Body Language

Businessman clenches his fists

Professional actors are finely tuned to their emotions, enabling them to speak with the movement of a hand.  An effective spokesperson also makes use of body movements to convey appropriate emotion.

The following gestures and expressions are considered positive and convey personal interest and self-confidence:

  • Look people in the eye;
  • Lean slightly forward, if seated;
  • Make hand movements that occur naturally as a supplement to what you are saying;
  • Listen intently to anyone who asks a question;
  • Listen to what other people have to say.

The following gestures and expressions tend to be negative and convey tension and nervousness:

  • Inappropriate smiling, laughter;
  • Tightly clasped hands;
  • Hands gripping sides of chairs, tables, knees;
  • Hands toying with pencils, water glasses, buttons, microphones;
  • Drumming on the tabletop;
  • Tightening and loosening of jaw;
  • A ramrod straight, unnatural posture.

These movements convey impatience and discomfort:

  • Swinging legs;
  • Shifting in chair;
  • Shifting eyes.

These movements convey guilt and disinterest:

  • Casting eyes toward ceiling;
  • Failure to look at the audience;
  • Slouching posture;
  • Closing eyes.


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