Head Gestures

This book would not be complete without a discussion of the basic head movements, the two most widely used being the head nod and the head shake. The head nod is a positive gesture used in most cultures to signify, 'Yes', or affirmation. Research conducted with people who have been deaf, dumb and blind from birth shows that they also use this gesture to signify the affirmative, which has given rise to the theory that this may be an inborn gesture. The headshake, usually meaning 'No', is also claimed by some to be an inborn action; however, others have theorised that it is the first gesture a human being learns. They believe that when the newborn baby has had enough milk, he shakes his head from side to side to reject his mother's breast. Similarly, the young child who has had enough to eat uses the head shake to reject his parent's attempt to spoonfeed him.

One of the easiest ways to uncover a disguised objection when dealing with others is to watch if the person uses the headshake gesture while verbalising his agreement with you. Take, for example, the person who verbalises, 'Yes, I can see your point of view', or, 'I really enjoy working here', or, 'We'll definitely do business after Christmas', whilst shaking his head from side to side. Even though this may sound convincing, the head shake gesture signals that a negative attitude exists and you would be well advised to reject what the person has said and to question him further.

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