Body language adds another layer of communication to the messages people send. Being aware of what your body communicates can be as important as choosing the right words.


  • Life Skills
  • Body Language
  • Nonverbal Communication


By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the effects of body language and how it influences communication.
  • Describe appropriate behavior in the workplace.


For each of the three activities below, write or copy the activity and cut a separate paper strip for each item. Place the individual strips into a box or bag.

  • Introduction Poses
  • Guess My Emotion activity sheet (one per group of four or five Explorers)
  • Find My Group activity sheet (several copies, see activity description)


Text in italics should be read aloud to participants. As you engage your post in activities each week, please include comments, discussions, and feedback to the group relating to Character, Leadership, and Ethics. These are important attributes that make a difference in the success of youth in the workplace and in life.



As the Advisor, you may choose to perform the poses below or have volunteers assist. If volunteers will assist, have each volunteer draw a paper strip naming a pose. Then, one at a time, have them come to the front or stand up in place and perform the poses.

After each pose, ask participants:

  • What message did the pose communicate?
  • Did everyone interpret it the same way?


Continue to rotate volunteers and get feedback on the messages they are sending until you have completed the list.


Pose Possible Interpretations
Standing with your hands on your hips Aggressive, disgusted
Standing upright Confidence
Arms crossed on your chest Defensive
Resting your hand on your cheek Thinking
Touching or rubbing your nose Doubt, lying
Resting your head in your hands Boredom, tired
Tapping your fingers Impatience
Biting your nails Nervous, insecure
Playing with your hair Insecure
Rubbing your eyes Disbelief, doubt


Ask the participants:

  • Can you think of any more poses and the messages they send?

How might our body language support—or contradict—the message we intend to communicate?



Before the session begins, make copies of the Guess My Emotion activity sheet (see resources). Divide Explorers into small groups of approximately four or five participants, and provide each group with a list of emotions cut into strips. Each Explorer will take two strips. Instruct the Explorers not to show anyone else in their group which strips they have. Explorers will take turns acting out the emotions they were given to their group. The rest of the group will try to guess which emotions the Explorer is attempting to convey. The Advisor should monitor each group to make sure all Explorers have an opportunity to act out their selected emotions before time is up. After the groups have finished, conduct a discussion about what participants learned during the activity.



Before the activity begins, make several copies of the Find My Group activity sheet listing 10 emotions. The number of copies needed will depend on the number of participants, and you will need to have enough copies for each Explorer to receive one strip of paper with an emotion. (For example, if there are 35 Explorers, make four copies of the sheet to create 40 strips of paper.) Cut the list of emotions into strips, and put the strips in a box or bag. Then have each participant draw out one. Tell participants that their goal is to find everyone else who drew the same emotion—but they must do it without talking. They must use nonverbal communication to find their group. After Explorers have had enough time to complete the activity, conduct a discussion about what they have learned.


Some sample questions are below. They are designed to help the participants apply what they have learned to their own interests. You are welcome to use these questions or develop your own questions that relate to your post or specific focus area.


Focusing Questions

  • Which emotions were the easiest for you to communicate through body language? Why?
  • Which emotions were the hardest for you to communicate through body language? Why?
  • During the group activities, which types of body language were the easiest for you to understand? Why?
  • During the group activities, which types of body language were the hardest for you to understand? Why?

Analysis Questions

  • In the first activity, poses were modeled for you. What made it hard to understand the message?
  • How might body language make a spoken message easier to understand?
  • How might body language make a spoken message harder to understand?

Generalization Questions

  • In what ways can body language affect a workplace positively or negatively?
  • What have you learned today that will change what you do in the future?
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