Understanding body language means holding the keys to clear communication. Modern managers learn the secrets of communication in special training seminars. But knowing what they know might as well help you in your career: you’ll know how to control your emotions and lead an interview (even a job interview) or you’ll know the real intentions of a dialogue partner.
So today I am going to talk about a simple gesture: arm-cross. This is when you fold your arms over your abdomen, generally hiding your hands under your upper arms. Some people hide just one hand, others simply cross their arms and touch their biceps muscles with their fingers or their palms. No matter how you look at it, this is a self-comforting posture used mostly unconsciously to alleviate nervous tension.
In special situations this position might also suggest self-importance or disagreement. The signs are clear: straight back, raised elbows pointing out plus a general self-sufficient attitude.
- Women often cross their arms in front of men they don’t like and in not so easy to handle situations – that’s pretty simple to read.
- Men rarely cross their arms in a self-preservation pose. They do cross their arms to show (mostly involuntary) self-confidence and arrogance.
These are just general examples. Both men and women might show similar reactions is special situations.
Useless to tell you that the crossed arms posture is a no-no when you go to a job interview, when you talk to an employee, and especially when you talk to the press. All these situations might be nerve-wracking, but it is important that you don’t let your body send out negative messages. It is also pretty important that you don’t allow negative non-verbal signs put you off.
If you search for arm-cross online you are going to find enough pictures and almost no pertinent information. I hope this entry is clear enough and I am waiting for your questions and feedback.
Book Review: Communicate Clearly by Robert Heller
A nice little pocketbook, easy to use, with a lot of basic information that will help you learn enough about successful communication. It has less than 80 pages so you could really read it on your way to your next job interview. Although the chapter on Body Language is quite short, it has enough basic information to help you strengthen your non-verbal communication skills. This is one of the books I often recommend to my clients because it is easy to read and even easier to understand.