How to read body language

how to read body language

Make good first impressions, ace your job interview, and have a great first date with tips to interpreting body language from expert Janine Driver.

The First 30 Seconds

When meeting someone new, first 30 seconds are incredibly important. Once someone has an impression of you, it can be ten times more difficult to change it. That means if the first impression didn’t go well, you’re going to have to meet someone ten more times to leave a good impression. We each place a huge amount of weight on the first time we meet someone.

Ace Your Interview

There are a few key points people should remember when interviewing:

  • Standing with your hands in your pockets with your thumbs hidden suggests a lack of confidence or unease.
  • Eye contact should be the upside down triangle, which goes from the eyebrows down to the nose and back up to the other eyebrow.
  • Looking at the lips is considered sexual and looking at the forehead is talking down to someone.
  • In the US, an appropriate level of eye contact is 60%; 80% is considered dominating.
  • Sitting with legs crossed while shaking one leg or wiggling a foot suggests nervousness or severe discomfort. Instead, have both your feet firmly planted on the ground, this will send the message that you literally “have both feet on the ground!”
  • Rubbing the back of your head or neck may suggest you’re bored by the conversation. If you’re nervous, do 10 ten push-ups in your shoes – no one will see this and you’ll be able to let out that anxiety!

Have a Great First Date

Make a good first date impression by nodding in agreement, but not excessively. Put your hand on your hip, or hook a thumb in your pocket to show some sass.

Keep Your Kids Safe

Sex offenders often target children and families they perceive to be vulnerable and who would offer them the least resistance. Many threats can be deterred when you send non-verbal signals that you are confident and self-assured. So, when you interact with your child in front of his teachers, principal, school bus driver, the babysitter, and other adults, be sure to let them know how focused and alert you are with your child. Stop texting and put down your cell phone! Instead, pull your shoulders back, tilt your chin up slightly, and hold a wide stance, to send the message to potential offenders that they can’t take advantage of you or your child.

It is also important to be cautious of some caretakers. If a caretaker is prone to prolonged staring at your son or daughter, it may indicate an intense and unnatural interest. If they give you extended eye contact in conversation, it may be to try and convince you that they are trustworthy, and a half-smile can signal contempt, or moral superiority. A half-smile can mean a person thinks they are better than you, or a better influence on your child. Contempt from your child’s caretaker is dangerous, because they think what they are doing is right and best for your child. 

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