I’ve always considered myself good at reading people. My past was rather traumatic, so in order to protect myself from “bad people”, my body developed a keen sense of understanding of body language. I can usually tell when someone is lying or angry, for example. I can also sense quite a few other emotions from the other person. I developed this skill by simply observing people that I interacted with. So, I know I have this skill, but I don’t know how it works. It’s just something that happens naturally. That is why I need to read books like: Body Language: What You Need to Know – to understand myself.
As I was reading this book, I realized that all humans have the same ability as me. Most people just don’t feel the need to pay attention to it. Well, I can tell you that knowing what to look for in people’s expression can be a sure way to change the result of the conversation from one to something completely else. If you are good at reading people, you can avoid conflicts before they even happen, and you also start being able to tell when people are ready to accept whatever you have to tell them.
Knowing body language will help you deliver your message clearer. Confidence is something we all lack in the beginning, but we can develop that skill as well. I’d say confidence is about 60% how you imagine yourself, and 40% body language, and how you present yourself. I don’t have scientific data to prove my claim, that’s just how I see it. Some others would claim something different, but I still believe how you think to be the most important factor in appearing confident to others.
No matter where you are in life, you will have to interact with people, and if you know what to look for – it will make everything easier for you in the moment to moment, but especially in the long run.
Did you know for example that people who are lying, touch the back of their neck and their nose? This actually is what the fable of Pinocchio’s nose growing when he is lying is based off of. This phenomenon is caused by increased blood flow when you are nervous and trying to think up a convenient lie, and it’s something we do subconsciously. We touch your neck and nose because the increased blood flow causes us to feel slight discomfort. For some people their noses turn bright red when they are lying.
Other interesting facts about body language are for example the signs of nervousness. Any kind of touch on your own body can be a sign of nervousness. Crossing your legs or feet, rubbing your fingers or hands together – any kind of fidgeting can be a sign of the person being nervous. How about when someone is getting upset or angry? Look at people’s faces as they speak, because it can be quite revealing. I’ll add a a link to a website I found interesting (really, check it out – its pretty funny, as well as informative!) as well as a picture from the same website:
In fact, I’m sure you already knew about this expression. We read people subconsciously all the time, and this is one more obvious expression changes we face (pun intended). Now, the difference of course is, once you know what to look for, you can start to think how to defuse the situation, so that the other person’s face doesn’t go from a frown to angry.
The key to note here is, once you know about body language, you will automatically start paying more attention to it – this time consciously rather than just subconsciously. Not only in others, but yourself as well. You can teach yourself to be a body language ‘expert’ (or at least good at reading people) by simply observing yourself and others. You can also teach yourself not to do something that’s obviously making you look less confident, for example.
I’ve taken this excerpt from yet another website: (this website seemed a little sketchy, but facts are facts.)
“So where does the number come from? Dr. Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, conducted several studies on nonverbal communication. He found that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc). Subtracting the 7% for actual vocal content leaves one with the 93% statistic.
The fact of the matter is that the exact number is irrelevant. Knowing that communication is specifically 75% nonverbal or 90% nonverbal holds no practical applications. The important part is that most communication is nonverbal. In fact, nonverbal behavior is the most crucial aspect of communication.”
This book wasn’t all encompassing, it couldn’t be, because there’s a lot of studies on different types of body language, but I think it’s a very solid start for anyone interested in body language. It might even spark your interest in the subject even more, as it is quite fascinating to learn more about yourself as you read. Could not recommend it more.
If you got interested and want to buy the book, you can find it here: Body Language: What You Need to Know
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