Body Language - Head Positions


Most of the clues that you would get about a person’s thought and acceptance would be from observing the way he uses his head, palms, finger, legs and eyes. Let’s understand the general meanings of the movements that are associated with these parts of the body and the message they pass.

While the basic movements associated with the head like nodding and shaking the head could be fairly straightforward in their meaning, movements like tilting the head could give mixed signals to a lot of observers. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Sr.No Movements & Description

Nodding Head

Nodding generally means being in agreement to what is spoken. A gentler nod means appreciation and interest, however, nodding rapidly may signal impatience and the need to hurry things up.


Head Held Firm

A person listening with his head up is listening to your explanation without having any agenda or vested interests. In other words, he is listening with an open mind and without prejudice. The judges typically adopt this head position to imply a sense of fair trial.


Head Held Down

A heads-down listening to someone gives the exact opposite impression to the speaker. It gives the impression that the listener has already made up his mind to his share of the story and is just keeping quiet to avoid conflict.


Tilting Head Down

Head tilted to a side signals trust. It means the person likes what you are saying to him and believes your words. However, someone tilting his head while resting it on his hand will give an exactly opposite idea.


Head Held High

Holding the head high while talking gives you an air of superiority in the eyes of the people you are addressing. Throughout the history of sports, you will find aggressive captains talking to their team this way.


Chin Pointing Up

Holding the chin up signifies arrogance and defying orders. Children who think they are being wrongly blamed for starting a fight often defy orders and words of their parents with a stiff.


Head Leaning Forward

Head leaning forward is a positive sign of interest. It is a primitive instinct of leaning forward towards the speaker to listen and show interest.


Head Tilted Down

While tilting the head to one side signifies interest, tilting the head down means distrust, or at the very least, doubt. It means the person is taking time to rethink what you said and judge its veracity.


Shaking of Head

A head shaking from one side to the other signifies a ‘no’. It is also a primitive instinct of a baby denying the intake of any more milk from his mother, by moving his head away from the source.