Read My Lips, Hear My Hips

Posted on June 28, 2012 by Rebecca in General Health

Imagine if you could decipher a lie from the truth or know beforehand when “That’s fine, Honey” means “I’m going to resent this and drag it up later”. Us human beings are a dishonest bunch and sometimes, it pays to listen to what we do rather than what we say.

Australian guru Allan Pease, known internationally as ‘Mr. Body Language’ believes that you can learn the traits of typical body language and discover a world of knowledge about a person through how they communicate. This isn’t that surprising given that the mind tells how the body to react.  According to Pease it is “vital to display the right body language and recognise the signs in others to ‘read’ how they feel about the interaction.”

Read Between The Lines

You’re in love:

Lovers often match each other’s pace with one study suggesting they even matched heart rates! Lovers walk side by side, and keep as little distance between them as possible.

The love is lost:

You know love is disappearing when you start to fall out of sync. You stop touching, you keep physical distance, you stop looking them in the eye and you barely eat while they gorge.

The guy is interested in you:

He will point his feet towards you and start ‘grooming himself’ by touching his hair and clothes. When someone is attracted to you their pupils will dilate. Italian courtesans used to put Belladonna drops (a poison) in their eyes to fake attraction.

The boss means ‘no’ when they say ‘yes’:

A survey of 1580 workers found 79% believed body language said more of what their bosses thought than what the said. 87% also said their interpretation was usually correct. When you feel their words don’t reflect how they feel there are a few telltales signs. They shake their heard ‘no’ despite what they are saying. They scratch their nose or behind the ear or touch their face excessively. They are stiff, have frozen smiles, use limited hand movement or face their palms down. Closed fists are not a good sign.

Do As I Say, Not Say As I Do

What about your own behavior? Being conscious of your body language can make you more persuasive and project yourself as more confident. Better yet, Harvard researchers found if you adopt ‘power poses’ (like leaning back with hands behind your head) your cortisone levels (stress hormone) drop and your testosterone increases which means you feel more powerful.

If you really want people to like you, make sure you:

  • Gesticulate when talking – with your palms up and fingers together. Your friends will see you as open and non-aggressive and therefore more approachable.
  • Mirror their body language – this builds rapport quickly. By body language, Pease means posture, gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice.  After a while your friend will start to open up and before long, they’ll start to feel that there’s something about that they like – they’ll see you as easy going.
  • Smile – This is a no brainer, a smile at the beginning of a conversation right away establishes you as non-threatening.  Interestingly, through his own research, Pease concluded that women smile on average four times more than men! This is disastrous in business situations, where surrounded by a group of stern looking businessmen, your smile can be read as incompetent and a little ‘scatterbrained’! The advice then is to smile as you usually would but once again, mirror the amount you are receiving.

And What Not To Do:

  • Don’t fold your arms across your chest– it is an instant barrier and can foster a negative conversation. Interestingly a person’s recollection of what is said in a conversation decreases by up to 40% when they fold their arms while listening.
  • Remove your arms from inside your chair – Allow your elbows to sit on the armrest to convey a strong, powerful image. Apologetic, defeated and insecure people tend to let their arms droop inside the chair and are often seen as fearful or negative. Not something you wish to portray when you are going for your job interview.

Tapping into how people communication non-verbally can be a powerful tool in any situation; in relationships, at work or in negotiating a free upgrade on your flight to New York. Finally acting the part, being confident, contrary to how you actually feel may just impart a little spark in your step and make you realize that confidence, beauty and feeling good all comes from within.