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Body Language - Top 10 Tips for Reading Client's Posture and Gestures

Lynda Goldman

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In reading body language, you sometimes get very clear signals about what a client is thinking. In fact, our thoughts and feelings creep out in our postures and gestures. Here's an example.

At a meeting, and uncomfortable subject was raised. One of the women at the meeting clearly did not want to discuss the issue. Anyone who could read non-verbal communication could see this in an instant. How? The woman was wearing a turtleneck sweater. As the discussion began, she started to pull her sweater up. Slowly she pulled it over her chin. Soon her turtleneck sweater was covering her mouth. The woman did not realize that her body language was giving away her reluctance to talk about this subject!

Gestures, postures and head movements all reveal what we are thinking and feeling. Here are 10 things to watch for:

1. People who are angry may lean forward with a tight facial expression and fists clenched.

2. Someone who is excited will exhibit an open body position with palms up, and mouth and eyes wide open.

3. People who feel shy will look down, make little eye contact, and may appear to shrink to one side.

4. Someone who wants to intimidate others may appear threatening by taking an upright stance and standing close to you.

5. People who stand with their hands on their hips and their elbows turned out are showing a posture of superiority and dominance.

6. People often try to show their superiority by sitting with their legs in the four-cross position, with the ankle of one leg resting on the knee of the other, and the elbows outstretched and hands clasped behind the neck or head. In male body language, two executives may both unconsciously adopt this posture to maintain their respective positions of authority.

7. Someone who crosses his arms, hunches his back or clenches his fist, even if he is unaware of what he is doing, can be showing defensiveness, or even be feeling hostile.

8. People who are interested will prop their heads up with a hand, with the index finger pointing to the cheek.

9. A buyer may reveal interest by leaning forward, indicating he is about to act on a suggestion.

10. A customer who leans back is indicating indifference, or a lack of interest.

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From Lynda Goldman, author of 30 books including How to Make a Million Dollar First Impression.


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