Uncovering the Secrets of Body Language
Non-verbal communication remains something of a mystery, our brains are attuned to picking up on the smallest of signals without our conscious ability to decipher what is being portrayed. Because of this, some signals are either too subtle to be noticed properly, or missed altogether. Studies in body language basics are used by Fortune 500 company headhunters, advertising executives, and within criminal justice techniques like investigation and interrogation procedures, profiling, and with defense attorneys – even in something as seemingly insignificant as hand selecting jury members. By knowing how to accurately read a person’s non-verbal communications, we learn how to get what we want most out of every encounter.
In 1971, UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian stated the “7-38-55 principle” which says that 55 percent of what you say when you speak audibly comes from body language, 38 percent from the tone you use when you speak and only 7 percent from the words you choose. Without verbal cues, we are left to decipher someone’s intended meaning through clues in how they are behaving, which aren’t always accurate without learning what to look for. Within settings that are noisy and crowded, like bars, restaurants or night clubs, it is even more important to know how to pick up on these clues that aren’t said, but implied through body language so we can figure out our date’s meaning without them having to shout it from across a table. This also means that your potential partner will assume there is a connection to them by your ability to know what they mean without their having to spell it out for you, which puts you many notches up on both the intelligence factor as well as the all important connection women are looking for in a date.
There are many parts of our body we wouldn’t automatically assume do the talking for us, so to dig a bit deeper to allow insight into this phenomenon we’ll take each body part through discussion to see just how this is done, and how to interpret it correctly as well as convey your own subliminal messaging. A group that has dedicated themselves to non-verbal communication deciphering called “The Nonverbal Group” has provided some short videos that address this with quick tips that you can watch for, and may never have considered important before.
Body Language Basics:
Your hair and how you style it says a lot about you, as much as it will for your date. It can speak to the kind of day you’re having, as well as what sort of person you are in terms of neatness, hygiene and organization. A person who has had a bad day will usually have tousled hair from running their hands through it; a woman will usually have it up in a messy ponytail and it can be discerned that the person doesn’t have it all together, whether it means just for that day or in general. Messy hair signifies a disorganized personality or someone who doesn’t put a high priority on looking their best. This can also be interpreted as a sign of low self esteem. A well groomed person however, says exactly the opposite. The person will be looked at as someone who has life firmly under control, cares about their personal hygiene, and cares about themselves and the impression they make on others. Someone can take this to mean that the same quality of care will be transferred to anything that the person feels is important to them, be it work, home or relationships.
Your face is a massive source of information, and what is incredible is knowing that the smallest of expressions, called “micro-expressions” are the strongest indicators we have, and the least noticed. Centered around our eyes and mouths, these tiny signals can tell us whether someone is being genuine or false regardless what they’re saying, and the expressions are gone within fractions of a second. When a person smiles genuinely, they do so with their entire face. Eyes twinkle and crinkle around the corners, the smile is broad and goes up at the corners. A person who is hiding something or outright lying, even the kind considered a “white lie” to save a friend’s pride by telling him his suit looks great or his tie is straight, can hide a grimace by pulling the corners of the lips back slightly or raising eyebrows – a traditional sign of discomfort at odds with what is being said. These micro-expressions have been long studied most especially by criminal profilers, and can often be the only thing that helps them determine someone’s wrongdoing and to get them to confess. Because these expressions are gone within milliseconds, it’s important to recognize them quickly.
It’s been long said that our eyes are the windows into our soul, and that is only true if someone knows what to look for, or just happens to be highly perceptive by nature. Few of us are born with that innate gift, and can easily be misled. Tests given to study recipients who claimed initially that they could tell if someone was being in-genuine with them, were surprised to learn that they were wrong over 70% of the time. Eye contact is a sensitive thing because balance must be maintained between making eye contact for too long, which comes across as creepy and staring, and creates at best an awkward moment, and at worst, feelings of discomfort bordering on aggression. Prolonged eye contact is seen by most of the animal kingdom as a challenge, and a sign of dominance over the person being stared at. This is why dogs will sometimes become aggressive with young children, whose pervasive stare out of blatant curiosity triggers a feeling in the dog of needing to assert dominance. When you’re just beginning to get to know a person, you want to ensure you’re not coming on too strongly and gazing at someone too long is not the way to create feelings of comfort and ease. After you have been on a few dates, and a level of comfort and security has been established, prolonged eye contact can actually stimulate sexual arousal in women and be seen as a sexual invitation. Alternately, staring into the eyes of someone you have just met without looking away can also be interpreted as deceit and an attempt to hide something. Blinking rapidly in women is a telltale sign that she’s into you, and winking is never a good idea unless it’s done by texts or on social media. In person it comes across as shallow, pretentious and too casual or cavalier.
Neck and Chin
Though these areas don’t move as much as the other parts of the body discussed, they’re no less important in terms of interpretation. Things like obstinacy and stubbornness are portrayed by the raising of the chin, paired with crossed arms; it can also be looked at as a sign of snobbishness or elitism. Nobody wants to feel as though they’re being looked down upon. Constantly looking at the ceiling or around the room with your entire head, craning your neck, can be viewed as a sign that you have no interest in what your partner is saying, or are looking for an escape. In contrast, holding your head high and even, looking at your date’s face promotes self confidence loud and clear as a sign of poise and attraction to the opposite sex.
Be sure to watch for the second part of this article, “Uncovering the Secrets of Body Language” (Part 2) coming soon!