Body language is something everyone understands to some degree, it is how we interpret the cluster of signals that requires a more in-depth knowledge of what we are actually seeing.
Body language prepares a person to react in a constructive way if they can access what is actually going on.
Where to start?
If a person tries to read another person, start with the baseline. While having a conversation with a person, observe some of their mannerisms with how they react to different questions.
A person may appear comfortable at first; shoulders back, hands casually splayed on table, face relaxed. Even when asking a certain question, a person may appear calm. This does not necessarily mean the person is telling the truth, merely; the question asked may not trigger a strong reaction.
The more a person is used to lying, the more capable they are at controlling different reactions.
With further questioning, the person may suddenly react. They may stop what they are doing, shoulders droop, hands in lap, stops making eye contact, the reply is non-committal – meaning they are not properly answering the question.
What is going on physiologically at this point?
Non-verbals – The Skin.
The skin can be particularly useful in discovering a range of things about a person.
Someone with particularly tanned skin can reveal a person’s occupation, such as working outdoors.
When someone is frightened, stressed or upset, the complexion of a person’s face can go quite pale as blood is rushing away from the area in response to the internal fight or flight reaction.
However, if a person is angry or embarrassed, the blood rushes to the surface, causing a flush of red.
The color of a person’s skin is one useful aspect to take note off, as a person cannot control it, making it an effective way to detect certain emotions.
The Closing and Opening of the Face.
Facial reactions on the forehead can be helpful to reveal stress, anger or concern.
Wrinkles between the eyes can reveal a person regularly squints or furrows their forehead. Their job may entail dealing with problems, or constantly being annoyed. This can result in tension headaches at the end of the day.
However, when a person is surprised, their eyebrows go up, eyes widening; creating a series of 2 or 3 horizontal lines that over a period of time firmly implants themselves in a person’s face.
When the eyebrows are drawn to the middle, this may mean the person is feeling angered or shocked by what was said.
The closing of the face and consequently the eyebrows generally means distrust anger, shock or disdain. Whereas, the opening of the face, with eyebrows rising, generally means happiness or surprise.
The Eyes are the Windows to the Soul.
The eyes can show true emotion. When a person is genuinely happy their eyes can even appear as if they are glowing. Our pupils have the ability to enlarge for the purpose of seeing better.
Slightly dilated pupils can indicate something is interesting to the person. In
contrast, when a person’s pupils suddenly constrict, they have seen or heard something they didn’t want to hear.
This can signify they are subconsciously trying to block something, or questioning the statement.
Think of a situation like a business contract meeting. While the meeting is occurring, you may notice the other person’s pupils suddenly constrict. The subconscious reasoning is that the person is unhappy with some of the terms of the contract.
However, if the pupils suddenly dilate, then the person is more likely to be pleased with what has been discussed.
It is rather common for people to hide away from something being said by way of concealing or shadowing one eye.
Discerning Subtle Eye Movements
Even though people may claim they speak without thinking, that isn’t actually possible.
As humans, we always have to think to speak; so we can actually see a person’s thoughts in their body language before anything is spoken.
Our thinking processes often cause our eyes to move in a neutral location, we look away to think. This can be known as Lateral Eye Movement, or LEM.
Are Eye Accessing Cues Useful?
Eye accessing cues have their place. However, they are not always the most reliable way of determining a lie. As long as you keep this in mind, noting eye cues can still be useful in knowing what direction to go in.
When we try to reconstruct a memory – something that has actually happened, in many cases our eyes move up and to the left.
However, if a person is making something up, the eyes may move down and to the right.
Closing our eyes can also reveal a lot about what we are thinking.
Our blinking rate can change in connection with our emotions.
Some people may just stare ahead, blinking rapidly if they are confused or confronted with information they do not understand, or do not like.
In contrast, the blinking rate may slow down if a person is captivated by something.
The Difference between Fake and Genuine Emotions.
When a person is showing genuine pleasure, their smile is wide, lips full. When a person is relaxed and comfortable in the situation, their lips are slightly parted.
Observing a person that is initially comfortable, then they hear something
disagreeable, their lips become smaller and smaller, to the point it would appear the lips are completely compressed.
Although, this may not indicate lying, it does indicate anxiety. Compressed lips can also express disbelief or annoyance.
Full, relaxed lips show basic comfort, while thin disappearing lips can reveal displeasure.
A true smile that comes from pure emotion uses different muscles than an artificial smile. Only when someone is feeling real happiness can a real smile be displayed.
A true smile forces the corners of the mouth up, to the point in which someone actually lifts the ears, creating laugh lines to appear on either side of the mouth, that can extend to the corners of the eyes.
However, with a forced smile, it will never leave the lips.
Concern can also be expressed by concealing lips. When lips tighten like they are almost out of sight, this can be a display of anxiety, stress, or perhaps concealing information.
Tightened lips can be a revealing signpost that the person is shutting down.
Nosing Your Way to the Truth.
Flaring the nostrils or widening them can indicate someone is angry, or ready for a fight. However, flaring of nostrils can also mean someone is sexually aroused.
Flaring of nostrils usually means a person is about to engage in some kind of
If you look closely at the nose, you can see a subtle widening of the nostrils.
The Subconscious Tightening of the Jaw.
When a person tightens the jaw, it usually is a sign of passive anxiety. People will tighten or clench their jaw in response to a stressful situation. A person in a conversation that clenches their teeth, or works the jaw is usually indicative of disagreement or anger.
Understanding the basics of body language can help you in business, in relationships, to avoid confrontation, or even to influence a change of someone’s mindset.
Simply by being more observant of change can put you ahead of the rest of the pack.
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