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Saravanan B

Part I: Why we cross our arms?

The story happened six months back. Ram, a final student of Commerce was giving his speech in a forum. I was a passive observer. After Ram started his speech, within a span of 2-3 minutes nearly 40% of the people have crossed their arms.  Ram was completely ignorant to their non-verbal signs and unable to tap into what's really on his audience's mind. At the end of the session, when asked for feedback Ram was stated poor and the audience remembered hardly what he said. In a nutshell, arm-crossing indeed has negative influence on the minds of the people. 

Let me share you a story that happened to me a fortnight ago:

I went to a training session to an eminent school in Coimbatore as a part of my Rotaract training project. My training module was on "Goal setting".  My audience were in the age group of 11-14 years. I initiated my session by asking question like: why do we need goals? How goals make wonder? Students came up with innovative answers to my question. From the beginning to the end, I succeeded in not making them to cross their arms. As a result, they were experiencing positive emotions and had good retention power. This phenomenon has been confirmed by numerous studies in the area of non-verbal communication. 

Arm Crossing has numerous forms I will share each one of them and the reasons for assuming them in my following posts.

                                                                                     

Figure 1:  Arm-crossing gesture.

Note: I will be updating my experiments, interviews, and studies related to this area in my following blogs. Keep reading.

We assume this gesture for the following reasons:

  • A person might assume this gesture when he dislikes a stranger entering into his personal space.
  • When experiencing hostility or defensiveness.
  • When feeling negative emotions while listening to a speaker, in meetings, parties, etc.
  • A lot of people assume this gesture in public places like bus stops, railway stations, airports, cafeteria, etc. I have observed usually woman assume this position a lot in public places. 

Idea: Check if someone assumes this position in a public place and share your ideas to me at saravanan.b@bsaravanan.co.in

I've a friend who is in a close romantic relationship with a girl. When he introduces plans to take her outside for a party or a movie. She assumes this position. She expresses defensiveness or rejects this idea non-verbally. But, my friend's lack of knowledge in this area has  resulted in big emotional outrages. Stories apart!

Tips and Advices:

  • Make eye contact with people. Look for arm-crossing gesture.
  • Crack jokes. Not mundane stories.
  • Make it an interactive session.
  • Don't affect people's personal space unnecessarily. If men-don't take a woman's personal space for granted. The same applies to woman.
  • A person might assume this position  if the temperature is cool or they are shivering.

These are some of the famous reasons why people assume this gesture. I will update with more reasons in my following blogs. 

Assignments:

Share your observations and ideas about his gesture to saravanan.b@bsaravanan.co.in or follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/saravanan.co.in

Keep reading and stay tuned!

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