Positive Body Language Signals
1. Legs crossed inwards, towards you. Like an open hug, this body language says the person welcomes you and is listening to what you’re seeing. When someone has their legs crossed inwards, it means they’re giving you their full attention so feel free to ask questions and for feedback because the person is likely to be honest.
2. Open palms and hands. This means the person isn’t feeling uptight or nervous. They’re at ease and receptive towards what you’re saying or presenting. This is a great body language signal to watch for during an interview or presentation.
3. Subtle eye contact. You may think that constant eye contact means you’re in good company, but subtle eye contact is even better. Look for someone to lock eyes for a bit and then look away for body language that says they’re open to what you’re saying or doing.
4. Dilated pupils. When a person is interested in a thing or person, their pupils naturally dilate. Keep watch for this when you’re selling a product or trying to meet a mate. If you spot their pupils dilating, you know the person is receptive and definitely interested.
5. Facing your direction. A person who makes a point of facing your direction means they’re interested in your or what you’re saying. Often when someone is bored or disinterested, they’re angled, only giving you a portion of their attention.
6. A subtle smile. We’re trained to think that the bigger the smile, the more interested someone is in us, but this is hardly the case. Unfortunately, many people know that faking it can get them places and slap on a foolish grin when they need to seem interested. Instead look for a subtle smile that conveys an genuine interest.
7. Regular blinking. We aren’t talking about excessive blinking that makes someone look like they’re from another planet, but regular paced blinking that signifies a person is thoroughly listening to what you have to say.
8. Hand gestures. If your boss is using hand gestures, this is a good thing. It shows he or she is enthusiastic about their intentions and wants you to get as excited or involved. This is especially true from reserved types who don’t normally incorporate hand gestures when speaking.
9. Nodding. If a job interviewer is nodding along with what you’re saying, they’re likely giving you their full attention. Remember the eye contact should be subtle and their body should be facing you. Without these other elements they could be well-trained in the art of tuning folks out while seeming interested.
Negative Body Language
10. Blank stare. If you’re giving a presentation or in an job interview and are receiving a blank stare, the game’s over. This means your audience has tuned out and is likely intently thinking about something besides what’s coming out of your mouth.
11. Very little eye contact. Some will inhabit the blank stare in an effort to look as if they’re interested, but others won’t bother and make very little eye contact, giving you the clear signal their minds are somewhere else. You can try to overcome this by making eye contact with the person and holding it for a few seconds in an attempt to reel them back in.
12. Interruptions. This one isn’t so subtle, but a boss interrupting you can mean they’re ready to move on to the next subject and have little interest in your input. If a person is repeatedly doing this (after all, some of interrupt when we’re excited to share things), it’s a clear indication that they’re self-absorbed or at the very least, not interested in what you have to say.
13 A weak greeting. If someone offers a half-smile and limp handshake when meeting, it could mean they aren’t interested in or their mind is in another place. You can try to salvage the meeting by offering a genuine smile, making eye contact and listening to what the person has to say. Also show enthusiasm in what you’re discussing. Often this is enough to change a person’s attitude for the time being, putting the ball in your court.
14. Hiding hands. Whether a person is stuffing their hands in their pockets, making fists or just concealing their hands because their arms are crossed, hidden hands are a sign of negative body language. It means the person is tense or nervous.
15. Posture that’s severely at ease. While you don’t want the other party to be completely uptight and tense, it’s also negative if the person is slouching. This means the person’s mind is elsewhere and they have little intention of retaining anything you’re saying.
16. Shifting weight. If a person continuously readjusts themselves and shifts their weight, it can be a sign the person is becoming restless or bored with you. These days most people have a very short attention span, which means you have to make yourself heard and get to the point of what you’re trying to say without losing the person’s interest.
17. Long pauses and hesitation. When someone is lying, they may take a long pause to attempt and gather their thoughts for the lie. They can also buy time by hesitating and scratching their face or rubbing their eyes to make the pause less apparent.