interpreting body language

Interpreting Body Language: 10 Rules For Reading Cues

who this class is for


Test your knowledge with a quick test and earn a free micro-certificate

Shop for etiquette, behavioral, and contextual signs

About this micro-class

Interpreting body language is a crucial skill, as it can provide valuable insights into the thoughts and feelings of others. 

The key is not to make assumptions but to use these observations as clues for better understanding. 

Developing your ability to interpret body language will enhance your communication skills and contribute to your success in the workplace.

Rules for Interpreting Body Language

1. Eye Contact

Strong eye contact typically indicates confidence and attentiveness.

Shifting or avoiding eye contact may suggest discomfort, lack of confidence, or potential deceit.

2. Facial Expressions

Smiles generally convey openness and friendliness.

Frowning or furrowed brows might signal frustration, concern, or disagreement.

3. Posture

Open and upright postures demonstrate confidence and receptiveness.

Closed postures, such as crossed arms, may indicate defensiveness or discomfort.

4. Gestures

Open hand gestures are often perceived as honest and transparent.

Fidgeting or nervous gestures may suggest anxiety or uncertainty.

5. Proximity

Comfortable spacing between individuals usually indicates a positive relationship.

Invasion of personal space might signify aggression or a lack of respect.

6. Mirroring

Subtly mimicking someone else’s body language can indicate rapport and connection.

Lack of mirroring may suggest a disconnect or discomfort.

7. Tone of Voice

A calm and steady tone generally conveys confidence and control.

Changes in pitch, volume, or pace may indicate emotional fluctuations.

8. Arm Position

Crossed arms can indicate defensiveness or disagreement.

Open arms suggest receptivity and a willingness to listen.

9. Handshakes

A firm handshake often signifies confidence and professionalism.

A weak or limp handshake may convey uncertainty or lack of enthusiasm.

10. Microexpressions

These are fleeting facial expressions that reveal true emotions.

Pay attention to quick smiles, frowns, or eyebrow movements.

Exercise for Development

Observe a colleague or a friend during a meeting or casual conversation.

Take note of their eye contact, facial expressions, posture, and gestures.

Consider the context and any deviations from their typical behavior.

Reflect on your own body language and how it may impact others.

Tips for Application

Be mindful of cultural differences in body language interpretation.

Consider clusters of cues rather than relying on a single gesture.

Use your observations to adapt your communication style and build stronger relationships.

Test your knowledge with a quick test and earn a free micro-certificate

Shop for etiquette, behavioral, and contextual signs

related micro-classes