Unveiling the Mystery of Body Language – Article 3
Wielding your weapon with the general understanding of body language can almost make you a mind-reader. So-called psychics use body language and facial expressions to allow them to get into the psyche of their client by making subtle suggestions, and watching the client’s reaction.
But body language can be used in a range of situations. Think about it. Perhaps you are at work negotiating a contract. Watch the people’s reactions when you talk about certain elements of the contract. Perhaps they react with anxiety – unconsciously biting their lip or shaking their head without them even realising they are doing it. The person’s jaw may clench, eyes slightly narrowed. These are indicators that the person is either anxious about the topic just discussed, or they disagree with it.
From this, you know that topic needs to be dealt with carefully in order to get what you want. In contrast, if an element of the contract seems to disinterest the other parties, then you may have the leeway to push a little harder with that area without opposition.
Remember though, if or when you decide to use these skills of observation, you need to make sure you do so from the beginning. The key in understanding another person’s body language is the change from their baseline. If you haven’t established the change from one expression to another, it will be very difficult to tell if their reaction is in context with what is being discussed, or something completely unrelated.
Influencing or Manipulating?
Learning and understanding body language and Neuro-Linguistic Programming can easily be misunderstood. Some may unfairly assume that both areas manipulate a person’s thinking, by using their skills to change or alter a person’s perception through suggestion techniques.
In some cases, that could be true. Both techniques combined make a powerful force to alter how a person thinks or feels. Merely by encouraging a person to stand straight, shoulders back, and relaxing tense muscles, can all contribute to changing how a person feels at that point in time. Linking that with NLP anchoring techniques, a person can gradually increase in confidence.
Being conscious of our own body language can be useful in a variety of situations. Whether it be in public speaking, or just wanting a roomful of people to listen to you. Becoming a newly appointed boss also requires you to appear confident. Or merely being in a social situation, and not wanting to appear out-of-place. Changing one’s body language to match what you want to feel puts out a message to others.
Even those that don’t understand body language, they can still pick up on low self-confidence. It is very rare for people to take notice of someone that slumps their shoulders, constantly looking down or away. Appearing confident dramatically changes another person’s perception, even if you do not feel confident, concentrate on at least looking it. As the saying goes, ‘fake it until you make it’.
Even when we change our own body language, we can actually influence how another person perceives the situation.
Take a dating example. The man/woman is clearly uncomfortable – their eyes dart around the restaurant, lips occasionally compressing, smile not going past the lips. What do you do? You want to make this person more comfortable to enable a better discussion to take place.
In order to revert their body language, you need to make sure you are displaying openness in yours. Give your date a genuine smile, allowing it to almost reach your ears. Body language should be open, arms wide, hands visible, body slightly forward to show you are interested in hearing what that person has to say.
This technique is very useful in two ways – one being the desired result. Your open body language encourages/influences the other person to be more comfortable with you, perhaps even mirroring your body language by giving you a genuine smile, opening up their body language like yours. Thus, automatically helping them relax more.
However, there is another reason to do this. If the other person does not relax, if their smile remains fake, body language closed off, perhaps hands in their lap, eyes darting around, as though looking for an exit. You can pretty much tell this person has something to hide. Something is preventing them from properly relaxing with you.
Now, it may merely be they had a bad day, in which continually encouraging them to open up with you by keeping open body language may reveal that to be the case. Or simply they might not have interest in you. However, if the person continues throughout the date like this, not revealing much, but yet wants to see you again, there is a high likelihood they are indeed hiding something.
Remember, hidden hands can be a key to revealing that person is ‘hiding’ something else…
Body language and facial expressions are more than just tools in your toolkit of understanding someone. They are a means of changing perceptions, changing feelings; and ultimately, changing the influence you have on others.
Unveiling the Mystery of Body Language – Article 2
It’s not what they reveal in their baseline behaviour, but the change from that behaviour to something quite different.
As a student of 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. But that doesn’t really tell me much. Instead, it is observing people that change from one behaviour to another that exposes what is actually going on.
That is why people in law enforcement talk so much about establishing baseline behaviour. It is crucial at any point if you are wanting to find out if someone is lying or omitting something, that their baseline behaviour is first established. That way, when you go to the line of questioning you really want to address, you can immediately see a change of behaviour; and that is what really gives it away.
Now, some people may ask, “well, if it is that clear cut, why do people in law enforcement not immediately know if someone is guilty?”
Unfortunately, body language is not 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.
So, how important is it to know more about body language? Well, 38% comes from vocal tone, while 55% comes from body language. It is even thought that around 90% of our communication to others is through our body language, without even consciously knowing we are doing it.
A lot of people look for exaggerated displays of body language, but often, it is the subtle displays that are truly revealing.
Body language in relationships can even divulge what the other person is feeling. It may seem out of nowhere, your partner suddenly wants to end the relationship, while you didn’t even think there was a problem with the relationship. But think about it. Was your partner withdrawing? Does your partner sleep further away from you, or is less affectionate? Do they sit on another chair instead of being close to you? Intimacy seems to have gone out the window.
Although very subtle signs, they are also very telling, revealing that inwardly your partner is withdrawing; thus, revealing so in increasing the space between you. However, if this is recognised early on, you can then try to make changes to help the relationship, or at least be prepared for when the relationship is over.
In a dating situation, does the other person lean closer toward you when you speak? Are their hands on the table close to yours, or in their lap? Do their eyes dart around the room, or mainly stay focused on you? What about their feet? Are their feet pointed straight ahead towards you, or in another direction?
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.
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?
Unveiling the Mystery of Body Language – Article 1
Body Language. We all display it, we all have certain tells that can give away what is going on in the subconscious. But how well do we really understand our own body language, and other’s body language?
In my first novel, Initiated to Kill, my main character Annabella Cordova is deaf; therefore, she has to communicate with others through sign language, facial expressions and body language. In all of my novels, much is revealed to Annabella merely from closely examining suspects to detect what lies within.
For Annabella this is her day-to-day life. Her skills at reading people have moulded her into what she has become in the subsequent novels. Her talent when knowing someone is lying helps her solve the seemingly unsolvable.
But what about the rest of us? Body language gives so much more away than what we could possibly imagine. Most of what we express through body language happens in a millisecond, and is beyond our control. While other expressions can be consciously controlled.
So, how important is it for us to be more in-tune with our body language, and other’s body language?
In a series of short articles, I will reveal some surprising facts about body language, and give you a little insight to how Annabella communicates.
As the saying goes “it’s not always what it seems…” That’s true with body language. You may be quite amazed what you discover…