Body language gives us away


“The first impression is everything you do and say in the first 30 seconds.” “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” “A simple gesture means more than a hundred words.” “Body language reveals our unconscious motivations.”

You must have heard this and many similar phrases by now. What is known is that in reality, we communicate by revealing our attitudes and behaviors, emotions, ideas and personality, verbally or nonverbally.

There are some misconceptions about this in the business world. While some people think that all talk about body language is full of terms and unnecessary, they argue that it is enough to listen carefully to what a person is saying in order to understand them. Conversely, some believe that the other person’s looks, footsteps, and personal gestures tell more than their words or actions. According to these optimists, the dark subconscious is revealed by turning rings, playing with hair, and frequently repeated movements during communication.

We mostly use our language to convey our ideas and wishes and to communicate with others. But as creatures with emotions such as passion, anxiety, and fear, we also want to show our feelings. We consciously transmit and perceive nonverbal messages. Nonverbal cues we use in communication can help us understand verbal ones.

When people fold or spread their arms across the chest, it may be because they are cold, have their arms full, or feel too comfortable. So just because these people want to defend themselves doesn’t mean they’re preoccupied or feeling insecure.

What do the elements of “body language” tell us?

Looks: Glances are determined by the distance between us and people, for example, if we are standing too close, we try not to look at each other. At the same time, the gaze gains variety with the subject of the conversation. The level of relationship between us and the people we communicate with and, of course, personality traits are also effective in looks. For example, introverts make less eye contact.

Face expressions: Facial expression is personal and determines our communication style. Raising the eyebrows, blushing, turning the mouth downwards and many other movements create a certain effect and impression on the person or people we are in contact with. The smile is perhaps the most notable facial expression, but it is easily imitated.

Hand, arm, head movements and gestures: We use a lot of hand, arm, and head movements when speaking and expressing ourselves. We use gestures when we wait for time to pass, when we are in a hurry, when we disagree during a conversation, and more.

Almost every move we make in this group has a meaning. For example, clenching a fist is a sign of strength, while touching oneself (such as touching the mouth or nose, scratching) can be a sign of anxiety if excessive. If there is a lot of gestures, hand and arm movements in general, this indicates that the person has limited vocabulary or is from a Mediterranean country.

Body posture: The angle we choose to stand or sit according to the person in front of us is very important. In the business world, the posture of the body can have many meanings such as putting someone in the center, inclusion or exclusion from the group.

Clothes: The way we dress is a mirror of our taste, wealth, values ​​or social group. Most business consultants try to help people dress well for a more impactful impression. Badges, cufflinks, brand labels and all kinds of accessories and materials used are reflections of who we are or who we want to be.

Smell: People use soaps, shampoos, deodorants, perfumes, and mouth fresheners to mask their natural odor. However, the actual smell of the body gives clues about people’s diet, health and whether they are worried at the moment. Scientists have become more aware of the importance of smell in communication.

Listening, Evaluation, Criticism Gestures


Even those who have no idea about body language think about something about the person they’re shaking hands with. The way of shaking hands is one of the foremost ways of revealing the personality of people.

Three messages dominate the way people shake hands with each other: Superiority, Equality, and Submission.

In a study, it was revealed that the majority of successful senior executives were the ones who started the handshake process and also shook hands with their palms facing down.

direction of the palm

Palm facing down does not mean squeezing the other person’s hand completely horizontally. A handshake that indicates superiority means that the palm is slightly turned towards the ground compared to the other person. When shaking hands, palm facing slightly upwards means accepting the superiority of the other person.

A safe and balanced handshake is achieved with the hands upright and the palms fully clasped together. Both people make their presence felt to the other person.

Our behavior affects our inner world…

The most important benefit of recognizing the way people use their center and basic body posture is not only evaluating the people around them correctly. Being aware of these characteristics creates very fundamental changes in one’s own life.

People often think that they are behaving as they see fit. However, recent research has revealed that people feel the way they act rather than acting the way they feel.

A bored person has a frown, sullen face, low shoulders and a closed center. We all experience boredom frequently, for no reason. However, we do not think that we are bored because we frown, frown, and drop our shoulders and close our centre. Whatever behavior a person externalizes, after a while, he begins to experience emotions in that direction due to the changes in body chemistry. Pretending to be a distressed person only increases his inner distress.

Our culture’s negative attitude towards laughing continues not only in childhood and youth, but also in adulthood: “We laughed a lot, we will cry.” Words such as “We laughed so much, something bad will happen to us” are examples of warnings in this direction. People who grew up in Turkish culture cannot benefit from the positive effects that laughter will have on one’s own life or the positive results it will bring from interpersonal relations, as they generally believe that anyone who laughs for no reason will be called insane.

However, in three of the mental health problems that are popularly called “madness”, the biggest characteristics of the patients are their sullenness or expressionlessness. Since these patients do not laugh at all, it is expected that the phrase among the people would be “crazy whoever frowns for no reason”. However, since our traditional culture does not tolerate laughter, it has been selective and has chosen to curb the joy of life that can possibly bloom in people, by looking at only a small minority of patients and saying “the one who laughs for no reason is crazy”.

The conclusion to be drawn from all this is as follows; human behavior changes body chemistry. If you feel distressed and weak, check your posture and the way you use your center.


It is a known fact that the people who have to lie the most in business life are secretaries. This is because we communicate with others specifically on behalf of our manager. We always act as a bridge between our manager and other employees, between our manager and other managers, between our manager and people in his private life, between our manager and his manager.

Our managers indicate the people they do not want to meet and step aside, the rest is up to us. In addition, taking care of and organizing guests who come unannounced and without an appointment…

The most common is when we take on a fault of our manager. An article he forgot to give us is overdue. The general manager throws the ball to us so that he doesn’t get angry, “You haven’t written yet?” He says, We say something like “I’m sorry, I’m writing now” instead of saying “You didn’t give me the text”. However, we have not even seen the article.

In such cases, if we can control our body language, we will make the other person trust us and we will do our job much better. More importantly, if we solve lying with body language, we can easily understand whether the other person is lying to us or not.

Can you lie with body language?

The answer to this question is; will be “no” due to the lack of harmony that will arise between the main movements, the microsigns of the body and the spoken words. For example, open palms show honesty, but even if the other person opens their palms and smiles at you while lying, their micro gestures give it away. His pupils may constrict or the corner of his mouth may twitch, which contrasts with an open palm gesture and a hearty smile. As a result, the other person tends to not believe what is being said.

More often than anywhere else on the body, we use our face to cover up lies. While we use smiles, nods, and winks to cover up, unfortunately our body signals tell the truth here too, and a mismatch arises between our facial markings and our bodily movements.

The difficulty with lying is that our subconscious mind works automatically, acting independently of our verbal lie, and our body language gives us away. This is why people who seldom lie, no matter how convincing, are easily caught. People who have to lie frequently because of their job can refine their actions in two ways.

First; they can practice with moves that they feel are right when lying. It is only after a very long time and practice with countless lies that they can succeed. The second is; They can eliminate most gestures in such a way that they use no positive or negative gestures while lying, but this is also very difficult.

Body language in job interviews

One of the important points regarding the use of body language is where we apply for a job.

During job interviews, we feel like we are on the opponent’s court. This is because we feel nervous in an unfamiliar environment. Because it’s like an arena for us. We try to win against the matador in front of us.

So what should we do in this arena?
First of all, you need to know the institution you will apply for a job, its strategies, mission and products. It is believed that a person who does not know the company for which he is applying for a job will adapt to the company culture late.

You should go with a stylish but understated outfit that is very suitable for the interview, and if possible, with a team. It would be appropriate for women to wear a suit, but an outfit in harmony with a skirt (not mini), jacket, shirt can also be quite appropriate.

Your shoes should be mud free and painted.

Gentlemen should go with shaved and clean scents, ladies should go with light make-up and use a light perfume that is also not heavy.

Do not be late for an interview, even if it is 5 minutes. One of the important criteria of the interview is the ability to use time. Now businesses invest in personnel who use their time appropriately and effectively. You don’t want to score badly on timing by being late in the first minute, do you? Being late not only earns you negative points, but also makes you gasp for that interview and disrupts the harmony of your speech. This makes it difficult for you to express yourself. Traffic conditions, weather conditions, the distance from your home to work, the hours that don’t ring, etc… nobody cares anymore. Take advantage of the computer, internet age and check the weather and road conditions in advance. If you need to wake up early and you don’t trust your watch, leave a wake-up call to Telekom’s automatic wake-up service, but don’t make excuses (unless you have a very serious reason).

It would be good for you to be at the meeting place 10 minutes before, ideally 5 minutes before and analyze the environment. Observe the people around you without disturbing them, and if your situation is appropriate, have conversations to get information about the institution from the floor secretary.

Having a briefcase and agenda or, best of all, a technical agenda such as PALM during the interview gives you a lot. When you open your bag, it is useful not to have a messy appearance as if there is a state archive inside. You may need to take notes in your interview; In that respect, use your calendar or palm effectively.
Be sure to accept the tea and coffee offered to you and act in the comfort of being a part of that environment.

Begin the interview by greeting the other person in a sympathetic manner. Smiling earns you points.

It is a good idea to go to the interview early and make a short summary of the first image you received in the environment and state that it was a pleasant impression. Your handshake should not be lame or overpowering. Your handshake should be cordial. Too light style reveals your insecurity, too hard style complex. During your interview, look into the eyes of the other person without disturbing them.

If there is a chance to determine your seating area (some businesses have meeting rooms), be careful not to let your back come to the gap (door, window, etc.). Having an empty back can make you feel empty, or looking back at every opened door can create an uncomfortable scene. Do not sit too tight in your seat during the conversation. Show your confidence by bowing, sometimes demanding, and sometimes straightening, depending on how the conversation is going. The identity of the institution you will meet with and the position of the person you will meet play an important role in whether you cross your legs or not. The best thing to do is to take a comfortable sitting position without crossing your legs.

The course of the meeting is mainly determined by the person who organizes the meeting. If you think you know something about the institution and you are sure that your information is correct, you can show it as one of the reasons why you chose it. If you are going to change jobs, never disparage the organization you are leaving or will be leaving. This is unprofessional behavior. The reason for your choice may be your career, living in a different corporate identity, heading for a different business line, choosing a place close to your home (Sometimes, this may lead to another question: “If we move from where we are currently working as an institution, would you leave us as well? ?” as.

Don’t let your lack of salary be a reason. Of course, we work for money, to improve ourselves, to achieve a better standard of living, but it would not be right to show this as a monetary preference. During the negotiations, it is considered very offensive to say the financial reasons and make a money sign with your hand. (It’s not even nice to do this as a joke.) The reason why many people fail in job interviews, “How much salary do you think?”

Man’s Self Contact

The contact with one’s own body gives comfort to the person in situations where tension is experienced. A person is aware of this when he comes into contact with another person. However, people are mostly unaware of their behavior while touching themselves.

People who are given confidence by being caressed by their parents when they are faced with difficulties or situations that cause anxiety in their childhood, seek this assurance in their adulthood as well. For this reason, in every situation that creates tension and does not feel safe, one’s own hands come to the aid of people.

Examining the hundreds of behaviors that people come into contact with the most and relieve their tension, it is seen that the seven gestures listed below are mostly repeated.

1- Leaning on the chin
2- Stroking the hair
3- Leaning on the cheek
4- Touching the mouth
5- Leaning on the joke
6- Putting the hands in the pockets
7- Hugging the body with arms

These gestures, which aim to relieve the inner tension by touching one’s own body, are made by both women and men. However, stroking the hair and wrapping the arms around the body are more feminine gestures, while leaning against the temple and putting the hands in the pockets are more masculine gestures.

Crossing one’s arms is a symbolic expression of protecting the heart, one of the two most sensitive points. There have been many important changes in human behavior since the cave age, and protecting the heart has lost the meaning and importance of that day. However, in the modern age, people cross their arms when they experience a stressful situation and do not feel emotionally secure.

Arm clasping is also the fulfillment of the need for a hug that a person expects from his/her parents. In some situations where the need for trust increases, the person tries to meet it by embracing himself fully. In this case, the increased inner tension turns into relaxation with the ease of self-contact.

One of the safest ways of contacting yourself in the community and limiting relationships with the outside world, especially for men, is to put hands in pockets. In all situations in which a person is pleasant and distressed, whether alone or in a community, he puts his hands in his pockets, minimizes his relations with his environment and withdraws into his own emotional world.

Crossing one’s legs, running the hands over the face or body, or clasping the hands in various ways, all provide the contact and, therefore, the feeling of trust that a person needs. Taking the hand to the forehead, stomach and heart is an important sign.

When a person is astonished at something, his hand goes to his forehead. The contact of the fingertips to the forehead is to recall a lost or needed idea. This gesture is also seen in those who want to focus their attention intensely.

Covering the mouth with the hand is another expression of one’s amazement. Thus, the person wants to stop his reaction, which will put him in a difficult situation during his bewilderment.

The fingers trying to widen the space between the shirt or the neck shows that the person needs more air and space, in other words, he is in a difficult situation.

Playing with the earlobe stems from the desire to focus attention.

Stroking the neck and the hair on the nape is a narcissistic gesture that aims to meet the need for love in a troubled situation.

It’s up to you to change your body language

You know how important your looks, your posture, in short, your body language, are as important as your words in your business life. However, your actions do not express you enough. You are self-confident, but you have a shy demeanor. You’re smart, but your eyes don’t tell it. We present the suggestions of Allan Pease, the author of the book “Body Language”, to those who say how to change their body language.


Take 15 Minutes a Day

Take at least fifteen minutes a day to be consciously aware of your own movements as well as to study and read the movements of others.

Observe in Crowds

Ideal places to do this type of reading were places where people came together and interacted. Airports, for example, are a particularly good place to study the full range of human movements, as people here express them openly with their waiting, anger, gestures. Social events, business meetings and parties are also perfect.

Use Television as an Educational Tool

Watching television is also an excellent way to learn nonverbal communication. Turn the volume down and try to figure out what’s going on just by looking at the images first. You can check how accurate your non-verbal readings are by turning up the volume every five minutes. Before long, you’ll be able to watch an entire program in silence and understand what’s going on.

Test Yourself

After practicing the art of body language, you can go to a party and spend the whole evening sitting in a flowerpot-like corner and have a great time watching people’s body language rituals!

When communicating with a person, are words more effective than actions? Did you know that 7-10 percent of words and 30-38% of tone of voice are effective in one-to-one communication, and the effect of body language can reach up to 55-60 percent?

Why body language?

1. Achieving our purpose by making a positive impact on others.
2. To communicate effectively by understanding others better.
3. To adapt to social environments more quickly by controlling our own body movements.
4. Understanding what others really want to say.

Sometimes an action is worth a thousand words. The more important what we say when we communicate with a person, the more important the impression we leave on that person with our actions. Hand, arm movements, facial expressions, touching, body position… A person who wants to be successful in business life should not only hear what the people with whom he communicates say, but also what they do with his face, hand, arm and body.

It is the first minutes that matter in communication.

The first minutes between two people meeting is an important determinant of the communication process. The most important factor creating this effect is the body language of the person encountered. We can expand these factors to the words used and from all the accessories that the person carries to the objects in the environment. The decision can be positive or negative; “I don’t like the way you look”, “I don’t like the way you look”….

Learn your body language first to understand what other people really want to say

Communication is not just an exchange of information.

The way of giving information, the expression of words in the body (a smiling face) is a second important point in our evaluation of communication.

Being informed and comprehending in communication is not understanding. The main purpose of communication is to comprehend by understanding. You understand what the other person wants, but you cannot understand what he or she is going through.

When the total effect of a message is examined, it has been revealed that 7-10% words, 30-38% tone of voice and 55-60% body language are effective in the one-to-one communication of individuals.

We can also see body language as a message we receive when we watch a silent movie or turn off the TV. Body language is as important as the words used in communication. Behaviors and gestures often form the basis of communication. It reveals the true content and meaning of what we say. These are movements that support thoughts and feelings and embody them.

+ Our gestures and gestures such as straightening hair, shaking the head, closing the arms during the chat; Indicates that we have a message programmed to deliver, or that we are preparing to deliver it.

The various expressions our faces take reveal our excitement, joy, startle, embarrassment, disgust, anger or fear.

Many body movements, from the way we shake hands to our standing or sitting positions, are indicators that reveal our mental states, goals and desires.

eye reading skill

We are comfortable talking to some people, uncomfortable talking to others, and even find them unreliable. It actually has to do with the amount of time they look at us or respond to our gazes while speaking. By deciphering the language of glances, you can understand the other party more easily and keep your own behavior under control.


If someone is dishonest or hiding something, their gaze will meet ours less than a third of the total time.


If your gaze meets the other person’s gaze for more than two-thirds of the total time, it means one of the following: the first finds you very interesting or attractive; secondly, he has an aggressive attitude towards you.


In addition, if his pupils are also constricting, he may be presenting a nonverbal challenge.


To build a good relationship with another person, you need to meet their eyes 60-70 percent of the time.

language of eye movements

Eyes… Eyes don’t lie… Eyes can’t lie!… Since they are the focal point of the body and the pupils move independently, your eyes give the most descriptive and accurate information among all human communication signs.

Throughout history, we have dealt with the eye and its effects on human behavior. We’ve all used expressions such as ‘she smashed him with her eyes’, ‘she has big baby eyes’, ‘she keeps looking away’, ‘she has such inviting eyes’, ‘she had such a twinkle in her eye’ or ‘she looked at me with her worst look’. When we use such expressions, we are unconsciously talking about the size of a person’s pupils and their gaze-related behaviors.


The pupils constrict or enlarge as certain light situations, mood and attitude of the person change from positive to negative or from negative to positive. An excited person’s pupils can quadruple. On the contrary, an angry, negative mood causes their pupils to contract into what are known as ‘tiny beady eyes’ or ‘snake eyes’.

Flirting and Pupils

Eyes are used a lot during flirting. Women wear eye makeup to accentuate their eyes. If a woman loves a man, she will dilate her pupils while looking at him, and the man will unknowingly interpret this information correctly. This is why romantic dates take place in dim places that cause dilated pupils.

Young lovers looking into each other’s eyes unconsciously look to see if their pupils dilate. Each is excited by the dilation of the other’s pupils.

Children and Pupils

Babies and children have larger pupils than adults, and their pupils are constantly dilated in an effort to constantly attract their attention by appearing as attractive to them as possible in the presence of adults.

Gamblers and Pupils

Experiments with expert card players showed that players won fewer hands when their opponents wore dark glasses. For example, if an opponent gets four aces in a poker game, the expert will unconsciously notice the rapid dilation of his pupils and feel that he should not raise the game in this hand. Competitors wearing dark glasses eliminated pupil markings, resulting in experts winning fewer hands.

Trade and Eyeballs

Pupil tracking is used by ancient Chinese jewelry dealers who monitor the pupil dilation of buyers during price negotiations.

There’s an old saying, ‘look into their eyes when talking to someone, and don’t look into their pupils when negotiating’. Try to understand the real feelings of the other person from the eyeballs by doing the ‘eyeballing exercise’.


A region is an area or space that a person adopts as an extension of his own body. Each of us has a fenced home, car interior, bedroom or chair. How do people react when this space around the body is interfered with?

Personal Space

Most animals have a certain space around their body that they claim as their personal space. The size of this space is basically related to how cramped the area in which the animal grows. The gap in the territory of a lion bred in remote parts of Africa may have a diameter of fifty kilometers or more, depending on the density of the lion population in that area. On the other hand, the personal space of a lion raised in captivity may be only a few meters in size as a natural result of cramped conditions.

Like other animals, man has a portable ‘AIR BUBBLE’ that he carries with him, and the size of this bubble is related to the population density in the region where it grows. This personal zone distance, then, is culturally determined. Some cultures, such as the Japanese, are accustomed to crowds, while others are accustomed to ‘wide open spaces’ and like to keep their distance.

Zone distances

1 Intimate Zone

Since people adopt this region as their own property, the most important one among all regions is the “private region”. Only those who are emotionally close to the person are allowed to enter this zone. There is also a sub-zone within the intimate zone, which can only be entered during physical contact and is 15 cm away from the body. This is also the intimate zone.

2 Personal Zones

This zone is the distance between us and others at cocktails, office parties, social events and friend gatherings.

3 Social Zones

It is the distance between us and strangers, for example the plumber or joiner who does repairs in our house, the postman, the grocer, the new employee at work and people we do not know very well.

4 Common Regions

When we address a large group, the distance we share is common territory.

Practical application of zone distances

Normally, someone else enters our privacy for the following two reasons. The first is a close relative or friend, or trying to approach us sexually. The second is that the other person is aggressive and is about to attack us. Although we rely on strangers entering our personal and social areas, the entry of a stranger into our privacy causes physiological changes in our body. The heart pumps blood faster, adrenaline intensifies, and more blood goes to the brain and muscles in preparation for a possible ‘flight or attack’ situation.

Concerts, cinema, elevators, crowded trains or buses make it inevitable to enter other people’s private areas. Western cultures have a set of unwritten rules that people strictly follow in crowded environments such as a cramped elevator or public transport.

* You should not talk to anyone, including someone you know.
* You should never make eye contact with others.
* You must wear a ‘poker face’, not show your emotions.
* If you have a book or newspaper, you must appear buried in it.
* The larger the crowd, the less you can move.
* You have to watch the floor numbers above your head in elevators.

Especially since women have an eye that notices small details, they are thought to have a talent we call female intuition. However, what gives them this is the ability to pay attention to and pay attention to small details, and as a result, the ability to catch non-verbal behaviors and interpret them better. This is why most men fail to lie to their wives without getting caught.
The power of perception is more pronounced, especially in women who have raised children. Because in the first few years of the baby’s life, the mother has to establish more non-verbal communication with her child. Many scientists attribute the intuition-perception power of women to be stronger than men to this basic event.

When a teacher with a strong perceptual ability is lecturing in the classroom, when he sees a student’s head down and crossing his arms, he feels that he cannot reach him. On the other hand, a teacher with weak perception skills continues to teach without being interested in anything.


According to the researches, some of our rights are innate and genetic, and some of them are movements related to our learned culture. Babies have the ability to suck as soon as they are born. Or, a facial movement such as laughing in a person who is deaf and mute by birth is neither learned later nor is it based on imitation.

Most of our nonverbal gestures are learned later, and many of them mean the same thing all over the world.

Nodding: means “yes” all over the world, it’s confirmation.

Shaking the head: means “no”, it’s rejection.

Open palms, slightly hunched shoulders, raised eyebrows and shrug: means “I don’t know” and is used to show that you are not aware of what is being said or that you are not interested.

1. “The Language of the Body” Zuhal and Acar Baltaş
2. “Body Language in Communication” Nikolay Sorokin
3. “The Body Language” Alan Pizza
4-Other Articles of Fulya İler
5-Body Language -Baltaş & Baltaş
6-Cindy Klinger, Phsikology Today

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