Many tourists focus on language skills in order to communicate with other cultures. While this is helpful, it’s not enough. A better travel skill is knowing how to read and speak the universal language.
These universal cues can be used to convey your intention regardless of where you live in the world.
1. The Head Tilt
Do you want to demonstrate that you are paying attention, listening and engaged? Use a head tilt. This universal cue is one of openness. This is because we can tilt our heads to get better hearing. This can also help warm up photos. These are the exact same photos. The head tilt immediately warms her up.
Fronting refers to when your body is angled in order to signal attention. In particular, our T’s (toes and torso) point towards whatever we are paying attention to. Your physical orientation can tell others about your mental orientation. A great way to tell what someone is thinking is by fronting.
- If someone is about to go, they will turn their backs towards the exit.
- Two people can have a great conversation and their whole bodies will align like their hips, shoulders, and toes are parallel.
- People often go to the buffet when they are hungry.
Fronting can be used to highlight what you are interested in and to watch others’ fronting angles to see their thoughts.
3. Eyebrow Lift
We raise our eyebrows to signal that we are looking for more. As if our eyebrows are trying to block the view of something or someone else, we raise them. Positive social cues include the eyebrow raising. The eyebrow raising is universally understood to be a sign that you are acknowledging the other person. Researchers discovered that eyebrow raising is a sign of acknowledgment. This is because raising your eyebrows can increase the distance that it’s possible to see our gaze direction.
This is the fastest method to communicate curiosity, interest, and attention. It can be used in many situations as a shortcut. Take this example:
- We might ask soft questions to get confirmation when we are looking for confirmation.
- If we are listening actively. Research has shown that raising your eyebrows can show agreement in conversation.
- We want to stress a point. If you raise your eyebrows, it signals that you want others to pay more attention to you and will make eye contact.
Special Note The eyebrow raising can also be used for romantic intentions. Only use the eyebrow lift if you have romantic intentions.
We feel the need to get away from something we don’t like. We want to avoid something that we consider dangerous or threatening. Be aware that sudden distancing behaviors can make someone feel uncomfortable. Be on the lookout to detect sudden distancing behavior. Like:
- Reclining in a chair.
- You should turn your head or body in the opposite direction.
- You can go back.
- To check your phone, turn off.
- Angling backward.
5. Open Palms
Do you want to build trust? Open your palms and you will instantly make others feel at ease. Because our primitive brains see closed hands as a threat to our safety. Open hands are more credible and can be used in certain situations:
- Hand gestures that include the open palm are a good way to start a conversation.
- To signal the other speaker it is their turn, extend your arm and open your palm.
- Instead of pointing with one finger, which can be rude in some countries, use your open palm instead to point in the desired direction.
Tip – Pay attention to the gestures made by a person’s hands! Their hands will show open palms if they are friendly and open.
6. The Smile
Smiles are one of the most universal expressions of friendship and openness. Smiling can be used to greet someone and invite them into your life. You can smile during a conversation to encourage the other person nonverbally to keep speaking.
Pro Tip – How can you tell a genuine smile from one that is fake? If someone is smiling big, look out for the “crow’s feet”. If you are trying to establish new relationships or approach someone, look for the genuine smile and not the fake smile. This could also indicate positive or negative intentions.
Fidgeting can take many forms but they are always distracting. Fidgeting can be any repetitive behavior.
- Playing with your hair.
- Picking your fingernails.
- Clicking a pen.
- Bouncing the foot.
- Hands trembling with keys
Fidgeting is a sign that people don’t get enough stimulation from their environment. They seek it out for themselves. They may also be anxious and have uncontrolled movements. If you are in the middle of a conversation, look out for signs of fidgeting. It’s possible to spot it and change the topic or venue.