LEVEL A1.2/A2.1





People say that your body says more about what you think than your words. Non-verbal communication (= communication without using words) seems to be very important. But do we know what behaviour is acceptable and what we should avoid, for example, in public places?

First of all, when you meet a person for the first time you should always introduce yourself (= tell someone your name) and shake hands with them (= hold someone’s hand when you say hello). If you want to be polite you should often nod your head (= move your head up and down to answer ‘yes’ or agree with someone) when talking to someone which means that you actually listen to the person. It’s not a good idea to cross your legs (= sit with one leg over the other at the knee) or fold your arms (= put one arm over the other in front of your body) because these postures mean that you want to distance yourself from the person you speak to. Some people say it is acceptable to sneeze  (= loudly blow air out of your nose in an uncontrolled way) or blow your nose (= clean your nose) in public places but you shouldn’t do it too often because the people you’re talking to might think you are ill and might want to run away. On the other hand, when you yawn (= open your mouth wide and take a big breath because you are bored or tied), it might seem you are bored or tired. It’s also nice to smile from time to time but laughing out loud is not really acceptable, especially in formal situations.


More contexts for the new words: 

  • I asked Tim if he’d seen Mary lately but he shook his head. (= moved his head from side to side to say ‘no’ or disagree with someone)
  • Marcus winked at me knowingly. (= quickly closed and opened one eye as a sign to someone)



Decide if the sentences below are true of false. Correct the false ones.

  1. When you feel tired, you yawn.
  2. When you want to agree with someone, you shake your head.
  3. When you wink at somebody you close both your eyes.
  4. People who have a cold often sneeze.
  5. If you are ill you often blow your mouth. 
  6. When you cross your legs, you keep them wide apart.



Match the beginnings of the sentences with the endings. Then answer the questions.

  1. Do you always shake
  2. Is it acceptable to
  3. What role does non-verbal


  1. blow your nose in public places?
  2. hands with people when you meet them for the first time?
  3. communication play when we talk to someone?



We use should to say that we think something is a good idea, and shouldn’t to say that something is not a good idea.

You should shake hands with someone.
You shouldn’t blow your nose.

Should and shouldn’t are often used to give advice.

You look ill. I think you should go to a doctor.
You are always tired in the morning. You shouldn’t go to bed so late at night.




OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD, I’d say we have about 200 members.

If we do something off the top of our head, we do it immediately and without thinking to much.




  1. When you BACK DOWN, you admit that you were wrong or have been defeated.

He eventually backed down and apologized.

  1. When you HEAD OFF, you start a journey or leave a place.

What time are you heading off?



Complete the sentences with correct prepositions:

  1. We should be heading ……………… soon.
  2. Neither side is willing to back ………….
  3. 'What’s the capital of Norway?’ 'I couldn’t tell you ………….. the top of my head, but I could go and look it up.’




The reading of facial expressions may not be universal. This is the conclusion of researchers from Glasgow University in Scotland. They report that people from different cultures read facial expressions differently. In particular, they said there were big differences between the way Westerners and East Asians interpret facial expressions. The study suggests East Asians focus mostly on people’s eyes to read an emotion, but Europeans and Americans scan the whole face.

The researchers said their findings showed intercultural communication is more complicated than we thought. They said: „When it comes to communicating emotions across cultures, Easterners and Westerners will find themselves lost in translation.”



  • conclusion – result
  • in particular – especially
  • focus on sth – concentrate on sth


download lesson (pdf)



Ex. 1

  1. True
  2. False – you nod your head
  3. False – you close only one eye
  4. True
  5. False – you blow your nose
  6. False – you keep one leg over another


Ex. 2

  1. b
  2. a
  3. c


Ex. 3 

  1. off
  2. down
  3. off