Body Language 101: The Mouth

mouthTo wrap up the week I’m going to talk a little bit about your mouth and how it pertains to body language. Your mouth gives away a myriad of incredibly signals but very few people realize, or have control over, the movements they make with their mouths.

The mouth can easily be hidden with papers or with a person’s hand but is something most can’t control unless they’re physically touching it. Smiling involves the entire face while fake facial expressions only involve the mouth. Here are a few things to look for when you assess a person’s face – specifically the mouth.

  • Fake or pasted smiles appear on a person’s face very quickly, stay in place longer than a real smile would, and is limited to the person’s mouth alone. Their eyes don’t shine, their cheeks don’t move, and they don’t actually look happy. If you see a faked smile you should wonder why.
  • People who smile with their lips closed, aka tight-lipped, are usually trying to hide something. They either have a secret or are rejecting you because they don’t like or trust you.
  • When a person juts out his bottom lip he’s letting you know he is upset about something. Some people do this naturally when they are crying but a person doesn’t have to be crying to let you know something is wrong.
  • If you notice someone biting his or her lip it may be because he feels as though he’s in a tense situation. Lip biting often indicates stress, tension, or anxiety or in rare cases may indicate a person is focused and concentrating on something.

These are, again, only a few examples of how the mouth is used in studying body language. You may see people poking their tongues out, chewing on pens or pencils, pursing their lips, biting their nails, or even covering with their hands. Each has something significant to say and it’s up to you to determine what each action really means in your own situational contexts.

Thanks again,


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

(Image by imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)

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Mark-WilliamsMark Williams

Mark Williams is a learning and development professional, using business psychology and multiple intelligences to create fascinating and quickly-identifiable learning initiatives in the real-world business setting. Mark’s role at MTD is to ensure that our training is leading edge, and works closely with our trainers to develop the best learning experiences for all people on learning programmes. Mark designs and delivers training programmes for businesses both small and large and strives to ensure that MTD’s clients are receiving the very best training, support and services that will really make a difference to their business.