Dominant and submissive gestures are polar opposites, both by definition, and in terms of the body language that is used to indicate it. For example, appearing larger by throwing an arm over the back of the chair and spreading the legs opened is dominant whereas appearing smaller by pulling the limbs inward or hunching the back is submissive. This phenomenon is a good rule of thumb so keep it in mind while reading this chapter and the people around you.

In this chapter we will cover an encyclopedia of signs and signals that display status. By the end you will see how dominance and submissiveness are a common theme in people. So much of what people do is as a direct consequence of an unevenly divided resource base and how we all fit into society’s hierarchy. Dominance and the body language that showcases it, is how we decide who has rights over whom without resorting to physical conflict. Naturally, this chapter also provides methods by which status can be artificially raised simply by employing suitable body language.

In this chapter we will cover, amongst many others, how our environment can be manipulated to gain the advantage such as the status achieved by the judge in his highchair, how relaxed body postures can show dominance, how the head talks even when our mouths are not moving, how the chair straddler is a coward, how women will appear easy if they spread their legs whereas men will appear more masculine, how tilting far back in the chair is dangerous and not just because you might fall, how having the hands on the hips means more than disapproval and how military men leave their bodies exposed to attack on purpose.