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Evaluating Body Language

 

Techniques > Using Body Language > Evaluating Body Language

Language of evaluation | Reasons for evaluation | See also

 

A notable cluster of body movements happens when a person is thinking, judging or making some decision.

Language of evaluation

Hand movements

The classic signal of evaluation is the steepled hands which are clasped together, either looking like they are praying, with both hands pressed together, or with linked fingers and with index fingers only pointing upwards. The fingers pointing upwards may touch the lips.

Another common evaluative movement is stroking, often of the chin but possibly other parts of the face.

Other indicators

Other evaluative signals include pursing lips, stroking the side of the nose and (if worn) peering over the top of spectacles ('To look more carefully at you'). If a person is thinking hard, then their pupils are likely to be dilated.

Relaxed intensity

The body may well be relaxed and open. The person seems to be unafraid or even unaware of danger. However there is also a level of concentration, perhaps with pursed lips and an intense gaze. The chin may be resting in one or both palms.

Reasons for evaluation

There can be several reasons for a ready body language.

Deciding

A person who is evaluating may be making an important decision. If they are buying from you, they may be close to the point of closure.

Judging

In their decision-making, they may be judging. Perhaps this is you, something you are saying or something else. Watch how they change with what you say and try to figure this one out.

Thinking

Sometimes the evaluation is only on an internal point. When they are deep inside their own world, they may be mentally trying out ideas to see if they will work. If you have suggested something, they may be trying to fit your idea into their own model of the world.

See also

Closure principle

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