Commonly Observed Gestures During a Conversation

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Although hardly do we notice some of the behavioral patterns shown by people around us, but it is worth noticing that the higher the socio-political stature of a particular person, the lesser is his usage of gestures and more refined is their selection of appropriate gestures for a particular scenario

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With the aid of this example we can clearly see that with the increase in age, a person’s gestures also get refined. E.g., if a child tells a lie, he immediately covers his/her mouth with one or both the palms. In the same situation, a teenager could be observed to be touching his lips or mouth region lightly with his finger.

But when an adult is faced with a similar situation, he being a seasoned campaigner will show a bare minimum gesture of touching his nose lightly, something which we would hardly ever notice.

Yet, some people will tell outright lies, and you will not notice unless the person is observed closely, while his/her words are thoroughly paid attention to. For example, a sociopath, psychopath, or pathological liar will not use body language to let you know he or she is telling a lie.

Mouth covered by hand or palm:

Very often, people try to cover their lie by making certain gestures like covering their mouths partially with their palm while the thumb is kept pressed against one of the cheeks. This kind of gesture denotes that the speaker is flatly lying or is trying to hide something. But if the listener makes the same gesture, then it means that the listener has no trust in the speaker and is not ready to buy his story.

mouth covered by hand

Nose Touching:

This is just a more sophisticated replacement for the above-mentioned gesture. While making this gesture, some people rub below their nose, since it’s more effective than the above because it’s not much evident.

Rubbing the Eyes:

While speaking in public or in a private gathering if you notice that someone is rubbing his/her eyes and avoiding making any kind of eye contact, then it is quite a possibility that he/she is lying. This gesture is generally employed to avoid the eyes of a person to whom one is telling a lie.

Collar Pulling:

Some people unconsciously pull their collar when they tell a lie. In doing so they suspect that they have been caught. This gesture also indicates a person’s anger or frustration. In such a case this person simply pulls his collar to let some cool air inside to make himself feel a bit relaxed.

There are several other indications that a listener may give when he begins to get bored, like supporting his head on his arm or palms, putting his head down on the table while listening, etc.

There are certain gestures that a listener makes at what time he is interested in a conversation. If two people are sitting across a table or a speaker is giving a lecture, and the listener is sitting watching intently with a closed hand resting on his/her cheek and the index finger pointing upwards, then it is a clear signal of the fact that the listener is very much interested in continuing the conversation.

But one must be cautious to note that when the index finger points vertically upwards and the thumb are supporting the chin, it could mean that the listener does not agree with the speaker’s point of view. If at this point of time, the listener begins rubbing his chin with his thumb and index finger then it means that he is making a decision.

Eye Signals:

Eyes are considered as one of the most important and delicate organs of the human body. They are described based on the color of eyeballs, size of the eye, etc. and work from receptors. At what time we describe a person’s eyes we are generally talking about the person’s pupils or gazing behaviors. Our pupils dilate and contract according to different light conditions, which changes in mood.

In order to absorb more light, our pupils dilate in dim lights and contract in bright lights. In addition, at what time we are happy our pupils dilate, and when we are angry, our pupils contract sharply. In India, eyes are called kajal, which in our language means (cleaned carbon black). This is cosmetic, so to speak that is employed as a make-up for eyes by women to emphasize their eye display while going for courtship.

Commonly Observed Gestures During a Conversation

An old saying goes ‘Look a person in the eye when you talk to him’. Really eyes can say a lot about a person and his mood. Since long traders, businessmen, politicians, gamblers and even prostitutes have been using eye contact to reap benefits. And the only way to hide your emotions from others is by wearing sunglasses. Yet, while a person is wearing sunglasses you can still see more inside the person if you look closely.

Types of eye signals:

Eye signals can be of various types like the ‘business gaze’, ‘social gaze’, ‘intimate gaze’. But not only does your type of gaze but also the length of time for which you keep looking at a person matters a lot in eye to eye communications. While I must caution you that long gazes can put a person at ease as well as maybe tell him that you are not in a good mood. Those who steal gaze or do not look into the other person’s eyes while conversing may be untrustworthy.

Before going into any kind of details of different types ‘gaze’ I would like to discuss a little about ‘Pease’s Triangle’. Pease is one of the most famous scholars in the field of understanding body language.

According to him, an imaginary triangle can be formed on everybody’s forehead by joining the two pupils and the point between the two eyebrows. While talking if you keep your gaze directed at the Pease’s triangle, you can create a serious atmosphere and the person can easily sense that you mean business. This type of gaze is called as ‘business gaze’.

If your gaze drops below this level, a kind of social atmosphere is created, and more relaxed conversations can be made. This type of gaze is called ‘social gaze.’

When the gaze falls even lower than this level, say to the neck or chest or legs then it can be called as ‘intimate gaze.’ This type of gaze is used to show interest in the other person. Of course, this type of gaze is used for courtship between a male and a female. It seems all gazes have a name.

Apart from this sideways glance can also be used to communicate feelings. A sideways glance with raised eyebrows and a smile can be termed as friendly while a sideways glance with furrowed eyebrows and a wicked smile can most often express the opposite.

Disinterest can be expressed by closing the eyes for a couple of seconds while talking and laying your head backward.

Well, I hope this will help you analyze a person’s gaze much better in the future and also to communicate your feelings through your eyes. While you’re here read this awesome article on how to reduce nervousness.

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