Are Your Arms Folded Across Your Chest?

Are your arms crossed in Customer Service?A while back, I went in to my son’s room to check on him before I went to sleep and noticed that my son had fallen asleep in his bed with his arms folded across his chest.  I thought it was cute and pulled the covers up over him and went on to bed.  The next night, I checked on him again and noticed the same thing.  Hmm, I thought, why does he do this?

Over the next few weeks, as I checked on him before going to bed, I noted that sometimes he had his arms folded across his chest and sometimes he did not.  Did it mean anything? Who knows! He is unaware, it causes no harm and it makes me laugh.

On the other hand, have you ever had a meeting or interaction in which the person you were talking to crossed their arms across their chest as you were talking?  What kind of message did that send?  If you were the Customer in this situation and the person crossing their arms was the company representative, what position did that put you in?

I had that happen to me recently and I actually stopped my dialog and politely pointed out to the person who was talking to me that I felt they were not listening to me anymore and that they were shutting down.  I tactfully and professionally pointed out that I was the Customer and that I had a complaint about their service and wanted to have them correct it.

As it turned out, the person was very receptive to my explanation, immediately changing their body posture and listening to me.  They addressed my issue and  let me know that they were unaware of what the were doing and apologized.

So…are your arms crossed? Does your Customer perceive that they are? Have someone check for you, it might make a difference in your business.

Thanks for reading,



6 responses to “Are Your Arms Folded Across Your Chest?

  1. I’ve always known that crossed arms send a message that you are closed and not listening, but it’s just more comfortable for me. Arms just kind of dangle around with nothing to do. When I’m talking with someone, I am very conscientious of my arm and hand position. They make me uncomfortable, and if I’m worried about what my arms are or are not doing, then I’m not listening to my customer. So I just cross them to give them a job.

    What do your do with your arms and hands when listening? Anybody have suggestions?

  2. customerservicevoodoo

    That’s a great point, Jay. When speaking in front of a group, I always find myself looking for a place to put my hands and often end up with one in my pants pocket (which is also a “no-no” for public speaking). When talking to a Customer, I usually try and have a pen and pad ready so as to note their issue and work on it later. This helps sometimes as I bring it up in front of me and take quick notes, which serves a dual purpose of occupying my hands and also letting them know I am concerned about their situation and will work to improve it. I would love to hear other ideas as well.

  3. The “hand issue” has been a problem for me for years in the Army. I’ve seen the crossed arms and the hands on the hips “power stance.” Neither one goes over too well with your audience and I used to continually get in trouble for putting my hands in my pockets. I’ve since adopted the “John Wayne” pose with my hands on the front of the belt, cowboy style. It works well for me and avoids any of the poses that tell my soldiers I’m not concerned with their problems. Of course, it might not work in every profession but try it out.

  4. That was astonishing when well-grounded some wierd looking lady started to peep like an angel! Susan Boyle was a trusted rock for millions!! WOW!

  5. I am a woman and I like folding my arms across my chest. Interestingly, I do that quite often. I believe it provides me with a sense of confidence and success. I do not think it’s rude — if you feel good taking such posture, then people around you shouldn’t have any problem ‘perceiving’ your gestures.

  6. customerservicevoodoo

    Thanks for commenting, you bring up a good point, and I agree, Loly, it’s all about perception.

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