Understanding the body language of people around you enables you to read into their minds and emotional states, which leads to better communication overall.
In many cases, body language can reveal more information than words can express.
This can apply to both work and personal relationships.
A word of caution, interpretation of body language is not a science, more like art. There is no way that you can be 100% sure of what a gesture means, so use the below information as a general guideline only.
1. Crossed Arms
Indicates a state of unwelcoming or blocking when someone is not interested in having a conversation. Could also mean a state of self-calming when someone is worried or anxious.
2. Avoiding eye contact
If someone sitting in front of you tries to avoid eye contact, it probably indicates that they are not confident, ashamed, or feel anxious.
3. Interlaced fingers
Indicates that the person across you feels troubled or worried.
4. Hands on hips
Exerting authority. When someone puts their hands on their hips, it usually indicates that they somehow feel superior to you.
5. Crossed legs
Crossed legs are usually a sign of resistance in situations where people feel threatened.
6. Rubbing legs with hands
People usually do that when they are trying to calm themselves. The repetitive linear motion acts as a soothing mechanism in stressful situations.
7. Clearing the throat
The person is not comfortable answering the question especially if they are hiding something.
8. Rolling eyes
Indicates contempt. The person across you is angry or at least not impressed.
9. Starring and exaggerated direct eye contact
Someone is trying to lie and they are looking at you to see if you are into them. It can also indicate an intimidation attempt.
10. Taking glasses off during a meeting
"Oh god, what a disaster" or "Let me try to understand this".
11. Looking at the watch
Someone wants to leave. This one is fairly obvious and understandable by almost everyone.
When someone steeples it means that they are very confident.
13. Standing with hands crossed in front
This indicates the person lacks confidence.
14. Rubbing nose or touching the face excessively
This possibly means that the person in front of you is hiding something.
15. A smile with no wrinkles around the eyes
Indicates a fake smile. Real smiles wrinkle the eyes.
16. Excessive blinking
This means that the person is distressed, feels discomfort, or trying to hide something.
17. Biting the lips
Such gestures are involuntary and serve the purpose of self-soothing in stressful situations.
18. Raised eyebrows
More often than not, raised eyebrows mean that the person feels discomfort. It can also mean that they probably don't believe or think that you are wrong about something.
19. Tapping (Pen or Fingers)
Shows a state of impatience or that they are very nervous about something.