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 Spokesperson & Media Personality 




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Body Language Expert

Speaker, Author, Consultant, 

Tonya Reiman

Holiday Tips for family get-togethers and office parties:
Whether you are traveling or hosting this season, prime yourself to offer an inclusive, warm, welcoming disposition. This season, with everyone you encounter, engage with them as if you are hosting the experience. Heading into 2020, your job is to make others feel comfortable in their own skin as well as welcome and at ease with you. Approaching every engagement this way will create a positive impact which will benefit all. Remember, orient your body towards others, hold appropriate (not stalker staring) eye contact, smile, nod as others speak, occasionally tilt your head to demonstrate interest and, most importantly, remember the golden rule – no matter how many people are in the venue, when you are speaking to individuals, LISTEN to them and offer them the impression that they are the only ones in the room with you. 

Eyebrows Knit:
 When both eyebrows are drawn together, causing a furrow in the middle, it indicates acute anxiety, fear, anger or a combination of these emotions. How can you tell the difference? In anger, although the the inner corners are the brows are brought together, the brow is also lowered giving an intense look to the eyes. In fear and anxiety, you might notice horizontal lines in the forehead and would notice additional white in the eyes.

The Shoulder Shrug:
The shoulder shrug is generally a sign of doubt, relinquishment, uncertainty, sarcasm and submissiveness. Of course, each definition will depend on the accompanying signals. For example: Often, when you are apologizing, you will raise your shoulders and tuck your neck down while opening your hands wide, palms facing upward. This is an unconscious attempt to make yourself appear smaller and vulnerable and therefore more likely to be forgiven. 

Pupil Dilation:

To start off with pupil dilation can indicate liking, interest, attraction or intense fear. (we'll leave out intense fear for another segment). 

Our pupils dilate and grow when we see someone we are attracted to. Why? Because our eyes enlarge to take more of this person in. This is an unconscious occurrence which we cannot physiologically control. The fun part about this is you are able to tell if someone is interested in you by observing their pupils - do they expand or contract? Contracting would not be good as it indicates intense dislike. Of course, you need to take the environment into account as well. If you are standing in the sun it may be difficult for the physiological response of pupil dilation to occur. On the flip side, if you are standing in a dark area, pupils will automatically contract, even if there is no liking involved. In addition, remember that some people will have larger or smaller pupils by nature. 

Dark restaurants induce romance because the dim lights encourage the larger pupils making people more attracted to one another.

The fun part about this is that most people do not consciously understand pupil response so you are now one up on a great deal of the population. 

Studies done indicate as pupil size increases so does attractiveness. For example: models on magazine covers normally have their pupils doctored to give them larger pupils because advertisers know this sells more magazines. Likewise, if pupils appear smaller, it decreases the attractiveness.

Interesting tidbit: During the middle ages, women often used a plant extract called Belladonna (Italian for "beautiful lady") To give themselves bigger pupils. They would put drops of the extract into their eyes in order to look more attractive to men - and it worked. The problem was Belladonna was poisonous so the women used Belladonna to look beautiful�.. and they did�.. and then they would die. 

Ok, so important points to keep in mind, dilation works in an "unconscious" fashion. Individuals with enlarged pupils are subconsciously seen as attractive, warm, friendly, conscientious people. 

Hand on Chin:
Hmmmm. I am considering what you are saying. This gesture, where you place your hand beneath the mouth, cheek or chin is a spontaneous and comfortable position when an individual is evaluating, considering and analyzing. When they are feeling negative about their analyzation they will usually place a thumb under the chin with the index finger resting straight up along the cheek. If the index finger crosses straight up along the lips, you may read this as a negative or skeptical gesture. 

The Neck Scratch:

The neck scratch when done with the index finger of the dominant hand, can be indicative of doubt or uncertainty. Usually, you will notice this accompanies a head tilt and a scratch on the side of the neck, just below the earlobe. This might become more apparent when someone is being incongruent with their verbals and nonverbals.

The leg twine: 

It is know that most men consider this the most delicious sitting position for a woman. This position gives off several signals about a woman�s sexuality and she uses this position to unconsciously invite a man to notice the muscle tone of her legs. The leg twine is done by pressing one leg strongly against the other giving it a very taut appearance. Sometimes, a woman with place her hand on her thigh giving a clear invitation for attention.

Hand grasping wrist behind the back: 

This gesture is interesting because it looks very similar to the confident gesture of hand holding hand (or palm holding palm) behind the back. However, the message is completely different. When an individual clutches his wrist behind the back he is unconsciously communicating frustration. This position is generally done when an individual needs to restrain themselves in anger. Usually it is a sign that they are holding back their own hand from striking out against someone or something. If your conversant begins to do this, you can assume they are not happy in some way with the information you are communicating to them.


We tend to blink more when we become nervous or excited because eyelid movements reflect bodily arousal levels. The typical person blinks anywhere from 12-20 blinks per minute but that can go to 4-5 times that figure when we feel pressured. You can read a lot about a person�s thoughts if you know their natural blink rate. You can determine if they are anxious or perhaps being somewhat deceptive. (When we lie we feel pressure to answer a question which speeds up your thought process - thus speeding up the blink rate). Begin to note average blink rates - it becomes quite obvious once you know what you are looking for. For example, during Neurological exam: of the debates with Bob Dole, President Clinton blinked an average of 99 times per minute (imagine blinking more than 1 � times per second) and when he was asked about teen drug use, his blink rate maxed out at 117 blinks per minute. WOW! It was extremely noticeable from his normal 20 blinks per minute. If you look for it, you will begin to notice it. 


Touching the lips can be a sensuous gesture evoking thoughts of intense desire. Of course, it may also be an indication of surprise, nervousness, shame, embarrassment or anticipation. Often, it can be a strong signal of deception. Why? Typically when people fib, they subconsciously feel guilty about it and literally try to "cover it up". Interestingly enough, the body doesn�t lie and instead leaks information about the deception by bringing the hand up to the mouth to cover it.

Is he attracted to you? This tip is directed to women who have a hard time determining if a man is attracted to them. Most of the time, our gestures and expressions are done unconsciously, we do not even realize we are making the expressions we make. As a matter of fact, unless you are outwardly looking for these signs on your conversant�s face, you will likely pick them up on a subconscious level and never fully realize why you feel the "gut reaction" you feel. So, onward and upward - 

When he is attracted to you you will notice the eyebrow flash, the quick 1/5 second rising and falling gesture we perform is done to either acknowledge recognition or send out an attraction signal. He might begin to smooth out his clothes, put his hand through his hair, adjust his tie (preening) which is a subconscious measure of looking his best for you. Perhaps you notice he puts his thumbs in his belt loop. Most men are very forthright with their attraction. Often, they will blatantly show you their attempt to visually explore your body by browsing your most erogenous parts (of course, this was done the moment he laid eyes on you - however, now he wants you to know he is doing it). There are several other cues to look for such as: does he touch his face, stroke his chin, broaden his chest? Are his toes pointed in your direction? These are all strong signals of attraction. Don�t let these subtle movements get by you. Remember, its about AWARENESS!

Is she attracted to you?  This tip is more directed to men who have a hard time determining if a woman is attracted to them. Here is the telltale sign. After you have made the initial eye contact with a woman you are attracted to, keep your eyes on her a few seconds after she has looked away (BTW, the one who keeps eye contact the longest, is usually the more confident of the pair - quite often, it is the male), If you notice her starting to fidget or becoming jittery, is she begins to preen herself, she is into you. Is she adjusting or smoothing out her clothes, fixing/patting/primping her hair, does she look up quickly a second time? If the answer to any of these questions is "YES", she is interested in you and you should probably approach her. :) 

How do you hold your head up? Do you keep your neck elongated and head held high? Do you slouch your head forward and hide your neck (forward head position leads to chronic neck and back problems)? Head position can be the difference between looking confident and self aware or looking insecure and vulnerable. When you want to feel confident keep your head high and even both horizontally and vertically. This head position is also the position you would use when inferring authority, power and influence. When you are having a friendly conversation or when trying to appear captivated, your head should tilt to one side demonstrating intrigue and interest. Your neck makes a great statement, for both women and men, signs of an elongated neck are signs of health and vigor. Keep your head held high and never slouch your shoulders.


When you are interested in someone or someone is interested in you you will notice that one of you will tend to lean forward. A forward lean not only indicates liking, it also translates into sincerity and confidence. If you notice someone is leaning backwards, away from you, you might begin to feel dejected. Leaning back is a sign of detachment. It demonstrates a lack of interest or aloofness. If you are trying to pursue someone and you notice the backward lean, move away from the individual as they may feel you are entering into their personal space. (More on personal space coming soon).

Although some gestures are universal, when discussing nonverbal communication, you must be aware that it varies from region to region. In the United States as well as in many other countries, nodding your head up and down is a signal interpreted as "yes". We use it often when we are trying to emphasize something in conjunction with a verbal yes. We also use it nonverbally as a gesture to indicate agreement. In Bulgaria, however, shaking your head from side to side means "yes," and nodding your head up and down means "no." Make sure you and your conversant are on the same page. Always know your conversant�s culture before assuming anything.  

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