Toes Indicate Direction of Interest in Conversation

Where are your toes pointed? Your toes and the direction of your feet will indicate if you are interested in your conversational partner or more interested in fleeing. Keep them pointed in the direction of the person or group of interest. footprints-white-clipartI self monitor all the time to ensure that I am wiggling my toes toward the person I am speaking. Non-verbal behavior starts with me. Where your feet point, is your direction of interest. If the feet are pointing towards the door, guess what you are telling them, “I can’t wait to get away from you and out of here.” You can see this in a boring presentation or one that has lasted too long. Look at the flip-flops of the attendees. They are screaming, “Let me out.

How about your date? Prince Charming’s feet are pointed toward the exit is a good indication there will not be a second date. Your client’s wingtips are canted toward your office door? No sale. During a job interview, are you pointing your ankles toward to door? The interviewer will get back to you….Never!

Monitor your body language and what you are projecting. Try to keep the legs in a natural position. When you cross them, the position displays a closed posture. After obtaining a level of comfort with the person, go ahead and cross if doing so makes you comfortable. This display is especially true if they cross their legs first. Keep your hands from clasping the leg as if you are forming a sturdy fortress.

When you are standing and you cross one of your legs over the other, you are showing a sign of relaxation and ease. The reason is that your body is not fully balanced. Crossing your leg is fine after you have time to interact. You do not want to portray the “Too Cool Cat” with your legs crossed at the moment of your first meeting. After you have had time to meet, then you can slip your leg over the other.

You do not want to fidget. Swinging or kicking the legs is not a sign of confidence. It might even reflect immaturity. You might not be aware of the jitters, but fidgeting reflects either impatience or nervousness. Neither is good for rapport building. Remember, keep the toes pointed toward your friend.

For more tips on body language and developing rapport, take a look at FACE 2 FACE : Observation, Interviewing and Rapport Building Skills: an Ex-Secret Service Agent’s Guide


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4 Responses to Toes Indicate Direction of Interest in Conversation

  1. Darcia Helle says:

    Fascinating stuff! I never gave any thought to my feet during a conversation. I suppose crossing your legs is a bit like crossing your arms – closing yourself off to the other person. Thanks for this, Mike!

    • mike says:

      Dacia, I have to self monitor my feet. I catch myself at times pointing towards the exit and have to re-adjust. Crossing the legs after rapport can display comfort. When the arms and legs are crossed at the same time, they are not open to much input. Cheers, Mike

  2. This is something i have never ever read for interviewing. I never knew that leg movements are also noticed in the interview. Very detailed analysis. Keep posting useful stuff thumbs up.

    • mike says:

      Thank you for your comment. I self regulate often and make sure the toes are pointed towards the my conversational partner. The gesture demonstrates interest. Cheers, Mike

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