As I said in Reading Body Language of Eyes and Reading Body Language of the Mouth, reading body language is by no means an exact science, and I am no expert. However having read a few books etc on the subject, I’d like to share some of the more common info with you, to hopefully help you identify your own body language.

Please remember however that one signal does not reliably indicate a meaning, clusters of signals more reliably indicate meaning. And please do not use body language alone when making decisions about people as you must always take into account the persons mood, their understanding of the situation as well as their motive.

Today it’s all about the head!

The head tends to lead and determine general body direction, but it is also where our brain is, so the head is used a lot in body language that indicated likes or dislikes, as well as in our more defensive body language too.

Our head comprises of lots of sub part, which together mean the head sends out lots powerful body language signals. When we then add in our hand gestures too, our head is capable of sending even more conscious or subconscious messages.

Nodding

233-head_tiltWe nod our head when asked for a response, or voluntarily while listening, in both cases, to signal agreement with the person who is speaking.

Nodding Slowly

This can indicate either that you are listening intently, or it can indicate faked agreement – check what the person’s eyes are focused on to try to determine which meaning the nodding has. It must, like all body language signals, must be used in conjunction with other signals.

Nodding Quickly

This often indicates impatience, a desire for the speaker to hurry up, or can indicate a complete agreement with the speaker.

High Head Position

Indicates superiority, fearlessness or arrogance.

Head Tilted To One Side

A signal of interest, and/or vulnerability, which in turn suggests a level of trust

shame-body-languageHead Tilted Downwards

When a person tilts their head downwards towards a person it commonly signs criticism or disapproval, usually from a  position of authority.

Head Forward Upright

When the head is forward in the direction of a person, it indicates interest.

Shaking Head

Sideways shaking of the head generally indicates disagreement, but can also signal feelings of disbelief, frustration   or exasperation

Head Down In Response To Speaker

This is generally a signal that you are rejecting the speaker’s ideas or comments. When done in response to criticism it is a signal of failure, vulnerability, or feeling ashamed.

Chin up

Holding the chin up naturally alters the angle of the head backwards, exposing the neck, which is a signal of strength, resilience, pride, resistance.

 

How many of the above signs are you aware that you do? Why not make your next meeting more interesting by seeing how many of the above head related body language “signals” you can recognise your colleagues doing…but don’t tell them beforehand, or they’ll all become very self-conscious!

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