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                                     Body Talks

Some experts say only thirty percent of communication comes from talking.
Your gestures and other non-verbal actions have a meaning too. 
But in different cultures, the same action can have different meanings.
Letís look at shaking hands. North Americans like a firm handshake. 
But the French prefer a light short handshake. 
If you shake a French personís hand the North American way he or she may not like it.
People in Eastern European countries and some Latino cultures prefer shorter handshakes too.
Hugging after shaking hands is also a common introduction there. 
Donít be surprised if a Brazilian gives you a hug. 
If you misinterpret gestures of introduction, your friendship or business relationship may be in danger

Everyone around the world knows the ďOKĒ hand gesture, right?
But in Spain, parts of South America and Eastern Europe the ďOKĒ sign is considered an insult.
And if you go shopping in Japan, it means youíd like your change in coins instead of bills.
In France, making the ďOKĒ sign means ďzeroĒ or that something is worthless.
So check before you use the ďOKĒ sign to be sure itís really OK.

In many countries this gesture means: Ē SilenceĒ 

There are many gestures we do every day without noticing what we are saying trough them.
†Here are some examples:

             Don't do this            or this 

1. Donít cross your arms or legs Ė You have probably already heard you shouldnít cross your arms 
as it might make you seem defensive or guarded. This goes for your legs too. Keep your arms and legs open.

2. Have eye contact, but donít stare Ė If there are several people you are talking to, give them all 
some eye contact to create a better connection and see if they are listening.
Keeping too much eye-contact might disturb people .
Giving no eye-contact might make you seem insecure. 
If you are not used to keeping eye-contact it might feel a little hard or scary in the beginning
but keep working on it and youíll get used to it.

3. Donít be afraid to take up some space Ė Taking up space by for example sitting or standing
 with your legs apart a bit signals self-confidence and that you are comfortable in your own skin.

4. Relax your shoulders Ė When you feel tense itís easily winds up as tension in your shoulders.
They might move up and forward a bit. Try to relax. Try to loosen up by shaking the shoulders
a bit and move them back slightly.

5. Nod when they are talking Ė nod once in a while to signal that you are listening. 
But donít overdo it and peck like Woody Woodpecker.

6. Donít slouch, sit up straight Ė but in a relaxed way, not in a too tense manner.

7. Lean, but not too much Ė If you want to show that you are interested in what someone is saying,
 lean toward the person talking. If you want to show that youíre confident in yourself and relaxed lean back a bit.But donít lean in too much or you might seem needy and desperate for some approval.
Or lean back too much or you might seem arrogant and distant.

8. Smile and laugh Ė lighten up, donít take yourself too seriously. Relax a bit, smile and laugh when someone says something funny. People will be a lot more inclined to listen to you if you seem to be a positive person. But donít be the first to laugh at your own jokes, it makes you seem nervous and needy.  Smile when you are introduced to someone but donít keep a smile plastered on your face, youíll seem insincere.

9. Donít touch your face Ė it might make you seem nervous and can be distracting for the listeners
 or the people in the conversation.

10. Keep you head up - Donít keep your eyes on the ground, it might make you seem insecure and a bit lost.  Keep your head up straight and your eyes towards the horizon.

11. Slow down a bit Ė this goes for many things. Walking slower not only makes you seem more calm and confident,  it will also make you feel less stressed. If someone addresses you, donít snap youíre neck in their direction,  turn it a bit more slowly instead.

12. Donít fidget (obs:1) Ė try to avoid, phase out or transform fidgety movement and nervous ticks such as
 shaking your leg or tapping your fingers against the table rapidly. Youíll seem nervous and fidgeting can be  a distracting when you try to get something across. Try to relax, slow down and focus your movements.

13. Use your hands more confidently Ė instead of fidgeting with your hands and scratching your face use them  to communicate what you are trying to say. Use your hands to describe something or to add weight to a point you are trying to make. But donít use them to much or it might become distracting. 
And donít let your hands flail(obs:2) around, use them with some control.

14. Donít stand too close Ėone of the things we learned from Seinfeld is that everybody gets weirded out by a close-talker.  Let people have their personal space, donít invade it.

15. Mirror - Often when you get along with a person, when the two of you get a good connection, 
you will start to mirror each other unconsciously. That means that you mirror the other personís body language a bit.  To make the connection better you can try a bit of proactive mirroring.
If he leans forward, you might lean forward. If she holds her hands on her thighs, you might do the same.But donít react instantly and donít mirror every change in body language. Then weirdness will ensue.

16. Keep a good attitude Ė last but not least, keep a positive, open and relaxed attitude.
 How you feel will come through in your body language and can make a major difference.

OBS:1 - Fidget = ficar irriquieto, mexer-se de modo irriquieto ou mexer no rosto,nos cabelos, com uma caneta nas m„os...
Pronuncia-se "FIDJET"
OBS:2 - Flail = debater-se, malhar,flagelar (correr pelo ar como um chicote)