When reading body language, a person’s posture, and how they move, reveals how they feel about themselves. This in turn will determine how others will relate to them.
Some good examples are despair where the body collapses in as the muscles relax, just like a rag doll, passion and excitement when the muscles tighten and the body movements are forceful and concentrated, anger and frustration where the muscles are tightened but the body movements are intense like slamming your fists, finger pointing, and energised and excited as the body tends to use short, sharp movements.
There are 3 types of postures:
- Standing – this position enables you to think and act quickly, move towards or away from a person or thing, and it’s considered a position of action and authority.
- Sitting – this position is less energised, more relaxed and more social. I am purposely sitting down for the majority of this training so I can create a social atmosphere.
- Lying Down – this position is submissive, very relaxed and is the best position for getting in touch with your feelings and thoughts.
When interacting with other people, a person’s posture will also be determined by what they think of the other person. When they are in the presence of someone of a higher status than themselves, their body will be symmetrical. Think of a soldier standing at attention when in the presence of an officer or a student standing in front of the school principal. Standing with your hands on your hips indicates you feel equal to or above the person you are interacting with. Bowing, even slightly, is a sign of respect. The Japanese use this posture more frequently than other cultures, however, even a slight nod of the head can be used as a sign of respect.
The lean of your body indicates whether your feelings are positive or negative. Leaning forward, towards someone, shows that you are interested and you like them. The more you lean in, the more you like them. You are sharing their personal space with them and showing the other person, you want to be close to them. If you are not interested in the person or conversation, you will tend to lean away from them.