a subordinate to complete a certain task for you and that the...

Carbon Copies and Mirror Images

The next time you attend a social function or go to a place where people meet and interact, take note of the number of people who have adopted the identical gestures and posture of the person with whom they are talking. This 'carbon copying' is a means by which one person tells the other that he is in agreement with his ideas and attitudes. By this method, one is non-verbally saying to the other, 'As you can see, I think the same as you, so I will copy your posture and gestures.' This...

Thumb Displays

Women Gestures And Movements

In palmistry, the thumbs denote strength of character and ego and the non-verbal use of thumbs agrees with this. They are used to display dominance, superiority or even aggression thumb gestures are secondary gestures, a supportive part of a gesture cluster. Thumb displays are positive signals, often used in the typical pose of the 'cool' manager who uses them in the presence of subordinates. A courting man uses them in the presence of a potential female partner and they are common among people...

Male Courtship Gestures

Listening Gestures

Like most animal species, the human male displays preening behaviour as the female approaches. In addition to the automatic physiological reactions already mentioned, he will reach for his throat and straighten his tie. If he is not wearing a tie, he may smooth his collar or brush imaginary dust from his shoulder and rearrange cufflinks, shirt, coat and other clothing. He may also preen himself by smoothing his hair. The most aggressive sexual display he can make towards the female is the...

Some Basics And Their Origins

Cultural Gestures

Most of the basic communication gestures are the same all over the world. When people are happy they smile when they are sad or angry they frown or scowl. Nodding the head is almost universally used to indicate 'yes' or affirmation. It appears to be a form of head lowering and is probably an inborn gesture, as it is also used by deaf and blind people. Shaking the head from side to side to indicate 'no' or negation is also universal and may well be a gesture that is learned in infancy. When a...

Faking Body Language

A commonly asked question is, 'Is it possible to fake your own body language ' The general answer to this question is 'no' because of the lack of congruence that is likely to occur in the use of the main gestures, the body's microsignals and the spoken words. For example, open palms are associated with honesty but when the faker holds his palms out and smiles at you as he tells a lie, his microgestures give him away. His pupils may contract, one eyebrow may lift or the comer of his mouth may...

Standard Arm Cross Gesture

Both arms are folded together across the chest as an attempt to 'hide' from an unfavourable situation. There are many arm-folding positions, but this book will discuss the three most common ones. The standard arm-cross gesture (Figure 70) is a universal gesture signifying the same defensive or negative attitude almost everywhere. It is commonly seen when a person is among strangers in public meetings, queues, cafeterias, elevators or anywhere that people feel uncertain or insecure. During a...

Ownership Gestures

Management personnel are particularly guilty of continually using the following gestures. It has been noted that employees who have been newly appointed to management positions suddenly begin to use them, despite the fact that they seldom used them prior to their promotion. It would be normal to assume that the position of the man in Figure 132 reflects an easygoing, relaxed and carefree attitude, because that is in fact what it is. The leg-overchair gesture not only signifies the man's...

Body Lowering and Status

Historically, lowering the height of one's body in front of another person has been used as a means of establishing superior subordinate relationships. We refer to a member of Royalty as 'Your Highness', whereas individuals who commit unsavoury acts are called 'low'. The protest rally speaker stands on a soapbox to be higher than everyone else, the judge sits higher than the rest of the court, those who live in a penthouse command more authority than those who live at ground level and some...

Strategic Office Layout

Having read this book, you should now be able to arrange your office furniture in such a way as to have as much power, status or control over others as you wish. Here is a case study showing how we rearranged a person's office to help solve some of his supervisor employee relationship problems. John, who was an employee in an insurance company, had been promoted to a manager's position and was given an office. After a few months in the role, John found that the other employees disliked dealing...

Deceit Doubt Lying

How can you tell when someone is lying Recognition of the non-verbal deceit gestures can be one of the most important observation skills one can acquire. So what deceit signals can give people away One of the most commonly used symbols of deceit is that of the three wise monkeys who hear, speak and see no evil. The hand-to-face actions depicted form the basis of the human deceit gestures (Figure 53). In other words, when we see, speak and hear untruths or deceit, we often attempt to cover our...

Picking Imaginary Lint

When a person disapproves of the opinions or attitudes of others but feels constrained in giving his point of view, the non-verbal gestures that occur are known as displacement gestures, that is, they result from a withheld opinion. Picking imaginary pieces of lint from the clothing is one such gesture. The lintpicker usually looks away from the other people towards the floor while performing this minor, irrelevant action. This is one of the most common signals of disapproval and when the...

The Ring or OK Gesture

Gay Sublimnal Self Help

This gesture was popularised in the USA during the early nineteenth century, apparently by the newspapers that, at the time, were starting a craze of using initials to shorten common phrases. There' are many different views about what the initials 'OK' stand for, some believing it stood for 'all correct' which may have been misspelled as 'oll korrect', while others say that it means the opposite of 'knock-out' that is, K.O. Another popular theory is that it is an abbreviation of 'Old...

Overcoming Common Problems

How to read others' thoughts by their gestures First published 1981 by Camel Publishing Company, Box 1612, North Sydney, 2060, Australia First published March 1984 by Sheldon Press, SPCK Building, Marylebone Road, London NWl 4DU All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher....

Basic Head Positions

There are three basic head positions. The first is with the head up (Figure 93) and is the position taken by the person who has a neutral attitude about what he is hearing. The head usually remains still and may occasionally give small nods. Hand-to-cheek evaluation gestures are often used with this position. When the head tilts to one side it shows that interest has developed (Figure 94). Charles Darwin was one of the first to note that humans, as well as animals, tilt their heads to one side...

Inborn Genetic Learned And Cultural Signals

Much research and debate has been done to discover whether non-verbal signals are inborn, learned, genetically transferred or acquired in some other way. Evidence was collected from observation of blind and or deaf people who could not have learned nonverbal signals through the auditory or visual channels, from observing the gestural behaviour of many different cultures around the world and from studying the behaviour of our nearest anthropological relatives, the apes and monkeys. The...

Folded Arms Gestures

Hiding behind a barrier is a normal human response that we learn at an early age to protect ourselves. As children, we hid behind solid objects such as tables, chairs, furniture and mother's skirts whenever we found ourselves in a threatening situation. As we grew older, this hiding behaviour became more sophisticated and by the age of about six, when it was unacceptable behaviour to hide behind solid objects, we learned to fold our arms tightly across our chests whenever a threatening...

Cultural Factors Affecting Zone Distances

A young couple who recently migrated from Denmark to live in Sydney were invited to join the local branch of the Jaycees. Some weeks after their admission to the club, several female members complained that the Danish man was making advances towards them, so that they felt uncomfortable in his presence and the male members of the club felt that the Danish woman had been indicating non-verbally that she would be sexually available to them. This situation illustrates the fact that many Europeans...