Learning Body Language Etiquette / Skills
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Learning Body Language Etiquette / Skills

The field of study which involves interpretation of Body Language such as facial expression and gestures is called Kinesics. Knowledge of reading and understanding Body Language is an asset for all of us as it gives us an insight into the way people communicate through their non-verbal gestures. Knowledge of interpreting the body language of the people with whom we communicate adds value to our professional skills.

Knowledge of " How to Interpret the Body Language of others"turns out to be handy in two ways:

  • Understanding the body language of people with whom you are dealing
  • Using your own body language in the right way for success in business and personal space

Understanding someone's body language is a highly beneficial skill for Sales Executives who have to deal with different clients every day. In order to understand whether the client will be a prospective one or not they have to read and understand the way their client is behaving during the sales call. This saves a lot of time because a smart sales executive will understand their client's body language very fast and they will not waste their precious time following up with someone who is not interested. This helps the sales executive to make the right sales pitch.


The sales executive has to understand the way his client is reacting to his or her presentation. Selling a visible product is still easy because you have something to show to the customer but selling a concept requires advanced selling skills as a sales person would have to frame a picture for an invisible product and make it seem visible to the client. While making a presentation any Sales Executive should be on the lookout for the following body language signals in the client:

  • · Ensure that he is making a direct eye contact with you during the presentation
  • · Whether he is coming up with reasonable queries during the presentation
  • · Is he attentive during the presentation ( he should not be busy with his mobile or laptop)
  • · Has he given you a particular day / time when you can call him up for a follow-up
  • · Has he asked for the product features in detail

"Selling smartly is more important than selling aggressively" as it saves a lot of time and energy.

Along with understanding the body language of others we should also learn some body language techniques for ourselves for making an impactful first impression. A sales executive should know that any client would form a positive or negative image about his company depending on the impression made by him because for the client he is the face of the company.

Techniques for creating a positive first impression ( As given in the book" Questions are the Answers" by Allan Pease)

  •  Palm Power: There are three main palm gestures: Palm- Up, Palm- Down and the Palm- closed-finger-pointed position. Palm- Up is a non- threatening gesture, Palm- Down communicates immediate authority and the Palm-closed -finger -pointed communicates aggressive behaviour. While making a presentation a combination of palm-up and palm-down positions should be used to create a relaxed atmosphere.


  • The Handshake: There are two rules for creating rapport in a handshake - first, hold the palms straight- not dominant or submissive, but equal. This makes everyone feel comfortable and is non- threatening. Second, give the same grip pressure you receive.


  • The Handshake to Avoid: Avoid greeting new people with a Double- Hander. While its objective would be to convey feelings of warmth, welcome and trust, it has the complete opposite effect on the receiver. They perceive the giver to be insincere, less trustworthy or to have ulterior motives.


  • Left hand holding: Try holding papers, folders, purses and drinks in your left hand so that your right hand is free for shaking hands, opening doors, move a chair etc. This will save you the trouble of shifting everything you are holding in your right hand to the left hand when you are required to do so.
  • Smile: Smiling is great for your business and personal relationships as it shows others you are not a threat to them.
  • Dress for Success: Use a professional dress code.
  • Territorial Respect: Respect people by not entering into their personal space during a conversation.

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Comments (4)

Great article Neha - lots of very useful information. I once asked a body language expert "What happens if a person is left handed?" (as I am). He could only tell me that certain body language signs that involve left or right would be misinterpreted as "the opposite". This is a fascinating subject, but like a lot of things, it doesn't work 100% if there is some type of impediment or different situation.

Thanks, Susan.

Very interesting and informative, Neha.

Thanks Graciela.