Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words

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Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words

By: Lydia Ramsey

Has it ever occurred to you how much you are saying to people even when you are not speaking? Unless you are a master of disguise, you are constantly sending messages about your true thoughts and feelings whether you are using words or not.

Studies show that your words account for only 7% of the message you convey. The remaining 93% is non-verbal. 55% of communication is based on what people see and the other 38% is transmitted through tone of voice. So think about it. In the business setting, people can see what you are not saying. If your body language doesn't match your words, you are wasting your time.

Eye contact is the most obvious way you communicate. When you are looking at the other person, you show interest. When you fail to make eye contact, you give the impression that the other person is of no importance. Maintain eye contact about 60% of the time in order to look interested, but not aggressive.

Facial expression is another form of non-verbal communication. A smile sends a positive message and is appropriate in all but a life and death situation. Smiling adds warmth and an aura of confidence. Others will be more receptive if you remember to check your expression.

Your mouth gives clues, too, and not just when you are speaking. Mouth movements, such as pursing your lips or twisting them to one side, can indicate that you are thinking about what you are hearing or that you are holding something back.

The position of your head speaks to people. Keeping your head straight, which is not the same as keeping your head on straight, will make you appear self-assured and authoritative. People will take you seriously. If you want to come across as friendly and open, tilt your head to one side.

Where you place your arms suggests how receptive you. Arms crossed or folded over your chest say that you have shut other people out and have no interest in them or what they are saying. This position can also say, "I don't agree with you." You might just be cold, but unless you shiver at the same time, the person in front of you may get the wrong message.

How you use your arms can help or hurt your image as well. Waving them about may show enthusiasm to some, but others see this gesture as one of uncertainty and immaturity. The best place for your arms is by your side. You will look confident and relaxed. If this is hard for you, do what you always do when you want to get better at something-practice. After a while, it will feel natural.

The angle of your body gives an indication to others about what's going through your head. Leaning in says, "Tell me more." Leaning away signals you've heard enough. Adding a nod of your head is another way to affirm that you are listening.

Posture is just as important as your grandmother always said it was. Sit or stand erect if you want to be seen as alert and enthusiastic. When you slump in your chair or lean on the wall, you look tired. No one wants to do business with someone who has no energy.

Control your hands by paying attention to where they are. In the business world, particularly when you deal with people from other cultures, your hands need to be seen. That would mean you should keep them out of your pockets and you should resist the urge to put them under the table or behind your back. Having your hands anywhere above the neck, fidgeting with your hair or rubbing your face, is unprofessional.

Legs talk, too. A lot of movement indicates nervousness. How and where you cross them tells others how you feel. The preferred positions for the polished professional are feet flat on the floor or legs crossed at the ankles. The least professional and most offensive position is resting one leg or ankle on top of your other knee. Some people call this the "Figure Four." It can make you look arrogant.

The distance you keep from others is crucial if you want to establish good rapport. Standing too close or "in someone's face" will mark you as pushy. Positioning yourself too far away will make you seem standoffish. Neither is what you want so find the happy medium. Most importantly, do what makes the other person feel comfortable. If the person with whom you are speaking keeps backing away from you, stop. Either that person needs space or you need a breath mint.

You may not be aware of what you are saying with your body, but others will get the message. Make sure it's the one you want to send.

About The Author

Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette expert, professional speaker, corporate trainer and author of MANNERS THAT SELL - ADDING THE POLISH THAT BUILDS PROFITS. She has been quoted or featured in The Wall Street Journal, Investors' Business Daily, Cosmopolitan and Woman's Day. For more information about her programs, products and services, e-mail her at or visit her web site:


Mouthy 02.04.2012. 00:03

Men, how do you act when you are emotionally attached to a woman? I know the obvious answers like marriage proposals, phone calls and whatnot. Actions speak louder than words so I am looking for how a man ACTS when there is an emotional attachment and he might be holding back. Please just helpful advice or a list of body language cues.


Admin 02.04.2012. 00:03

When he's holding back? Man, that's tough. They all act like they don't care. The only way you can tell if he's really holding back as opposed to really not caring is to be busy with other crap that doesn't include him. You'll find out within a week.

Sorry, I'm not a guy, but I've had more than my share of male housemates over the years who felt I was one of the guys so acted naturally in front of me.


Sarah 13.04.2010. 20:36

Does body language really speak louder than words? I know that this guy likes and respects me as a friend, but he's never crossed the line of friendship. (Although sometimes he flirts when he's been drinking... but that might just be the liquor talking). The thing is, his body language makes it seem like he likes me, IF those theories about body language are true. For example, every time I walk past him, he unconsciously turns his whole body so that it's facing mine; his feet are always pointed in my direction, he tends to gravitate toward me, etc. So... do you think this means anything?


Admin 13.04.2010. 20:36

Have you ever heard the old saying a drunk man tells no tells. meaning when someone is drunk they always says whats on their mind. Maybe he likes you & you just havent noticed. Yes it is true body language speaks louder than words. So maybe he is signaling that he likes you.


katie 01.06.2012. 03:08

What are some body language signs that a guy shows if he likes you? I believe in that saying "actions speak louder than words." So, what are some signs that a guy would do if he is into you? Thanks!


katie 01.06.2012. 03:09

What are some body language signs that a guy shows if he likes you? I believe in that saying "actions speak louder than words." So, what are some signs that a guy would do if he is into you? Thanks!


Admin 01.06.2012. 03:09

He may try to frequently be close with you. Lean more towards you then with others, he may also lightly graze you frequently, and look into your eyes intently, while talking.


Sarah 13.04.2010. 16:55

Does body language really speak louder than words? I like this guy a lot, but as far as I know he only sees me as a friend, because he has a girlfriend. He's really friendly to me and respects me, but has never said or done anything to cross the line. The thing is, his body language says otherwise. For example, every time I walk past him, he unconsciously turns his whole body in my direction, points his feet toward me, moves closer, etc. Do you think that those theories about guys' body language are accurate... or is this just a coincidence?


Admin 13.04.2010. 16:55

He may just feel really positively about you. Enjoys your company and conversation, thinks you're really smart and pretty, but he's got a girlfriend, so he's just friends with you. Be his friend. Talk, joke, DO NOT flirt. If it doesn't work with this girl he won't think it's your fault. If you are friends with this girl you don't want it to be your fault if they split. But if they do, then he may be a bit more interested in you as girlfriend material. After all, he's gotten to know you, so he'll know if you're his type. Right? Right!


Justin 27.01.2009. 20:19

Tips on body language when making a speech? I have a speech next week in one of my classes, I need to make the speech while using body language. Any tips on making it easier?


Admin 27.01.2009. 20:19

gestures with your hands are always appealing to the listeners. walking back and forth gets the audience a bit more excited and adds energy.
don't slouch on anything if there is anything to do so.
don't stand with your feet super close together, yet not too far apart.
when using words such as super, and giant and amazing make sure to do gestures with your hands.
when you say "good" or great!" do a thumbs up.
or if you say "hello" goodbye, or are talking about something that is around you, point to it, point to your hair if you say hair, etc.

just remember that actions speak louder than words.

Body Language: 55 %
Voice: 27%
Words Used/Info: 18%

Note that the above is what the STUDENTS and occasional listeners will probably most find interesting, definitely NOT the judges as the would look for interesting info, probably first and have body language and info about the same, and voice a bit lower in percent (for the judges that is).

Use this site below that I found for you:

don't mind any of the wedding speech stuff unless it really is reffereing to something that would only happen for weddings.

maybe watch a coupe of barack obama speeches or some motivational speekers (any video where they arent standing infront of a microphone box, on a stool, etc)

here are some youtube videos that will help:

(dont mind what they are talking about just keep watching his hands)

look at this video is amazing too:


ashley 02.01.2009. 23:25

What is the "study of how actions tell what a person is thinking without saying words"? I dont know if that really made any sense. but im trying to find out if out there in psychology there's a study of how human actions are linked to what they're thinking. or what kind of person they are, like the saying "actions speak louder than words"
whats the name of that kind of study and where can i find more information about it.


Admin 02.01.2009. 23:25

It's the study of body language, which is called Kinesics. It is an inexact science with many variables, much like sociology and paranormal psychology.


Zaikai2008 08.01.2013. 23:41

How to know if a guy likes you more than just as a friend? When we met at a party the first time, his actions indicated that he was attracted to me. I added him on Facebook, responding that he was glad i found him. After communicating for a while we eventually met (not as a date but in a group). He asked when he could meet me again and I texted him setting a date and time. We have known each other for 6 months and have met several times every week alone to just talk.
After a while I told him I have feelings for him but said that he likes me too, but just as a friend. I told him I can't be his friend but said that he didn't understand why and that he still wants to communicate. Telling me that I can't just throw him away like that. I also asked him if he's only spending time with me not to hurt my feelings. He said of coarse he doesn't want to hurt my feelings, he likes my personality and doesn't have a reason to why he likes spending time with me.
I have always been the one to initiate conversation,and have always texted him. He's shy and English isn't his first language. I've been helping him with his English. When we meet his body language speaks louder than his words. He stares at me, sits close to me, copies things i i say, likes what i like, etc.
He's 30, I'm 22. But he doesn't live here and we are both of different race and cultures.
I really like him, he seems to like me. I don't know what his intentions are, and i'm wondering if i should be patient with him to open up when he's ready.
so what should i do?
I've never dated before,
and never liked someone this much.


Admin 08.01.2013. 23:41

How to know if a guy likes you more than just as a friend? ---> He will make it KNOWN to you. You will not mistake it; he will do so by PURSUING you.

Also, you should always let men come to you; never the other way around. (Let them pursue you.) What if a guy is only into say, asian girls, but you arent asian? .... see? Thats why you always let them come to YOU. Good luck.


Tatem 01.10.2012. 01:03

Do you think its rude to go to a party where everyone is english speaking and then start speaking ..? In your native tongue to a relitive at the dinner table and also during the social time standing there with in the group. I think they were talking and laughing about the hostess mostly because of some of their body language when they were doing it. They both speak english perfectly with no struggles on finding the right words.


Admin 01.10.2012. 01:03

yes its very fucking rude. and I hate that.

its shows you have no respect for thier language or the patrons at the party and you could care less about them or what they think.

no offence but I hate it when people start talking loudly in spanish right in front of me and I have no idea what they are saying, then they smile when they see me act offended.

obviously you want a private conversation so leave outside to talk in secret.
its like a rude black woman on the bus talking loud on the cell phone.


lifeisnow_ornot 20.02.2011. 21:31

How is the wedding like if parents of both side cant speak to each other because of language difference? Our family all speak English and my sister will marry with a guy who is from Korea. He speaks fluent English and Korean but his parents can not, they can only speak Korean. The couple really love each other. I just wonder if it is alright if both parents can't speak to each other? Would it be kind of missing something? Will the marriage be successful? Thanks so much!


Admin 20.02.2011. 21:31

a marriage is for the 2 getting married. obviously your sister has been able to get along with his parents.
more than likely when the parents are together there will be someone there to interpret.
have you ever been around a deaf person? of course they can communicate. body language, hand gestures. and smiles talk sometimes louder than words.
don't worry about it. they will manage. love will conquer all.


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