How to Use Attentive and Evaluative Body Language In Your Writing

Group of people talking

When you are listening to someone speak, are you attentive? Do you need a few minutes to evaluate the situation before responding? Characters, like people, react differently in conversation.

In this eighth installment of the body language series, we will explore attentive and evaluative body language.

Attentive body language refers to the posture and movement of a character. When a character shows attentive body language, they are listening and taking in what another character is saying.

Yawning or nodding off would be an example of inattentive body language.

What are the Signs of Attentive Body Language?

If a character is fidgeting while another is speaking, this suggests that they are not interested in what is being said. The same with an easily distracted character who spends the conversation staring at their phone or other objects.

Signs of attentive body language include:

  • Leaning into the conversation
  • Hands-on hips and elbows extending outward
  • Eye contact
  • Eyes on the speaker without reflecting away sporadically
  • Blinking less than normal
  • An indented frown line (showing concentration)
  • Feet pointed toward the speaker
  • Nodding the head in agreement (or disagreement)
  • Positioning the torso closer
  • Mimicking the speaker’s body language
  • Tilting head (in the speaker’s direction)
  • Verbal utterances such as “hmmm, uh huh, mmm, etc

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay.

What is Evaluative Body Language?

Evaluative body language is how a character uses their body when evaluating a situation.

Characters who do a lot of talking with hand gestures will exhibit a large amount of body language when evaluating or thinking about something as well. Generally, their body will present relaxed and comfortable although they are concentrating intensely.

What are the Signs of Evaluative Body Language?

Characters could use hand movements when discussing how the backyard deck design should be done or when determining which direction to turn while driving.

Signs of evaluating body language are:

  • Praying hands while thinking
  • Tapping a finger on their chin
  • Rubbing their chin
  • Pursing lips
  • Peering over the top of glasses (instead of through them)
  • Tilting their head to the side or backwards

Image by Sonam Prajapati from Pixabay.

Last Words on Attentive and Evaluative Body Language

In this eighth installment of the body language series, we discussed using attentive and evaluating body language. How do you use body language in your writing? Let me know in the comments. Be sure to come back in the next few weeks for more body language tips for your novel.

Take Care



Feature photo by 5688709 from Pixabay.



Body Language Series

Missed any segments in the body language series? You can catch up here:

Body Language

Open and Closed

Aggressive and Defensive


Dominant and Submissive

Relaxed and Ready


Attentive and Evaluative





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