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5 Cs of Body Language
May 11, 2020

If you see a person with arms folded, does this mean they are feeling defensive, with their arms acting as a barrier? Or could this mean they are feeling superior and are making a judgement? Or are they just feeling relaxed and placing their arms in a comfortable position? 

The answer is ‘It depends’. Interpreting body language means much more than just looking up the current body shape in a definitive list. Here is a simple set of five points that offer a critical lens to help see and interpret body language and other non-verbal communication in a more realistic way. 


When we act, this is not done as a stand-alone thing. We do and say things in response to what others do and say. These external events act as cues (or ‘triggers’) that stimulate internal responses. 

When you see someone with a particular body shape, a good question to ask is hence ‘What just happened that may have led to the possible interpretations of their body language, and which is most likely?’ 

Cues can also be internal, for example where thoughts and concerns lead to changes in body position. You hence may also ask ‘Given their body language, what might they be thinking or feeling?’ 

Cues are a key part of conditioning, where emotions and actions are paired with a cue such that the appearance of the cue triggers a set of feelings and, possibly, related action (which the person may try to suppress). This cue-response sequence can also be instinctive, such as the way that wriggly creatures trigger a fear-and-recoil response. 


A very important thing to watch for is transitions, where body language changes, for example from open to closed formation, or where a person suddenly scratches their nose (both of which may indicate discomfort). 

When you see a change in body language, look backwards for cues that may have triggered the transition, for example where someone suspected of lying is asked a revealing question looks away. 

Sales people watch for changes in body language, such as leaning forward and positive responses to subtle cues, as indicators of customers becoming convinced. The sales person will then use this understanding as a signal to move to the next stage in closing the deal. 


While body language changes can appear as single events, such as folding of arms, they often appear as a group of different movements that occur together or one after another. For example, a person may shift their stance, cross their arms, lean backwards slightly, purse their lips and frown, all as a combined indication of disagreement. 

Clusters of body shifts send clear signals when they all indicate the same thing. This may happen where each has a similar meaning, or where the whole ensemble of movements combine for a single meaning. 

Sometimes, cluster movements contradict one another, for example where a person rubs their nose (indicating possible deceit) and smiles. The resultant mixed message will likely cause you to feel uncomfortable and it makes sense to always be vigilant for such gut feelings, then look for reasons why you may feel this way. 


A further general factor that can confound and yet can also explain much is the general character of the other person. A person who is more extraverted, for example, may display frequent and large body movements, while a more introverted person might use more concise gestures. 

It easy to confuse these personality traits for others such as exhibitionism and timidity. In seeking to classify others (and hence predict their actions) we often misinterpret limited body signals and thereafter filter what we see through these incorrect mental models. 

Temperament, mood and even shorter-term emotions can also act as modifiers that affect body language and make it more difficult to interpret. Yet if you can determine a person’s current emotional state, you may apply this knowledge in your interpretation and so gain a better understanding of what their movements really mean. 


The final factor to consider when reading body language is the broader context that may influence how the other person thinks, feels and acts. 

What is going on in the immediate environment can have a clear effect, for example when young men are in the presence of attractive young women, they will indulge more in preening, posturing and other mate-attracting moves. 

The wider context of a person’s life also has an effect on their body language, typically indicating anxieties, excitement and other musings and anticipation. If you have no knowledge about such modifiers, this can have a confounding effect on your attempts to interpret their body language.

CDI Position Paper on Web Videoconferencing for Personal Careers Guidance
May 11, 2020

As web videoconferencing is becoming an increasingly common method for delivering personal and group career guidance and information the CDI has published a position paper.

This paper considers how Practitioners should review their practice to ensure safe and ethical approaches are adopted. 

DWP Touchbase: CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL – 7 May 2020
May 11, 2020
Roundup of recent DWP announcements  
Latest Universal Credit statistics Wednesday 6 May saw the biggest number of new Universal Credit claims paid in a single day. This was the first payment day for the 135,000 people who made a claim for Universal Credit over the 30th and 31st March.   Of the eligible claims, more than 9 in 10 have been paid in full and on time. Since the pandemic began, around 1.8 million claims have been made to Universal Credit and almost 700,000 advance payments made to people. You can see the latest Universal Credit statistics here.   
Access to Work – new measures to support customers To ensure disabled people remain supported in work through this period we have introduced new measures for Access to Work. These include: prioritising new applications from critical workers and those starting work within the next 4 weeksextending the timeframe to submit claim forms to 9 monthsextending Support Worker awards that are coming to an end, by 6 monthsaccepting employer and support worker signatures via emaildelivering workplace assessments and Mental Health Support Services via telephone or accessible alternatives. More information  
Information about claiming Universal Credit when you are in receipt of legacy benefits As part of our continued effort to be transparent and ensure people have the information they need when considering whether or not to make a benefit claim, we have produced a new animation. The animation informs people in receipt of legacy benefits, like tax credits, that applying for Universal Credit will impact their eligibility for legacy benefits. It also signposts them to a benefits calculator so they can work out themselves whether they would be better off on Universal Credit.
Please feel free to share this animation through your social channels: TwitterFacebookLinkedIn.   
Self-employment and Universal Credit Universal Credit is a flexible benefit and will adapt to a claimant’s income each month. If you represent people who are self-employed, it’s important they let us know about any income they have received, so their Universal Credit payment can be processed. This includes reporting if no income has been received in any given month. People who apply will be prompted to report their income and expenses in their online account as they get close to their payment date. More information
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme HMRC are contacting customers who may be eligible for the new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. The scheme will allow customers to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500, equivalent to three months’ profits. People can check if HMRC think they are eligible for the scheme by using the new online checker. The checker also gives the date from which they can make a claim.  
Pension Credit online service We’ve introduced a new service so pensioners can now apply for Pension Credit online. This will supplement the existing telephone and postal claim services. It will enable customers to make a claim without having to leave home to post forms or wait to get through on the phone – helping them also to adhere to social distancing and shielding measures. To ensure security for customers any personal information will be sent direct to DWP. We will also only pay people into the verified account that they get their State Pension paid into. More information  
Post Office card account applications Applications for Post Office card accounts will end for all customers from the 11 May 2020. This change applies to new claims only and does not affect customers with an existing account.  Customers who are unable to be paid via DWP’s standard method into a bank, building society, or credit union account will be offered payment via HMG Payment Exception Service at new claim stage.