Understanding body language
As most of you know, I’m incredibly interested in psychology and understanding people. Most of you have asked, how can you understand people quickly… and my response is to watch their body language.
You see, people can lie with their words, but their body language is controlled by the subconscious mind, and therefore, unless trained, a person cannot lie with their bodies. So let’s talk about different body languages and what they mean.
The posture is very easy to read. Someone who walks tall and strong is usually a very confident person, in comparison a person walking with slumped shoulders tends to be doubtful and insecure.
Someone who has a very open posture is essentially inviting people in and aims to create a safe space. Someone with a closed body language is feeling in danger and is aiming to protect themselves against whatever may happen.
Someone facing you and standing very close, with strong eye contact, is trying to intimidate you. Here’s a trick, if you want to get close to someone without making them feel uncomfortable, stand next to them facing a different direction. You can come very close to them without them feeling uncomfortable.
- Limb movements
Crossed arms and legs are usually a sign of distrust or disagreement. For example on first dates this is the most common sign, because when you go on a first date you’re not sure what to expect, so you protect yourself.
In most cases, our feet point to the person that we like. It is a very unconscious movement, but if you want to tell if someone is interested in you, see where there feet are when they are speaking to you. If their feet are pointed away from you, this means they are intending to walk away.
When someone touches their nose or mouth, usually this means that their previous statement was a lie. When their nails on in their mouths, this is usually a sign of nervousness or stress.
If they are tapping a desk and shaking their leg on a regular basis, this means that are getting impatient or bored with the conversation.
- Facial expressions
When someone puts their hand on their chin, it usually means they are deep in thought. Whenever they give you this body language, try refrain from speaking and let them go through the thought process.
If they tilt their eye brows up, it’s usually a sign of surprise. Either something you said or did was not what they were expecting. If the smile or laugh afterwards it means it was a good surprise. If they don’t smile and look a bit off, it means that your surprise had a negative effect on them.
If someone is pulling their ear lobe, this means that they are trying to make a decision. Again, give the person some time to think, but also clarify what they are unsure about to help them make a decision.
Tilting the head can mean a lot of things. For example if they tilt their head, frown their eye brows, this usually means that they are disagreeing with what you have said.
Eyes are the windows to the soul and can tell you so much about the person. Firstly, you have to observe how much eye contact this person makes. Strong, constant eye contact represent trust, connection and confidence. If someone is comfortable looking at you it’s a great sign. Alternatively if someone avoids eye contact it means they are not comfortable with you, or they are trying to hide something or they don’t feel very good about themselves.
Secondly, the way eyes move tells you if the person is auditory, visual or kinetic. Auditory people are all about sounds, they are lovers of music. They resonate better with phrases like;
- Do you hear me?
- Did that sound right?
Visual people are all about pictures and images. They resonate better with phrases like;
- I see your point.
- What will that look like?
Kinetic people are all about feelings and emotions. They resonate better with phrases like;
- I feel that this works better.
- What is your gut saying?
When you know what kind of person they are (i.e. auditory, visual or kinetic) you can use those phrases to build strong rapport and trust. Instead of speaking in your style, try accommodate theirs.
The way you can tell if they are auditory, visual or kinetic is by their eye movements. Movements towards the side are auditory. Movements upwards are visual and movements downwards are kinetic.
With body language, it’s incredibly important to see things in clusters. For example, someone might nod with everything that you are saying, but they have crossed arms and legs, their posture is completely closed and they are shaking their legs, this probably means that the date is not going so well. Even though she is nodding, which seems like a good thing, she is very closed off and feeling impatient. Don’t just look at one area, but look at the whole package and then you can sense how someone is truly feeling.
Much love, Laurens
For more videos please go to www.laurensboel.com