It is tricky to read other’s body language but if read correctly, which comes with practice, then it certainly gives a boost to making right day to day decisions concerning you. Let’s take an example of the trickiness involved. If someone is crossing his arms, you may assume that he’s closed off, when in fact he is just feeling cold.
Nonetheless, despite the risks involved, when you’re working hard and doing all you can to achieve your goals, anything that can give you an edge is powerful and bound to streamline your path to success.
More than a million people were tested and it was found that the upper echelons of top performers are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence (90 percent of top performers, to be exact). These people know the power that unspoken signals have in communication, and they monitor body language accordingly.
Here are few quick tricks to read people’s body language correctly so as to gauge what goes on through their minds while they interact
1Smile – Real smiles crinkle the eyes
Person’s smile is one of the biggest mirror that reflects what is going on in your mind. If you try to fake a smile, your mouth can lie but your eyes can’t. A real smile reaches the eyes, crinkling the skin to create crow’s feet around them. Sometimes people fake smile to hide what they are thinking but you can judge if the smile is genuine or not. If the smile isn’t genuine, they are hiding something.
2Eyes – Eyes that lie
Most of us probably grew up hearing, “Look in my eyes when you talk to me!” Our parents were operating under the assumption that it’s tough to hold someone’s gaze when you’re lying to them, and they were right to an extent. But that’s such common knowledge that people will often deliberately hold eye contact in an attempt to cover up the fact that they’re lying. The problem is that most of them overcompensate and hold eye contact to the point that it feels uncomfortable. On average, Americans hold eye contact for seven to ten seconds, longer when we’re listening than when we’re talking. If you’re talking with someone whose stare is making you squirm -especially if they’re very still and unblinking. Something is up and they might be lying you.
3Eyebrows – Raised eyebrows signalling discomfort
There are three main emotions that make your eyebrows go up: surprise, worry, and fear. Try raising your eyebrows when you’re having a relaxed casual conversation with a friend. It’s hard to do, isn’t it? If somebody who is talking to you raises their eyebrows and the topic isn’t one that would logically cause surprise, worry, or fear, there is something else going on.
4Posture – Posture tells the story
Posture of a person can tell a lot of things about the person. Erect posture, gestures made with the palms facing down, and open and expansive gestures have large effect on what’s going in person’s mind. Standing up straight with your shoulders back is a power position. Slouching, on the other hand, projects less power. Try to maintain a good posture as it commands respect and promotes engagement.
5Gritted jaw – Reflects stress
A gritted jaw, a tightened neck, or a furrowed brow are all signs of stress. Regardless of what the person is saying, these are signs of considerable discomfort. The conversation might be delving into something they’re anxious about, or their mind might be elsewhere and they’re focusing on the thing that’s stressing them out. The key is to watch for that mismatch between what the person says and what their tense body language is telling you.
6Crossed arms & legs – Signals resistance to your ideas
Crossed arms and legs are physical barriers that suggest the other person is not open to what you’re saying. Even if they’re smiling and engaged in a pleasant conversation, their body language tells the story. Gerard I. Nierenberg and Henry H. Calero videotaped more than 2,000 negotiations for a book they wrote on reading body language, and not a single one ended in an agreement when one of the parties had their legs crossed while negotiating. Psychologically, crossed legs or arms signal that a person is mentally, emotionally, and physically blocked off from what’s in front of them. It’s not intentional, which is why it’s so revealing.
These tricks for reading body language can make it very easy to tell how those around you are feeling, and if what they’re saying to you is truthful or not. Try these out today and you might just learn something interesting about your co-workers, friends, and/or family members.