body language

body language

Quick tips

  • Hand gestures are good - they project energy
  • Avoid closed gestures e.g. folded arms
  • Smiling will make you look - and sound - confident.
  • Eye contact is usually with the reporter not the camera
  • In seated interviews, sit straight or slightly forward.


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We've been aware of body language since caveman days.

Body language is incredibly important during media engagement. Sadly, people often overlook the tell-tale signals they're sending to each other.

It's only natural that journalists will size you up from the moment they meet you. To project some warmth and enthusiasm, greet reporters with a smile, a firm handshake (if lockdown rules allow), and steady eye contact. The same advice applies to interviews. Use open gestures and frequent naturals smiles to project warmth and confidence.

Body language on TV

During TV interviews you will usually be expected to look at the reporter, not the camera.  A gentle smile during each question will leave you looking relaxed and confident as your give your response. If you are seated, lean slightly forward with arms on the table.  This conveys enthusiasm.  (When you're leading back in a chair or sofa, your head shrinks and your waistline appears bigger.  This is rarely flattering!)  Hand gestures encouraged on TV.  Keep them out and in front of you, not hidden away in your pockets. Avoid touching or rubbing your face - this will be distracting to viewers.

Silent signals

Reporters are keen observers of body language.  Here are some of the most common silent signals.

crossed arms:           defensive

eye rubbing:              doubt, disbelief

hand to cheek:         evaluation, thinking

ear pulling:                  indecision

open palm:                 sincerity, honesty

tilted head:                 interest

pinching nose:          negative evaluation

locked ankles:           apprehension

patting hair:              insecurity

tapping fingers:        impatience

touching neck:          protecting yourself

seated legs apart:   relaxed, open

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