When someone does a great deal for you, sometimes, you want to express your appreciation beyond words. Not sure how to say thank you enough? Science suggests actions. Research from Murray State University emphasised the power of nonverbal communication when acknowledging others. Here, learn varied ways to express your thanks – not just by saying it, but by showing it.
8 Ways to Say Thank You With Body Language
When the server comes up with your order or your pal hands you a present, you thank said giver like a reflex. But to communicate your gratitude with more impact, master different ways to say thank you through body language.
1. Shake hands.
Thanking someone with a handshake is a common practice in any setting. A firm one remains a reliable gesture to convey confidence and demonstrate respect for the other person. When matched with a smile, initiating the handshake can reaffirm self-assurance without appearing overbearing or forceful.
2. Nod politely.
Besides being a gesture of agreement, a simple nod of the head can be a subtle yet effective way to say thank you. It signals that you understand and appreciate what the other person has done for you. Just remember not to do it in a rush to maintain sincerity and politeness.
3. Bow with your hands clasped together.
A study by Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research highlighted the significance of nonverbal communication in Japanese culture. Particularly, locals hold the art of ojigi or bowing in high regard. Want to follow suit and learn how to say thank you meaningfully? Press your hands together and bend at your waist while keeping your back straight.
4. Establish eye contact.
Eye contact is a crucial part of any form of communication. It signifies that you are fully present and engaged in the interaction. When you look someone in the eyes, you’re letting them know that their kindness or help means a lot to you.
A word of caution when locking gazes: try not to stare too hard. You can tell by a person’s body language if they feel threatened. If they start shifting uneasily, glance away a few seconds to lower their defences.
5. Lean forward.
Did shouting out a thank you from a distance leave you with a response that wasn’t as warm as you expected? Express your sincerity by coming closer or leaning forward. While you don’t want to intrude on their personal space, facing their direction indicates that you’re interested in what they have to say.
Pro tip: Slouching is never a good idea. Maintain an upright posture and free your body from folded arms or crossed legs to signal openness.
6. Keep your hands open.
To thank someone like you mean it, keep your palms open. You know how you accept someone with open arms? Similarly, having open hands suggests honesty and acceptance. Make sure to do the same when receiving a welcome in response.
7. Reach out for a hug.
If you really want to show someone how grateful you are, reach out for a big bear hug. Research from Psychological Science revealed the power of hugging, especially for emotional support. Yes, a heartfelt embrace can warm any gift giver’s heart. And it can cheer them up and pull them out of a funk.
8. Flash a smile.
Learn to express gratitude with a flash of a disarming smile! Sure, you can say thanks a million times over, but doing so with a straight face appears like you don’t mean it. So, let your body language brighten up your well wishes of thanks. Whether you’re shaking hands or hugging, match your gesture with a sincere smile.
Go above and beyond by giving your smile an upgrade! Consult your dentist for treatments that address dental or oral issues affecting your confidence and keeping you from showcasing your pearly white. For example, if you’re dealing with crooked or crowded teeth, you can consider aligner treatment with ClearCorrect.
Learning how to say thank you beyond words takes practice. Keep at it, and soon, these gestures will come naturally. When all else fails, let your grateful heart guide you in expressing appreciation for gifts big and small.
Amri, M. (2019). Ojigi: The Ethics of Japanese Community’s Nonverbal Language. Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, 380.
Cohen, S., Janicki-Deverts, D., Turner, R. B., & Doyle, W. J. (2014). Does hugging provide Stress-Buffering social Support? A study of Susceptibility to Upper respiratory Infection and illness. Psychological Science, 26(2), 135–147.
Lawrence, S. (n.d.). The power of nonverbal communication. Murray State’s Digital Commons.