How to Read Body Language and Influence Others | How to persuade people | James Borg
August 15, 2019
You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so think of your body language like it’s your auto biography in motion. It’s a way of communicating to the world how you’re feeling and thinking beyond just words. And by getting good at reading other people’s body language, as well as understanding and controlling your own, you’ll be able to improve your interactions with everyone. So today I’l be talking about Body Language: How to know what’s really be said” by James Borg And begin by discussing the fundamentals like the 55, 38, 7 Rule, the 3 C’s, The difference between open and closed body language, and then we’ll work our way from the head to the feet. First, let’s start with the famous 55, 38, 7 Rule That is 55% of communication is your posture and what you look like 38% is how you say stuff, like your pitch, your tone, how quickly you speak and how long you pause between sentences, and the last 7% is the actual words you say Now some people misinterpret this rule by thinking that words are not important as long you look confident, project the right impression, dress to kill and then deliver your words with the right seductive pitch and tone. Instead think of it this way, if your of 55% visual body language is bad, they won’t even stick around to listen to the 38%. And similarly if your 38% of how you sound is bad, then they won’t stick around to listen your 7% of words. So words are still very important! How many times have you thought at a party, at work, or on a date, that things were going good until they opened their mouth? The next thing to keep in mind are the 3 C’s: Context, Congruence and cluster A person with their arms crossed does not always mean they’re angry or being defensive, the person could just simply be cold. So You always have to look at the context Next, if there’s a mismatch on the 55, 38, 7 rule, we’ll believe the higher one by default. So if you said in an honest tone that you didn’t eat my Cake but you’re rubbing your belly, then I’ll believe my eyes. Now the last C is Cluster. It’s usually unwise to judge a single gesture for meaning, so we should always look for clusters of gestures to interpret body language. With so many muscles in the human body, it’s not easy to fake body language. No matter how good you think you are at controlling your anatomy, there will always be ‘leakage’ that give away your true feelings. We all pick up the subtle clues that others are sending out even though we may not be conscious of it. And of course other people are doing the same with us. With that said, increasing your awareness is the first step to becoming a body language expert. So start paying attention to people’s actions and words as well as your own. Look at people’s postures, gestures and facial expressions from a distance, and try to deduce whether they are having an argument, a friendly conversation, flirting or whatever. Just don’t underestimate the power of awareness. Next it’s important to learn the difference between Open and Closed body language. Open body language can be hands being in view, possibly with exposed palms, suggesting you’re vulnerable to others but you’re comfortable about it. It can also include good eye contact, with your legs and posture being free. Closed body language is what we tend to do during ‘fight or flight’ situations where we make the body appear smaller and to look for barriers to shield ourselves from the threat. This can be bringing the limbs closer to our body or crossing our arms or legs, This can also be little eye contact, or even closing our eyes when someone is talking. Open body language usually means comfortable and closed body language usually means discomfort As an exercise, put yourself in a closed position, and notice, how it’ll change your mood. Then observe other people and note how you perceive them. Then do this again in an open position. Remember, that your body affects your mind just as much as your mind affects your body. Leonardo da Vinci says the eyes are “the mirror to the soul. Now it may surprise you that most communication is conveyed through the eyes more than any other part of the body. One of the simplest ways to ignore someone is to look away. I’m sure we’ve all done this when walking by a sales person. Failing to make eye contact sends the signal that you’re untrustworthy, uninterested or not confident. The eyes are so powerful that a gaze held just a few seconds longer than usual can be extremely powerful. But it’s important to look away from time to time to release the tension. Otherwise people can subconsciously put you in the “I don’t trust this person category,” if you stare too long Now with business and strangers focus your gaze high, and between their eyes or around their forehead. With friends, focus between their eyes and mouth. On an intimate level and when flirting, focus below the chin, long enough to show interest, then gaze back to their eyes. Be careful with this one, but if a person’s eyes move up, they might be accessing an imagine or visualizing something. If they’re looking down, they might be accessing a feeling. And Left or right might be accessing some sort of sound. Next, An Average blink is 8-15 times a minute. If someone is blinking rapidly or they flutter their eyelid’s, that could mean the person is anxious, sad, embarrassed or even trying to hide something. Also, if you watch political interviews or just any 2 people interact, you might notice the person who feels more superior tends to blink less. Lastly, the eyes are also important in determining if a smile is real. Imagine how a host of a party might smile as he greets a guest he doesn’t like and was just forced to invite, vs. someone you know he genuinely likes. In fake or social smiles, the mouth tends to move side ways. In True smiles the mouth tends to curve up, the eyes and cheeks are involved, it’s symmetric and tends to show teeth. Next, surveys have shown that the most charismatic, popular and successful people are great listeners We should listen using all our senses, and understand that the true message is often not relayed through the words being spoken. This is why awareness is so important. It’s also important to learn how much nodding helps in developing rapport. You can nod to show encouragement, to show you’re still listening, to show you understand, to say yes to a fact, and to show you agree. Lack of nodding can make the speaker think you’re not paying attention or you’re not interested Studies have even shown that nodding can allow you to draw out as much as 4 times more information Next, it’s good technique to imitate someone’s body language to build rapport, but don’t completely copy. Then you can lead them to a more open posture. But try to avoid a closed posture, especially if you disagree with something, as that can be contagious. Remember, If you breathe deeply from the abdomen, it gives you a more relaxed and confident sound. Also remember that good posture, is essential for good speech and image. A good technique to keep your posture in check, is to scan your body from head to toe as you inhale, and then scan back to your head as you exhale. With enough practice, you’ll be able to do this scan repeatedly even while in conversation, and it will also improve your awareness. The most effective speakers on stage use a lot of hand gestures. Research has shown that having your palms up as opposed to down is more likely to cause your listeners to interpret your ‘message’ positively. We tend to associate an ‘open’ hand with friendliness, honesty and trust. On the opposite side, palms down or pointing finger conveys dominance or authority. Clasped hands conveys a state of conflict and tension. The higher the hands are, the higher the resistance. Steepling hands conveys confidence and wisdom, consider trying them in a meeting or interview Interlaced fingers is associated with nervousness or defensive. But when combined with a thumbs up it conveys a positive gesture hands behind back shows confidence, and it’s one of my favourites. But if a hand is gripping the wrist or arm of the other, then that usually signals nervousness The Hand to face does not necessarily mean boredom. Sometimes it’s a switch to intensify concentration. If the hand is folded into a fist, then the person may have heard something disturbing. But remember Cluster, and focus on the eyes as well to confirm Next, The Hand covering mouth usually conveys disagreement Folded arms can convey discomfort, aggression, at times confidence, but is usually some sort of defence barrier When I’m trying to persuade someone especially in sales, I might give them a drink or get the person to do something or look at something, to get them to uncross their arms, because I know as long as they remain in that position, their attitude will not change. Partial arms crossed are very common with woman, and often means discomfort or nervousness. Similarly women are more likely to do the hand to neck gesture, which is a way to comfort themselves. Men are more likely to put their hand under their chin. We are conditioned to turn towards things and people we like. So if a girl is flirting with two guys, check which direction her lower body is facing to see who she is more interested in. And if you’re in a conversation and the person turns their lower body, it could be that they need or want to go. Don’t underestimate the lower body especially for detaching lies. Kids early on learn how to lie with their facial expressions. But as you move down the body towards the feet, people are less and less trained. Next, the one day you can be as good as me pose can show arrogance, and can irritate many people, even if it’s not directed at them. Lastly, proximity is very important. You can often tell how close two people are based on how close they are interacting. We all have our own personal bubble. You can be rejected if you enter someone’s bubble too quickly. Now for 3 things to be cautious about #1 Habits can play a factor. It’s important to first establish a baseline before trying to really interpret someone’s body language. And if you haven’t met a person before, you won’t know their baseline and vice versa. #2 Culture can play a factor. Thumbs up can mean the one number 1 in Germany, number 5 in Japan and “up yours” if thrusted upwards like you’re hitch hiking when done in Australia. #3 It’s important to know the science of body language is not an exact science. Humans are very complex beings and nothing can ever be straightforward. Now, it’s true some people will just naturally be better at reading body language or controlling their own than others. But just like sports, you can improve yours. While you may never match the gifted fews, you can definitely improve. So with enough practice, you might just become a human lie detector, develop an amazing poker face, ace that interview and even improve your love life. Thanks for watching!