There is little doubt that body language can exude confidence, anxiety, awkwardness, and charisma. Experts tell us that roughly 80 percent of the meaning of a message lies in the nonverbal expression of it. No wonder so many seemingly smart people invest a lot of time and money into predicting what people believe and feel from their body language. The idea of gleaning insights into what people are really thinking from specific gestures, such as folded arms or raised eyebrows, is highly alluring.
Many years ago my father (working in sales at the time) attended a meeting where body language was the topic and he walked away from it totally disgusted with it. He was told he was crossing his arms too much and that conveyed a "closed approach". He said "but my arms hurt and when I cross them there is less pain."
At this stage in my life I have some of the same aches and I get it completely.
Why do you think such 'magical thinking' remains as prevalent as it does given we have much more access to information than we used to?