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Reading Body Language with Emotional Intelligence

Part of the Emotional Intelligence For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Studies show that your body language communicates up to 50 percent of what you want to say. Paying attention to a person’s body language can help you begin to understand what he or she might really be feeling. Here are some important body-language signs to watch for:

  • Anger: Hands on hips posture or arms folded, pounding heart, sweating and rapid breathing, fists clenched, eyes staring

  • Happy: Relaxed body, smiling, open arms and legs, relaxed and prolonged eye contact

  • Anxious: Restlessness, pounding heart, rapid breathing

  • Interest: Leaning forward

  • Fury: Cold focused stare, loud and rapid speech

  • Sadness: Drooping body, downcast eyes, mouth turned down

  • Surprise: Eyebrows up, wide eyes, mouth open, movement backward

  • Embarrassment: Red or flushed face, looking away from others, avoiding direct eye contact, false smile or grimace

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