Nonverbal Gestures and Postures

Typical Gestures and Postures

There are many gestures and postures that are typical and easily interpreted.

Certain common gestures and behaviors convey certain common messages.

For example, if you hear a person sigh, it's likely you'll think he's bored or irritated. Even if nothing is meant by a gesture, you may interpret it in a stereotypical way.

Take a look at an interview arranged with Dr. Conrad Loud, a self-proclaimed expert on nonverbal behavior.

Dr. Loud's and Sue's body language probably had obvious meaning for you, because everybody has preconceived, stereotypical ideas about what certain gestures and expressions mean.

Let's review the common gestures you might have seen in the conversation.

h Rubbing of the hands is a sign of confidence.

h Chewing on a pencil is a sign of nervousness and uncertainty.

h Leaning forward signifies interest or intensity.

h Turning away from the speaker means pulling away from involvement.

An article in Business Week had an interesting comment about the body language of Bill Gates, head of Microsoft. "Gates Watchers" said they could tell what he was thinking by watching his body language. Hands on his lap under the table meant he was skeptical. Elbows on the table meant he was interested. Covering his chin with his hand meant he liked what he was hearing. But when he rocked back and forth in his chair, it signified nothing!

You have just seen examples of twenty common gestures and postures.

The next time you're in a meeting, be aware of what every person's body language is saying.

More importantly, watch what your body language is telling the world.

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