Do you have good body language? You might not think so, but the way you carry yourself can reveal a lot about you. Body language is a broad term that encompasses all nonverbal communication — from your posture to eye contact and hand gestures. Are you even aware of how you present yourself to other people? Whether or not you are conscious of it, your body language betrays plenty about you. Your body communicates more than just how comfortable you feel in social situations.
The way you stand and sit, the frequency with which you fidget, and whether or not you make eye contact all relay information about who you are as a person. Moreover, your body language impacts those around you in ways that may be completely unnoticeable to you. In fact, nonverbal communication accounts for over 60% of effective communication between humans. Curious as to what your body language says about your personality? Read on to find out!
Scrunched up shoulders
If your shoulders are constantly hunched, you probably feel stressed and anxious. People who scrunch up their shoulders may be trying to protect themselves from the judgments and opinions of others. Or perhaps they are simply shy and self-conscious. When you scrunch your shoulders, you also create more distance between yourself and the people you’re with. In other words, scrunching up your shoulders makes you seem less open to conversation.
When you want to communicate trust and openness, you need to be careful that you keep your shoulders relaxed and down. When your shoulders are up around your ears, it creates an impression of defensiveness and anxiety that’s hard to shake.
If you are holding your hands together like you’re praying, and your fingertips are touching and forming a steeple, this is a sign of confidence and intelligence. It’s a good way to show that you are relaxed, but also that you are focused and prepared to engage. People who steeple their fingers are often exhibiting confidence and authority. In some cases, your steeple might come across as condescending or dismissive. If you find that you are steeple-ing a lot while talking to another person, try to reel it in.
Crossing your arms
If your arms are crossed, this can be a sign of defensiveness and skepticism. You might be feeling defensive because someone is disagreeing with you, or you might just be feeling anxious overall. When you cross your arms, you are creating distance between yourself and the people you are with. You might be feeling defensive because you don’t want to be vulnerable and open, or you might just be shy or overwhelmed.
Fidgeting and fumbling
Fidgeting and fumbling are signs that you are uncomfortable in your own skin. If you are fidgeting with your hair, playing with your hands, or fumbling with whatever is in front of you, you are most likely feeling anxious and stressed out. If you are fidgeting and fumbling, you might be feeling nervous, or you might simply have bad body language. It’s possible that you have not been taught proper ways of holding your hands and arms. Or perhaps you are under a lot of stress and you’re not sure how to channel your nervous energy in a healthier way.
Rolling your eyes
If you often roll your eyes when people are speaking to you or when someone is discussing a topic that interests you, you are probably being dismissive of others. You might also be taking a subliminal shot at the other person’s intelligence. If you are rolling your eyes, you might be bored, or you might be unimpressed with what someone is saying. You might also be playing into a common stereotype that women are catty and competitive.
If you are constantly nodding while someone is talking, you probably agree with what they’re saying and you want to show that you are listening and engaged. If you are nodding too much, you might come across as overly eager to agree with the other person. You might also be desperate for the other person to like you. Nodding excessively can also make you seem like a bobblehead. People might think you are too eager to agree with everything they say, or they might think you are not engaging with them at a deep enough level.
Eye Contact: When You Have It, and When You Don’t
When you maintain eye contact with another person, it shows that you are interested in what they are saying and that you are engaged in the conversation. Eye contact also shows that you are confident in yourself and that you are comfortable in the situation. If you are not making eye contact, you could be bored, anxious, or shy. You might also be shy, but you are too embarrassed to look the other person in the eye. Look at the person you are talking to, but don’t stare them down. Make eye contact for just long enough to let them know you are engaged, but not so long that you are making them uncomfortable.
When you use hand gestures while you are talking, you are making your words more persuasive and memorable. You also show that you are confident in what you are saying and that you are comfortable with your own body language. If you are not using hand gestures while you are talking, you might be shy or you might be nervous. You might be afraid that you are going to say or do something stupid. You might also be unsure of what to say next.
When you are communicating with other people, it can be helpful to think about what you are saying nonverbally as well as verbally. Good body language can make all the difference between a positive and negative experience, whether you’re in a job interview, on a date, or in a business meeting. When you’re more mindful of your nonverbal communication, you can be more strategic with the way you present yourself to others.