Body Language Cues for Nurses
Sharon Sayler | Scrubs Magazine
3. Hands clasped behind your back. Depending on context, this gesture, similar to the fig-leaf, can make you look smaller, as if to say, “I hope you like me.”
However, if someone has his hands clasped behind his back as part of a bigger pattern, often referred to as “the royal strut” (erect posture, slow gait, head held high), the body is saying, “You’d better fear me.” The royal strut conveys superiority and extreme self-confidence, and sends the message “I know I have power.”
4. Arms crossed over your chest. This stance is probably the most misinterpreted gesture. To some people it says, “I’m annoyed.” Others think it says, “I’m not open to discussion. I stand firm on what I said.”
But here’s another way to look at it. Some people automatically cross their arms when they are listening. Some cross their arms when they are cold. Maybe they are simply trying to hide a spot on their shirt or uniform. This gesture may be comfortable and easy, but it’s difficult to overcome what others read into this gesture. Try your best to avoid it simply because it’s loaded with so many misunderstandings and meanings of discomfort or being closed off.
5. Hands on hips. While this gesture makes you look bigger‚ it definitely carries a connotation of annoyance and judgment. It often sends the message “I’m ready for a fight” or “I’m really annoyed with you or the situation.”
Three Good Body Gestures
So what are the types of body language that project “all the right moves” of self-confidence and the expectation of mutual respect? The following three forearm positions that send the message “I am confident, we all know what we’re doing, we are capable and I expect good things.”
1. Gentle hand clasp Hold your forearms waist-high in front of your body, wrists at the same height as the elbows so that the forearms are parallel to the ground. Hands can be gently clasped together or in a downward steeple gesture where fingertips touch (avoid playing with rings or bracelets).