Are you a mind-reader? Maybe you are. Body language tells you a lot more than you imagine. Here I describe 4 ways to tell if someone’s interested in what you’re saying.
Perhaps you’re aware of these signals already, but you’re not sure what they mean. So, how can you be more confident in interpreting body language? Read on to find out.
1. They Face Towards You With Their Body Too.
A face-to-face conversation is just that. If someone is looking at you, but their body is turned towards the door, they want to leave. This doesn’t necessarily mean they dislike what you’re saying, but at that moment – they don’t want to listen to it.
It’s important at times like these to pick up this signal and let them go. Say something like, ‘I’ll let you get on now, it was nice seeing you’. This helps ease the situation and makes it less uncomfortable. You don’t want to get a reputation as someone who can’t take a hint!
2. They Make Appropriate Facial Expressions
If you’re telling them something funny, they’ll smile; surprising, they’ll raise their eyebrows, etc. In fact, they may also mirror your body language as you talk. So, for example, if you lean your head on your hand, they may do the same. Our facial expressions represent the emotions we feel, so mimicking the person we are talking to helps us feel what they feel.
The next time you’re in a busy place, like a café or bar, have a look at the people having conversations around you. Often a couple in conversation, who are clearly getting on, will both have their hands or legs in similar positions. Mirroring is a good sign that the people involved in that conversation are ‘in sync’.
3. Their Feet Will Point Towards You
We often neglect the feet when we talk about body language. This is a mistake, however, as the feet are more likely to be telling the truth!
Either standing or sitting, their feet should be facing your direction, just as their whole body should be. If they have crossed their legs, again, their knees should be turned towards you.
Clearly, though, if a person has both arms and legs crossed, this is not a good sign. It usually means they are feeling defensive or angry and it would suggest they don’t want to listen at all.
In this situation it can help if you ask them to hold something for you. This makes them uncross their arms and encourages more open communication on their part.
4. They Maintain Eye Contact
Staring into someone’s eyes can be uncomfortable if it feels too intense. However, studies have shown that eye-gazing is linked to feelings of attraction. If the person you are talking to keeps your gaze, they are definitely showing interest in what you are saying.
Alternatively, if someone is constantly looking over your shoulder, or at their watch, they are clearly not focussed on you and what you’re saying. Are they using a mobile phone during the conversation? This is not only a distraction, it’s also rude. You can’t provide appropriate facial expressions or comments either, so this is quite an obvious signal of disinterest.
So, Check It Out
In your next conversation, see how many of these signals you pick up from the person you’re talking to. Of course, by using these signals yourself, you’ll be a much more attentive (and so more attractive?) conversationalist! The Science of People can provide a lot more detail on attraction and body language.
If you want to learn more about body language and how to improve your communication skills, have a look at my Presentation and Communication Workshop. Ideal for young people who want to make friends in new surroundings.