The Basics of Body Language

Body language plays an important part in conversation – here are the basics required for making a confident and relaxed impression.

The Handshake

When meeting someone you don’t know very well or when two men are meeting Benjamin advises shaking hands. A good handshake is firm and doesn’t have too many wiggles.

Body Posture in Interaction

We also need to pay attention to the angle of our bodies while we are communicating with others. The best body posture to use depends on how well you know someone and the context. As a general rule, it is intimidating to stand very close making full eye contact. As Benjamin says, looking at someone straight on can have the ‘teacher and pupil’ effect, which isn’t good for open and relaxed conversation.

Closed Body Language

Crossing arms or legs is a comfortable body posture for many people yet they may not realise that it gives off an unfriendly ‘barrier message’ to other people.


When having a conversation it can be distracting to play with your hair or jewellery and may seem as if you are not interested. It’s a good idea to train yourself to hold an open and relaxed body posture.

Eye Contact

To avoid eye contact will suggest that you lack confidence. Eye contact is important, however, if you’re thinking about it too much it may be unnatural – relax and occasionally glance at the other person.

About Jade Joddle Jade Joddle is a speech and voice teacher who gives her non-native speaker clients back the confidence they had in their native language. She teaches high-level professionals to Speak Well in English so that they thrive and succeed.