More Comments On Reading Body Language

. Some negative body language includes arms being crossed defensively, the body tilted slightly backwards and a frown on the face

. Always match your tone of voice to the message you are delivering. And remember: a genuine smile is audible in the voice

. Do not drop your voice at the end of a sentence it is dispiriting

. Over‐assertive gestures, such as banging a table or other signs of anger, can alienate people

. Keep your distance by leaving an acceptable distance between people. This distance changes depending on situations; for instance, guests at a social gathering stand closer to each other than strangers in a non‐social situation. Generally, people who live in rural areas stand further apart than city dwellers. If in doubt about appropriate spacing when standing with others, leave a personal space of around 1 metre

. If you are feeling tense, take a slow, deep breath

. Make sure you that are not unintentionally wearing a hostile expression

. Practise a range of gestures in front of a mirror to find those that look natural for you. Gesturing with your hand adds emphasis. This emphasis can be signalled by a chopping motion, shaking a fist, smacking your fist into an open palm, or by spreading your palm, etc

Remember that it is the cluster or combination of signals, rather than any single gesture, that is important. If someone rubs his eyes, they may genuinely be itchy, sore or tired. You need to see at least 3 signals before you can assume that the person is lying


. There are involuntary signs that are revealed when you are not telling the truth, ie

"...moving the head a lot when talking, repeatedly touching the face, too much (too little) eye contact, sweating and dilated pupils, remembering too few or too many details, delivering abrupt answers to questions and leaving long gaps, or no gaps at all, before answering questions. Repetitious 'ums' and "ahs', too are a bit of a giveaway......voice quality changes......everyone has a specific set of facial 'give away clues' ‐ what the poker players would call a ' tell'. When Mrs Thatcher publicly denied that she ordered the sinking of the General Belgrano, for instance, her eyelids engaged in a brief but rapid flutter. When Kim Philby denied being the 'third man' who tipped off Burgess and McLean that their cover as double agents had been blown, his right inner eyebrow made a quick involuntary flicker. TV footage of former US President Bill Clinton has, unsurprisingly, also undergone some quite thorough investigation by those interested in the science of lying.......noted a range of changes in Clinton's body language when he publicly denied having sex with Monica Lewinsky......compared with his public interview when he was sworn in as President. During the interview about Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton showed a 250 percent increase in hand‐to‐face touching, and a 355 percent increase in drinking and swallowing. Meantime his stuttering rate increased by 1,400 percent, and other errors in speech by 1,700..."

Robert Winston, 2003

At the same time, it should be acknowledged that the interview about Monica Lewinsky was in a very different context, ie he would be feeling more aggressive than when he was sworn in a President

Linking speaking and thinking

The way people speak shows how they think. Thinking preferences can be categorised by choice of phrase. Categories include:

. Visual (I see where you're coming from)

. Auditory (this sounds like to problem to me)

. Kinistec (I can do it)

Adopting a similar posture and using the same gestures can create empathy. Furthermore, after initially mirroring their posture and language, you can subtly and slowly change your posture and language to suit what you are communicating, such as if they are sitting defensively, mirror their posture and then slowly change it to a more open one, ie leaning slightly forward, direct eye contact with a closed mouth smile and slightly clasped hands.

(sources: Alan Pease et al, 2002; Rosaline Scandar, 2002; Annabel Hepworth, 2004; Roger E Axtell, 1998; Mark Frank, 2002; John Edwards et al, 1997; Catherine Fox, 2005; Robert Winston, 2003; Dennis Hall, 2006 Amanda Cooper, 1996; Rose‐Anne Manns, 2007a; Martyn Newman, 2007; Deirde Macken, 2008; David Rock et al, 2006a; Anne Eisenberg, 2013) 

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