Body language

By emma


Februar 11, 2020

How important is our body language in our dealings with other people at work?

What do certain gestures mean in your culture and how do they vary across different cultures? In this lesson we explore different hand, face and body gestures and talk about what they mean. We discuss how we can read another person’s body language and how we can adapt our own body language for more successful business communication.

<a href="">Designed by macrovector / Freepik</a>

Language Focus

Different types of body language:

Hand gestures: thumbs up, pointing, hand shake, high five, ok, etc.

Facial expressions: frown, smile, eye roll, eye contact, raising eyebrows etc.

Emotions: happy, sad, annoyed, irritated, frustrated, elated, disappointed etc.

vector credit: <a href=““>Designed by macrovector / Freepik</a>

vector credit: <a href=““>Designed by Freepik</a>

What do these gestures mean in your culture?

What gesture do you use when…

  • you want to say hello to someone?
  • you want to say goodbye to someone?
  • you don’t know something?
  • you want someone to come closer?
  • you want someone to go away?
  • you are angry at someone?
  • you want the waiter to bring the check?
  • you want to get a taxi?
  • you want to show someone is crazy?
  • you want to say, „Peace!“
  • you think something is delicious?
  • you want money?
  • you are talking about drinking alcohol?

Amy Cuddy’s groundbreaking TED talk, “Your body language may shape who you are” hypothesizes that we can change who we are by adapting our own body language. It is one of the most popular TED talks ever with over 57,000,000 views.

“Fake it till you make it”

What does Amy Cuddy mean by this? 

Conversation questions:


How important is body language? 

How close do you stand to someone when you speak to them?

Do you think it is polite to keep eye contact?

Is it okay to point at things? What about people?

Do you „talk with your hands“?

How do you feel when someone smiles a lot? What about if they laugh a lot? Is it common in your country?

How can body language vary between cultures? Talk about cultural differences that you have experienced.

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