Just like the spoken or written word, there is a definite grammar and vocabulary for body language. And the people who are fluent in it also realise that there are several languages to master:
a. Body English
The use of position and gestures to express thoughts, emotions, and questions without speaking. The simplest gestures like expressing disdain by sneering or lifting the nose are crude – they get a little more refined when it comes to questioning with a single lifted eyebrow or surprise with both going up.
We all do these things instinctively. The only thing we ever do with conscious effort is suppress them. We can extend it further down with shrugs, hunches, or vulgar gestures. The well-bred English person can hide these until you cannot really tell what they are thinking. In many cases neither can they.
b. Body Italian
This is like Body English but at about 450% and every finger and joint in motion. The English endeavour to suppress vulgarity – Body Italian is ALL vulgarity, and ever so much more effective thereby.
If Body English is the sound of a whisper, Body Italian is the sound of an A.C. Milan announcer with a winning goal.
c. Body German
Body German is all about stiffness. Not the English stiffness of the drawing room – the Teutonic stiffness of a parade ground. Hands can be snapped to the sides and heels can be clicked to express either command or obedience. A mere correction of posture can say more than the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ever did
And watch for the short, formal bow. It can express many things, but few of them are warm. Of the three body languages, this one is best suited to a Covid-ridden world.