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Friday, April 17, 2009

Beware of Mannerisms: They Disclose Yourself To Others

We all form certain mannerisms like pulling the eyebrow, rubbing the nose etc. We need to be aware of these because they may be giving out the wrong signals. The best way to know if you are doing this is to watch a video recording of yourself, or get a friend to tell you each time you make a nervous mannerism.

A Senior Communication Expert told me a story, some years ago he was working with a young lady who always put her hand over her mouth when she spoke. This gave out the impression that she was lying or was uncertain of herself. He asked her why she did this and she told him that when she was younger she suffered from terrible acne, which caused her considerable distress and embarrassment so she had got into the habit of covering her face when she spoke so people couldn’t see her skin. The habit had stuck long after her skin had cleared.

Here are some further body language signals that you might like to be aware of.

Sitting down with the hands and arms clasped behind the head

This is a superior gesture or exhibits extreme confidence sometimes bordering on arrogance. It can also be accompanied by the chin held high.

Leg lock – when one ankle is crossed over the knee of the other

This denotes a dominant and competitive personality. The higher the leg is crossed over the more dominant and competitive. If the person is also holding his leg this means he is stubborn and unmoving, he’s made his mind up.

If the thumbs are on display in an upward position this shows that they are in charge! This is often a familiar stance of a barrister in a courtroom. Some speakers also adopt this posture, which can be rather intimidating towards the audience.

Another variation of this is when the thumbs protrude from the pockets, which displays dominance.

Thumbs wrapped round belt: If a man is standing with his legs firmly planted apart, thumbs in belt pose, with fingers pointing down towards crotch area this is an aggressive posture when adopted facing another man. If, however, a man adopts this posture towards a woman then it can be interpreted as a sexual gesture.

In recent years some women have also adopted this posture, in this instance it exhibits an attitude of dominance and sexual control over men.

Hands on hips: This is an aggressive and threatening gesture when used by a man or when used by a woman to another woman. If a woman adopts this posture towards a man then it can be interpreted as a sexual stance.