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Body Language Basics

From a flip of the hair to hands on your hips, how you move, gesture, and make expressions can say as much as what comes out of your mouth.

Body Language ABCs continued...

The "limp fish" handshake, Wood explains, seems so uncomfortable because it usually means that the palms don't touch, as Rose experienced in her interview.

Here are other handshake types:

  • Bone crusher: A person may be insecure and trying to overcompensate with an over-the-top hello.
  • Palm-down handshake: A person may be trying to express his dominance.
  • A left-handed wrap of the handshake from the top: A person may be trying to express his dominance.
  • A left-handed wrap of the handshake from underneath: A person may be trying to support and comfort you.

Synchrony. Synchrony happens when two people who are interacting mirror body language cues, explains Buck. What can it mean?

"Synchrony is a signal that both people are on the same page," says Buck. "When you see someone copying your body language, or you notice that you are copying his, it's a clue that you are probably sharing a similar mind-set at the time."

Posture. "Posture can be sign of dominance or submissiveness," says Buck.

Shoulders back with an erect posture can be a sign of dominance, he explains, while being slumped can mean insecurity, guilt, or a feeling of shame.

Eye contact. "While the rules of eye-contact engagement vary from culture to culture, in the U.S., it can mean honesty and forthrightness," says Buck.

The eyes are a powerful part of our body language cues and can express everything from sexual interest, to annoyance, to happiness and pain, he explains.

Playing with your hair. When a woman cups her hand, palm out, and tucks her hair behind her ear, it can be an expression of flirting, and can mean openness and interest, explains Wood. But be careful: It can also mean her hair is in her eyes.

Using Body Language to Your Advantage

"If you want to better manage your own body language, you need to think about every aspect of your day and how you behave," says Wood.

While you might think you are friendly person, if you go straight to your office and avoid eye contact with anyone, it can send the wrong signals to your co-workers, she explains.

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