The Tiny Book of Body Language The Tiny Book of Body Language
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The Body Language Of The Head: Headshake, Head Nod, Head Lowered, Head Tilt, Head On and Head Back
Head down means judgement.

Head down means judgement.

The positions of the head tells us a lot about what feelings are present and readily leaks information to others. Head language is similar to facial expressions since it can convey a large amount of information extremely quickly. Heads can shake, nod, bobble, be lowered, tilt, duck, or dropped back each having its own meaning. As we shall see, head language can tells us that someone is negative on a matter, neutral or in actively in thought.

Headshake For Negative Thoughts: The head shake signifies a negative thought indicator. It’s as if the person can’t get past an idea. The head shake is different from the typical “no type gesture” in that the head is tilted from side-to-side instead of being pivoted back and forth used to signify “no” in various cultures by adults. We should be skeptical if the head shake is given while voicing specifically agreeable language such as “You make a good point.” or “That sounds like a great idea.” These words, accompanied by the head shake, negates whatever positive words were voiced. It tells us that they were either trying to pull a fast one on us, or just trying to appease us.

Head Nod: The head nod in western cultures says agreement. In other cultures such as in Bulgaria and Sri Lanka it means disagreement. The nod used as a greeting, performed as a quick drop of the head, may stem from an abbreviated head bow. Lowering the body signifies a submissive posture, and so too does agreement. In Japan the head nod usually signals to the speaker that they are being heard and doesn’t necessarily indicate agreement. Thus, head nods are particularly specific to cultures so caution is important.

Head Lowered Judgment: The head down shows a judgment or negative internal emotion. As with any head motion it is important to examine the adjoining clusters of body language to determine its true origins. For example, adding arm crossed to head down would signify that there was negativity present. Bending the head down but looking up means agreement, confirmation, or even shame.

Head tilt shows interest.

Head tilt shows interest.

Head Tilted Interest: The head tilted at forty-five degrees from the center line of the body indicates interest and intrigue. The degree of tilt indicates the degree of interest. Slight tilt equals moderate interest whereas a full tilt indicates full immersion. It says “I am receptive, comfortable, and friendly.” The head tilt is one of the very significant and prominent postures that everyone should be aware of, especially educators of any kind. A professor for example, can gauge his efficacy as an instructor by the degree to which his audience tilts their head.

Head On: The head straight means passive listening.

Head Back And Peering Over Glasses: This head position prompts phrases such as “She looked down her nose at him in disapproval.” It is the classic eye-glass wearing domineering teacher or librarian look – staring the verbose down. The gesture can be done simply by looking down the bridge of the nose. The posture elicits a prey response in others as if a predator is peering down on them. Looking down the nose is indicative of someone that is condescending or pushy and is an authoritarian posture but is also a gravity defying body language so shows confidence. It’s where the phrase “Keep your chin up” comes from when we wish others to frame their outlook in a more constructive light.

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