With a competitive work environment, gone are the days where people would come to us willingly for change. No matter the field, we are always on display to positively promote our product. Not only are we teachers, instructors, or personal trainers, we are also salespersons. Having positive body language will land us more clients and students with positive results. Here is an article on the importance of displaying positive communication to others. It will also help as you navigate through working with others and seeing even indirectly how they feel. Body Language accounts for 55 percent of body communication. Hearing accounts for a mere 11 percent. Words only account for 7 percent of effective communication. Those with disabilities who cannot hear, see, or talk use body language even more because of their limited communication. Because of this we need to have knowledge of body language in order to understand how to effectively communicate with our clients and students as teachers, instructors, and trainers.  Body expressions are essential in conversations.

Posture, vocal tone, and eye contact can deliver subtle messages that reinforce what’s being said to convey consistency and trustworthiness. Tactile communication can help or hinder business interactions. A firm handshake might be interpreted as confidence, while other physical touches, such as a lingering touch on the shoulder, might be seen as invasive of personal space.

Communication can be hindered when nonverbal cues seem to contradict what’s being said. When verbal and nonverbal communication messages act in concert, information is communicated more effectively.

Arms, shoulders, and fingers

When your arms are open, fingers unclenched, and shoulders squarely open, they show honesty and openness.    When fingers are open and free, that shows honesty. Showing your whole hands while crossing your arms shows insecure, restraint, and defensive. Thumbs out only mean superiority and a lack of self- confidence. Crossing your arms even out of nervous habit can be seen as unopen to new ideas or showing aggression.

Someone who is busy doing something with their hands or hiding them in their pockets, or behind their back––or just doing something––is probably hiding something. When hands are not visible or used to do doodling, busy, turned to the back, or hidden, that shows that something is hidden or deceptive. Unless it is understood that is okay to stay occupied with a task, it shows disrespect to another person while they are talking with you. It shows that they are not as important as the task you have on hand. Hands behind the back show hostility. The higher up the arms and elbows are the most hostile the person is toward you. When arms are crossed, it is a way to show deception, aggression, and anger.  Shoulders rounded and arms open show honesty.  Arms that cover vulnerable parts of the body tell us insecurity or something that is needed to be hidden. Bad habits such as texting while talking or multi-tasking without the consent of another can be seen as rude, uncaring, and just plain selfish.

Legs and feet placement

When legs or feet are crossed, that shows aggression, anger, or superiority. It can also be a way to display insecurity. It is better to be in a neutral stance for leg placement. Legs placed outward in a large placement in front of the body convey domination and crouching for space. This stance also discourages free conversation and acceptance from others.

Even though as ladies we are told to cross our legs, it shows being not open to communication; arms crossed as well show more resistance to conversation. Legs entwined while sitting are displayed by timid and shy persons.


People who look directly at you two-thirds of the time show honesty, and you see wrinkles around the eyes as well. If you are answering a question honestly, you will look either up or down the same way to show you are telling the truth. Leaning into a conversation can show interest in what a person is saying.

Emotions that are positive will be reflected by relaxed facial features. Emotions that are negative include facial features that are clenched such as teeth, eyebrows, and mouths. Eye contact is better in positive emotions. When a person is thinking, they will look to the side at times, but if they are hiding something or unsure of themselves, they will constantly look down.

Body Language is essential for us to watch as we approach and deal with others and also when we are working with others. Many times what we do is more meaningful that what we hear or say. When we do a simple assessment and constantly monitor our own emotions, we will appear positive, even if we are stressed or upset, demonstrating a much more positive attitude that will keep or get those clients.

Christina Chapan

Christina Chapan

Christina Lee Steele Chapan is a certified personal trainer with four certifications from ISSA ACE, AFAA and SCW. She specializes with fitness for children and those adults and children with special needs. In addition to attaining her certifications, she is also a certified elementary and special education school teacher with a B.S. in Elementary Education, a minor in Biblical Studies from North Central University, an endorsement in Special Education, and an M.A. in Curriculum and Development from Governors State University. Her passion is for training the future of tomorrow. She is available for training, speaking and writing.
Christina Chapan

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