Avoiding eye contact = shy, worried, lying
Crinkling nose = disgust
Deadpan face (without any expression) = emotionless or hiding feelings
Direct eye contact = confidence
Eyes staring into the distance = dreamy, not concentrating
Pressing lips together (tight lipped) = annoyed, angry
Raised eye brows = doubtful, disbelieving
International Problems with Body Language
Nodding head = In some countries, it means “yes” but in other countries it means “no”. Likewise, a shaking head means “no” in some countries but “yes” in others.
Silence = In the West, this can be negative and be a problem between people. However, in other countries, such as China or Japan, it can be a sign of agreement or femininity.
Personal space = In countries, such as England, people should stand a respectful distance from each other but in other countries, such as Spain, people touch each other when talking. In Japan, the person space is often bigger between people than in England. Respectful space between people changes depending on countries.
Eye Contact = In the West, this is a sign of confidence and is important when listening actively to someone. On the other hand, there are countries where this might be a sign of aggression and confrontation.
Practice Using Body Language Vocabulary
1. I had no idea what she was talking about. Then suddenly she asked a question that I couldn’t understand so I just ………….. my shoulders and walked away.
2. My boss always tells tall stories. Yesterday he came to work with another unbelievable story but the only response I could give was to ……….. my eyebrows.
3. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s being late. Once I was in a really long meeting at work and by the time we finished I was late to meet my friend. During the meeting, I could feel myself getting impatient and my foot started ……………. on the floor.
4. I can’t stand watching films at the cinema because you can’t relax like you can in private, particularly when watching an action movie full of surprises and shocks. When there is a really sudden unexpected scene, my eyes ………. and my mouth ……… open which I find really embarrassing in public.
5. I remember once I was late for an appointment. When I arrived, which was over 1 hour late, I …………. deep red and stammered an apology.
Using vocabulary in IELTS
Q) In what way is body language a form of communication?
A) Well, people use body language to send a message or to indicate something so it is definitely a way to communicate. For example, when people raise their eyebrows, it often means they are incredulous or disbelieving and when they tap their foot on the floor, you know they are impatient. So, using facial expressions and physical actions can communicate things to other people.
Q) Do you think it is possible to misunderstand someone’s body language?
A) Yes, definitely. When someone avoids your eye, it is possible to think that they are avoiding your question and don’t want to talk to you. But really, it might be that they are just shy. So, it’s quite easy to grasp the wrong meaning in people’s actions.
Q) Describe a time you were late for an appointment.
A) I remember, about one month ago, organising to meet someone in the town center at 9pm. Unfortunately, I was delayed because of traffic and didn’t arrive until about 9.30pm. My friend was really mad. She had her arms crossed and was tapping her foot impatiently on the ground. I was so embarrassed and blushed a lot. I stammered my apology but felt really uncomfortable because she was staring at me with angry eyes. Anyway, we sorted out our differences and have been really good friends ever since.