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How to Read Bodies

Crossing Your Arms

Don’t be too quick to leap to conclusions: This pose doesn’t always mean anger, but when coupled with crossed legs, it is a defensive position. Take note of the surroundings. More often than not, this stance means a person is cold. Also, many people simply find it comfortable, says Cunningham.

The way you tread speaks volumes about how others see you. Fast strutters come across as productive and competent, looking as if they have somewhere important to be. Those with a “bounce in their step” are perceived as having upbeat personalities. For a purposeful stride, walk from heel to toe. (Interestingly, most men land on their heels; most women, mid-arch.)


When in doubt, spread out. Taking up space, such as by fanning out your papers in the boardroom instead of stacking them in a small pile, screams importance. Likewise, sitting with your legs apart assures others that you are large and in charge. (Photo: Peter Hapak)

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