And we also cross our arms and legs when we are relaxing. It can just be a comfortable place to put those gangly limbs. We may look away because we are thinking, nothing more.
When you are trying to persuade a person, then their standing or sitting in a closed position is usually a signal that they are not ready to be persuaded. Moving them to an open position can significantly increase your chances of persuading them.
Force hand use
A common method sales people use to break a crossed-arms closed position is to give the person something to hold or otherwise ask them to use their hands, for example asking them to hand over something, turn over a page, stand up and so on.
The other common method of opening a person is to first adopt a closed position like them. Then some effort is put into building a bond with them, such that they start to like you and are attaching their identity to yours. Finally, you then open your position, unfolding arms and legs. If they are sufficiently bonded then they will follow you.
This should be done naturally and steadily, for example unfolding your arms in order to use your hands to illustrate what you are saying. If they do not follow you, return to the closed position and work further at bonding before trying again.
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