Body Language Speaks Volumes
How to read body language
Up to 93 % of communication is non-verbal. Including tone of voice, eye movement, posture, hand gestures, facial expressions and more. The pressure of body language can especially be felt in emotional situations. Body language usually prevails over words. Are you good at reading body language?
The eyes communicate more than any other part of the human anatomy. Staring or gazing at others can create pressure and tension in the room. Gangs have fought over the way someone looked at them. Researcher suggests that individuals who can routinely out gaze another develop a sense of control and power over others not so inclined. Maintained eye contact can show if a person is trustworthy, sincere or caring. Shifty eyes, too much blinking can suggest deception. People with eye movements that are relaxed and comfortable yet attentive to the person they are conversing with are seen as more sincere and honest.
Eyebrow muscle draws the eyebrows down and toward the center of the face if someone is annoyed. If someone is empathetic and caring during dialogue the eyebrows will not show the annoyed facial grimace.
The smile: There are 50 or so different types of human smiles. By analyzing the movements of over 80 facial muscles involved in smiling, researchers can tell when a smile is true. Look for the crinkle in the skin at the middle, outside corner of the eyes and if it is not there, the smile is probably fake. Authentic smiles are smiles that “crest” or change rapidly from a small facial movement to a broad open expression.
Bodily cues are the most reliable of all nonverbal signals of deception to help you read body language. This is because a person generally has less conscious control over these than other signals. (Springer, 1996; Ekman & Friesen, 1974). Hand-to-face gestures and shrugs are strong markers of deception. Playing with or touching things nearby during conversations has been found to be associated with deception (Cody & O’Hair, 1983). Deceivers also are likely to have increased illustrator activity–quick and animated use of hands/arms during speech.
Vocal cues can predict deception. More and lengthier pauses during conversation; a lot of such sounds as “uh,” “um,” word repetitions; intruding sounds not part of the actual speech, less lengthy answers or explanations where they would be expected to be.
Space is important. Personal space is needed and if it is invaded intentionally and at times by oversight can cause an individual to feel uncomfortable or threatened. Studies have shown that individuals that do not respect others space are less popular and often rejected by others.
Gestures communicate. Hand signals can communicate without the use of any speech.
Touching communicates. Touching can be friendly or it can be aggressive. The way a person stands reflects their level of confidence and comfort level. If a person stands tall so to speak they are seen as more confident. If someone is standing with their hands on their hips that can indicate aggression or alertness. See our recommended reading list on body language and gestures.
When you interact socially develop your listening and observations skills. The above are a guide for looking for the clues to deception they are not fool proof.
Watch your body language. Avoid shifting eyes and head quickly during conversation when someone asks you a question. Do not look down or to the side. Look directly at the person with a sense of confidence but not overbearing or threatening in nature. See article Body Language – Is yours turning people away?
Note: If you want to win someone over a good rule of thumb is to mirror his or her body language. Read their body language and follow their lead.