Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Let Your Body Betray Your Secrets

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Don't Let Your Body Betray Your Secrets

Article excerpt

Thanks to the science of body language, we can't breathe at work without revealing our innermost secrets. So it's vital to learn the language to avoid giving out the wrong signals - and to see what others are really saying. A brilliant new book by management trainer Peter Clayton tells you all you need to know

We think we know what certain pieces of body language mean, but there may sometimes be a more straightforward explanation.

Scratching the nose: could mean lying or disbelief - but often means an itchy nose.

Leaning back in chair: could mean superiority or arrogance - but often means a person is feeling relaxed or tired.

Hands in pockets: could mean secretive, withdrawn, depressed - but often means hands feel cold, or feeling for a coin.

Folded arms: could mean defensive or in need of reassurance - but often means it's cold or the person simply is comfy that way.

Crossed legs: defensive, repressed, possibly hostile - but often means it's simply a comfortable way to sit.

Yawning: may mean someone is bored - but often means they are tired or there is poor air supply.

Spotting a fake Many people puff themselves up to look more important than they really are. A few telltale signs will weed out the upstarts from the genuine big players.

If someone uses too many hand gestures or pulls themselves up to their full height to tower over others-they might be trying too hard to look like the boss. Ask yourself if the person looks relaxed in their upright posture or too stiff.

Peppering speech with business terms is another telltale sign of a faker. If you keep hearing business jargon such as "bottom line" or "risk-to-reward ratio" you may well be listening to a wannabe rather than a manager.

Good impressions Learn how to talk the talk and walk the walk and you'll have people eating out of your hand.

Get their name right, but avoid using it too much in a short space of time as that can be extremely annoying and sound very insincere.

Don't talk too much: avoid gabbling, it makes you sound shallow and suggests a lack of interest in anything the other person might have to say. …

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