How To Tell When People Are Confused By What You’re Saying

Today is Thursday, so this post is on communication skills.

I saw an interesting piece in a recent issue of Communication Solutions about how to tell when people are confused.  I have studied communication effectiveness for years and have never seen this information before.  I think it is worth a mention here.

“It’s up to you to determine if your message is getting through.  One way to do this is to look at other people’s body language.  Experts say that when people are confused, they do one or more of these six things:

  • Avoid eye contact
  • Tilt their head
  • Squint
  • Close their mouth and keep it closed
  • Lower their eyebrows
  • Cross their arms and legs”

The common sense point here?  Watch out for this body language when you are speaking to someone – whether it be one or two people – or a group of a hundred.  When you see it, stop and ask if you’re being clear. 

One caveat – body language is not always what it might seem.  While it is good to keep the above information in the back of your mind, don’t assume that these behaviors indicate confusion 100% of the time.  That’s why, I suggest asking if you’re being clear.  If people nod their heads or say “yes”, take that at their word.  If they are confused, they’ll tell you and then you can go over your important points to make sure everyone understands them.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website to subscribe to my monthly ezine and for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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