Do You Speak Body Language?

What Is Body Language?

Body language is the unspoken or non-verbal mode of communication that we use in every single aspect of our interactions with another person. If you listen closely, it tells you what the other person thinks and feels in response to your words or actions. Body language involves gestures, mannerisms, and other physical signs.

Did you know that 60% to 80% of the messages that you convey to other people are transmitted through your body language? Verbal communication accounts for only 7% to 10% of your communication! The ability to read other people’s minds through their body language–and to use body language in a positive way—separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls.

 How Do We Use Body Language?

Actions speak louder than words, and body language is the literal translation of that old saying. Take this quick quiz to see how adept you are at listening to what a body is really telling you.
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What do these physical signs mean? Match the physical movement to the letter that represents the intent or meaning attached to it. One physical sign may have more than one meaning. A key is included at the end of this article.

  1. Head inclines forward signifies:
  2. Hands placed behind the back signifies:
  3. Palm under chin, one or two fingers pointed up signifies:
  4. Legs spread while sitting signifies:
  5. Rubbing back of neck signifies:
  6. Hands on hips, legs spread apart while standing signifies:
  7. Eyes opening wider signifies:
  8. Palm under chin, staring blankly signifies:
  9. Rubbing palms together signifies:
  10. Clenched fists signifies:
  11. Tapping hands or feet signifies:
  12. Biting nails signifies:

That the person is:

A. Bored
B. Angry
C. Interested
D. Insecure
E. Receptive
F. Going to take action
G. Dominant
H. Thinking, probably judging
I. Thinking, probably worried
J. Frustrated
K. Nervous
L. Excited

Body language is just one of the many aspects of emotional intelligence that Shawn helps teams understand in order to teach them communicate well and work together more harmoniously. For more information about this and other training Shawn can provide for your team, visit our speaking page, where you can download Shawn’s catalog of topics and watch a video of him in action.

(Image in this article courtesy of graur razvan ionut at


Key to Body Language Quiz

  1. C
  2. I
  3. H
  4. E or G
  5. J
  6. F
  7. C
  8. A
  9. L
  10. B
  11. B or K
  12. D