Have you ever given a presentation and desperately wanted to know if your audience was actually interested? Have you ever wanted to know what a person was really thinking about when talking to you? Have you ever wanted to know if you were being lied to? If any of your answers is a ‘yes’, then there is good news in store for you. Human minds CAN be read!
But there’s a catch: you don’t just hear the persons’ thoughts inside your head (leave that one for the movies). You know what they are thinking by studying their body language. By noticing the way people move their heads, hands and legs, how they walk, talk and carry themselves around, you have a good chance of knowing what they are thinking.
Body language is as old as communication itself. In the 1970s, Albert Mehrabian, a professor of psychology, established that when people communicate:
- 55 per cent of the message comes from the body (gestures and facial expressions)
- 38 per cent is in the way the words are being said (the tone, pitch and speed of voice)
- Only 7 per cent of the meaning comes from actual words!
If only 7 per cent of meaning is from the words being said, then focusing on the other 93 per cent becomes paramount to understanding communication. Learning body language is not that hard but requires that one become highly observant. By becoming an expert in non-verbal communication, you don’t just read minds but also communicate more effectively with others. You learn the right gestures and moves to make in order to bypass the conscious mind and influence people.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you want to build a successful relationship with someone, you could very effectively build rapport with them, without them realizing, by mimicking their body language. This technique is known as matching and mirroring. Because it is done without being obvious to the conscious mind, people become drawn to you without even knowing why!
It’s interesting to know that by simply positioning yourself with your back to the door in a meeting, you have the least level of authority when you speak. Standing at the center of a room and moving around attracts the most attention from people. Folded arms or crossed legs means putting a barrier to other people. Enlarged pupils mean that we are looking at something that we like. Tilting the head to a slight angle is a sign of interest. Placing the hands on the hips make one look aggressive, etc, etc.
One thing that you should be careful about regarding body language is that they detect feelings but not personality. In order to determine one’s personality through body language, you must study them at different times. When they are angry, sad or happy. Alternatively, you could use graphology (the study of handwriting) and personology (face reading) to get a clearer picture of who a person really is.
There are many books and articles that can teach you body language. Google them and find the one that suits you the most. The more you study and practice, the more you become a pro. And then you’ll find yourself fluent in body language in no time!