Have you ever noticed a person’s feet in a conversation? You should because your feet communicate to others in the room. These are in most scenarios, involuntary communicators, but they are communicating. When you want to know if a person is still engaged in the conversation, just look at his feet.
For instance, two or more men standing speaking with one another will almost always be standing with their feet squared to one another, toes pointing straight ahead. This is a male dominance feature. Shoulders and feet will be squared off facing the other gentleman. However, if a woman joins the conversation, one foot on each of the men will turn pointing to her. Usually the foot closest to her.
While your legs and feet may not be as openly apparent in communicating, they are actively communicating, whether you are standing or sitting. Look to see where a persons feet are pointing and you will see where their mind is moving – subconsciously. When a person’s feet are pointing towards the door or large window, you can be sure this person subconsciously desires to leave the conversation. It is as if he is planning his escape route. If you are at a social event and a person’s feet turn toward a food or drink table, her desire is to refresh her drink or go for the grub.
The way we cross our legs and position our feet when we are sitting communicate the subconscious as well. Men in the western hemisphere often cross their legs in what is known as the figure 4 or 4 cross position. This is one leg crossed over top of the other, with the sole of the shoe facing outward. This is a sign of dominance. Men like to sit and stand with dominant posture. However, in some eastern cultures to have your shoe sole visible like this is considered rude and inappropriate.
Men and women can be seen sitting with legs crossed at the ankles. Women most often have their knees together, a sign of modesty. Men on the other hand sitting with legs crossed at the ankles have their knees spread apart to occupy more space, again representing dominance.
Whether standing or sitting, our feet and legs are communicating much about what the mind is thinking. A person’s feet will often point to where the mind is wanting to go. If a man is standing with one foot pointing in a slightly different direction, look to see what is in that direction, the exit, the food table, the bar, or perhaps a woman. Our feet point to where our mind desires to go.
You can read more about the subconscious communication of the legs and feet in chapter 6 of COACHING: A Way of Leadership, A Way of life. The legs and feet are perhaps the most underestimated communicators of our body. Yet, whether a person is speaking or listening, the legs are communicating.
George Yates is a Church Health Strategist and coach assisting churches, organizations, & individuals in reaching their full God-given potential.