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10 useful tips to read body language and facial expressions

Have you ever noticed how a person’s body language and vocal expression don’t always match? Yes, that does occur. Understanding how to interpret facial expressions and body language is crucial for this reason. You will be able to act and communicate more effectively if you can learn to read body language, hand gestures, and eye movements in relation to people’s emotions.

Keep in mind that just because a person’s words and actions sometimes conflict does not make them terrible. It’s true that some people lie to get away with other undesirable behaviors, but others lie because they can’t stop it. To understand more, keep reading this article.

What is body language?

Body language is a type of non-verbal communication that deals with how facial expressions and physical motions are utilized to convey people’s genuine feelings, according to masterclass.com. You must possess the capacity for interpersonal understanding and be conscious of your nonverbal cues. These are helpful tools that can increase your awareness of what someone is attempting to communicate to you and whether they have your best interests in mind. Knowing how to read body language will also aid you in controlling your own nonverbal behaviors.

10 tips on how to read body language and facial expressions

1. Recognise the power pose

Recognise the power posePhoto credit: Istockphotos

Have you watched someone walk into a room and you immediately know he or she is a person of authority? It’s not like they verbally announced their status, you just know it by reading their body language. A good posture often gives off that authority vibe. It shows confidence, respect and power even if you are not a leader. Having a straight posture with your shoulders back is a power position which gives off the impression of maximising more space. On the other hand, slouching means you’re out of form and can be taken for granted.

2. Crossed arms and legs mean resistance to ideas

Crossed arms and legs mean resistance to ideasPhoto credit: Istockphotos

Crossed arms and legs are physical barriers that usually mean that the person is not ready to accommodate your views. Even if they are smiling, laughing or nodding to what you are saying, the fact is they do not agree based on their body language. The body language is often not intentional which is why it is so revealing.

3. Copying your posture

Copying your posturePhoto credit: Istockphotos

Have you ever noticed someone copying you at any time? You may think the person is just mocking you or trying to steal your style. But the truth is it is a good thing. It means someone is looking up to you. You are a role model and striking up a conversation with the person will be easy. Their copying you means they will be receptive to your opinion or views. This is especially important if you are negotiating a deal because it means the person will listen and think about it.

4. Crinkles around the eyes mean a genuine smile

Crinkles around the eyes mean a genuine smilePhoto credit: Istockphotos

The mouth can lie but the eyes cannot when it comes to smiling. A genuine smile will crinkle the skin in the corner of their eyes, creating a crow’s feet pattern. This is how you know that the person is happy. So, next time when a person is smiling, look out for the crinkles around the eyes. If they are not there, the smile is not real. If they are there, it means your conversation with the person is a good one.

5. Avoiding or giving too much eye

Avoiding or giving too much eyePhoto credit: Depositphotos

The easiest way to detect if a person is lying is if he or she is avoiding making eye contact. But do you know that a person who makes too much eye contact is probably lying too? You may think their conscience is clear and by maintaining eye contact, they are proving to you that whatever they say is the entire truth. Wrong. Too much eye contact can camouflage a big lie. When next they are making too much eye contact, take whatever they say with a pinch of salt.

6. Furrowed brows

Furrowed browsPhoto credit: Istockphotos

Furrowed brows is a microexpression that usually means that someone is experiencing negative feelings like confusion or uneasiness. Watch out for wrinkles in the forehead and the eyebrows moving closer together when discussing with a person. If they are there, know you still have to work harder to convince them to see your point of view.

7. Exaggerated nodding

Exaggerated noddingPhoto credit: Freepik

When you are telling someone something and they nod excessively, it means different things. Either the person wants you to stop talking and give them a turn to speak or it could also mean they lack confidence around you or are nervous in your presence. It also means that they think you doubt their ability to follow your instructions.

8. Watch their feet

Watch their feet

When people are watching out for body language, they always look at facial expressions, body postures, and hand/arm gestures. People hardly look at the feet. As a result, the feet are left vulnerable to real emotions. If you want to know the truth, watch out for the feet which are often left unrehearsed. Under stress, a person will often display nervousness and anxiety through increased foot movements. There will be fidgeting, shuffling, curling, stretching and kicking. Foot gestures are great sources to find out people’s emotions.

9. Clenched jaw means stress

Clenched jaw means stressPhoto by Murray Close/Getty Images

A clenched jaw is a sign of stress. When the expression comes with a tightened neck or a furrowed brow, know the person is suffering from discomfort, no matter how comfortable they look. The conversation is probably tilting towards something they are nervous about or it has triggered an unwanted memory that is stressing them out. Watch out for this tense expression.

10. Firm handshake means instant connection

Firm handshake means instant connectionPhoto credit: Freepik

When you engage in a firm handshake with a person, it usually signals warmth and confidence. It also means instant connection showing that you’re poised and confident. Physical touch often leaves a lasting impression. People are more likely to remember handshakes than anything else that happened during their encounters. A study by Income Center for Trade has shown that people react to those with whom they shake hands by being more open and friendly. This is useful knowledge and skill to develop if you are hoping to strike lucrative deals.

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