Body Acting as a â€œtruth talkerâ€ â€“ actions do speak louder than words. Hereâ€™s a look at how some of our body language translate to words. If youâ€™re out on a date and flirting with someone is your primary goal â€“ your body language can do all the talking for you. Leaning a bit closer than necessary, lingering glances and a fleeting touch will say all that you have to say without a need for words.
If you've ever walked down the street and gotten a negative vibe from someone just from looking at them, your instincts may not have been all that off. The way people carry themselves, how they speak and where they place their bodies are all unconscious actions that broadcast their feelings. Body language expert explains how and when your body acts as a truth-talker.
Touching Your Face: Have you ever had a conversation with someone and had a gut feeling they were lying? Well, you may not have been wrong. Unconscious actions, such as touching or slightly scratching the face, may signal lying. Just as young children are prone to covering their mouths when caught in a lie, adults mimic this effect by touching their forehead, nose or cheek, according to 'Body Language 101,' by body language expert David Lambert. Nervousness can also result in similar actions. "It's a pretty significant tell," says Wood.
The Leg Cross: Crossing your legs is usually a signal that you're closing yourself off. "Women tend to cross their legs more than men," says Wood. "Part of it is just that the body can't reach the ground, but part of it is also keeping the crotch covered." For men, crossing the legs may be read as cockiness. "It's really male and very assertive," she says. No matter what gender you are, when you're in an interview or meeting, keep your legs uncrossed and plant both feet firmly on the ground. "That syncs your right and left hemispheres and helps you think and respond more clearly," Wood says.
Licking Your Lips: It's hard enough picking out an outfit for a first date, let alone having to worry about inadvertent sexual signals. Unconsciously moistening your lips or rubbing your legs together can be taken as a sexual cue. "For females, especially, licking the lips can be sensual and purposeful," says Wood. "It's very arousing, and you do it subconsciously." So if your lips tend to be dry, make sure to slather on an extra coat of lip gloss or lip balm to avoid any confusion. Or not.
Fidgeting: It's Monday morning. You're stuck in a meeting without having had your morning coffee. Assuming you can stay awake, fidgeting in your chair can broadcast boredom to your colleagues. When the left side of the brain is fed logical information, the right hemisphere craves stimulation. "It wants to play," says Wood. Your body responds by fidgeting, characterized by a finger tap or the more notorious jimmy leg. To prevent unwanted attention, Wood suggests taking notes or doodling to keep yourself focused and attentive.
The Handshake: First impressions are hard to break, and an unnecessarily firm handshake can relay dominance while a pathetically limp one can show insecurity. Tonya Reiman describes the perfect handshake in 'The Power of Body Language': "Go toward the person, lean slightly forward, look them in the eye, extend your right hand and introduce yourself while pumping two to three times. Have an easy, comfortable grip and make sure to shake your entire arm, not just the wrist and fingers."
Biting Your Lip: Biting your lip can be a leftover habit from childhood that you haven't been able to break. Reiman describes people who bite their lip as vulnerable, embarrassed and shy. It's a nervous habit and often a tell for inexperienced liars.
Smiling: Don't fake it. A forced smile is often a dead giveaway that you're not particularly fond of the person you're speaking to. Women tend to be social smilers and smile 70 percent more than men. But ladies, if you disagree with what a speaker is saying, don't smile and don't nod your head. "For men, it sends the message that you agree with them, and they get confused," says Wood. If you feel like you have to be polite, be nice for a moment, but then turn your lower torso away. "They'll subconsciously pick up on it that you're done and then move on," she says. Start subtly, and then make the shift away.
Pupil Dilation: Dilated pupils have long been considered a sign of beauty. When your pupils dilate, you're probably viewing something you find exciting or attractive -- a big tell on any date provided it's not a candlelit dinner. According to Reiman, Italian courtesans would go to dangerous lengths to dilate their pupils by putting droplets of belladonna in their eyes.
The Arm Cross: Crossing your arms is a telltale sign of disapproval. "You're closing a part of yourself off from other people," says Wood. "You're sending a message that you're not accessible." If you're having a disagreement, try to keep your arms at your sides or gesticulate with open palms in order to portray that you're being amenable.
Trivial Tasks: Unconsciously fiddling with jewelry, chewing your thumb or even sucking on your pen are called displacement activities and can signal tension, according to Lambert. If you're on an interview, keep jewelry to a minimum and make sure to place your hands on your lap.
The Arm Grip: Have you ever watched passengers boarding the plane and known instinctively which ones were afraid of flying? An indication of nervousness is arms folded across the chest with each hand clasped tightly around the upper arm. If you tend to cross your body with one arm and clasp your hand around the other arm, you may be portraying that you're uncomfortable or feel unsafe. Lambert suggests that people do this unconsciously to recreate a childhood feeling of safety when a parent holds your hand. If you're speaking in front of an audience, try to keep your hands at your sides or practice gesticulating to depict confidence and maintain the audience's attention.