I have always been intrigued by the interpretation of facial expressions and body language. The TV series “Lie to Me” increased the popularity of learning more about this interesting subject.
One of the key things to remember when writing or reading a person’s body language is that it is not what they reveal in their baseline behaviour, but the change from that behaviour to something quite different.
Armed with a diploma in body language, people tend to ask me “what is my body language saying to you now?”
They might cross their arms, or do something fairly common like that, then want me to basically give them a run-down on what that body language is revealing.
However, it doesn’t work like that. A lot of people think that by crossing their arms they are being defensive or closed off, and yes, that might be true.
That doesn’t really tell me much. Instead, it’s watching people that change from one behaviour to another that exposes what is actually going on.
Now, some people may ask, “well, if it’s that clear cut, then why doesn’t law enforcement immediately know if someone is guilty?”
Unfortunately, body language isn’t an exact science. Although, much can be revealed, people may still not know why that change occurred. But it can give an inkling that they need to dig further into that line of questioning.
People tend to look for exaggerated displays of body language, but often, it is the subtle displays that are truly revealing.
No matter how insignificant it may seem, never underestimate the small changes, words are only a very minor part of the overall picture.
Just by looking in one direction it can reveal someone is telling the truth, while another direction they are thinking up a story. Every little bit contributes to the overall picture.
These aspects are important to consider when including body language in your writing. The more you understand how it works, the easier it will be to write a realistic portrayal of a witness, victim, cop or perpetrator.
And what may surprise many people, is that body language experts believe that the legs and feet are considered more accurate communicators than the face.
Think about it. What is your body language saying about you?
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