Developing Your Body Literacy

I can understand how intimidating the study of body language can seem when you first consider it. There have been quite a few scholarly—and a few less-than-scholarly—works that describe in detail what every posture signifies, and what every gesture really means.

While I have no desire to discount the value of all the work that's been done on the subject, I will say that you already know the most important information, even if you aren't consciously aware of it. It's really very easy to "heaf' what another person's body language is saying to you, once you make a conscious effort to notice it.

Imagine, for example, that you are talking to someone, and you notice that she's keeping her arms folded tightly across her chest. Think about how you feel when you assume that same posture. One reason you might do it is that you are cold; folding your arms is an attempt to keep in your body heat and keep the chills at bay. But you also might assume this position if someone is making you uncomfortable, perhaps by being overbearing. Logically, then, if someone adopts this stance while talking to you, he or she is unconsciously trying to remain insulated from a source of discomfort. When you're confronted with such a situation, ask yourself what you might be doing, or saying, to make the person uncomfortable. Another possibility is that the person is shy or self-conscious, and he or she stands like that as a matter of habit. (Then again, maybe it's just chilly in the room!)

Try the following exercise at the nest party you attend-it will help you develop your body language literacy, Observe someone who it talking with a group of people (don't try to horn in on a private conversation between two people), just out of your range of hearing, Look closely at the person whom you've chosen to observe. Look at the person as if he or she was on television with the sound turned down. In your mind, make up a brief story about this individual, describing his or her part in the current scene. Then approach the group and find out how close you were, You might be surprised at how accurately you can assess someone with such jin exercise,

Aik the Lav« Coach

Try the following exercise at the nest party you attend-it will help you develop your body language literacy, Observe someone who it talking with a group of people (don't try to horn in on a private conversation between two people), just out of your range of hearing, Look closely at the person whom you've chosen to observe. Look at the person as if he or she was on television with the sound turned down. In your mind, make up a brief story about this individual, describing his or her part in the current scene. Then approach the group and find out how close you were, You might be surprised at how accurately you can assess someone with such jin exercise,

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When you're talking to somebody who's standing or sitting across from you, learn to really notice the person's position. Without studying the position of each hand, foot, arm, or leg, you can determine, very easily, whether an individual's overall attitude is one of openness or whether he or she is "circling the wagons."

Is the person leaning toward you as you talk, or away from you? Are this individual's hands open, as if he or she were accepting a gift, or clasped, as if clutching a purse, protecting it from thieves? These descriptions may be exaggerations, but you get the point. There's no rocket science involved in interpreting body language, just common sense.

It's really quite easy to become literate in body language. For more examples of body talk, see the Body Talk table later in this chapter.

Ask the Love Coach

There are powerful truths to be found by reading body language; most people have a lot more control over what they say with words than what they communicate nonverbally Recently i was sitting in a restaurant and happened to notice Clarissa and Richard sitting across the room. They looked to be on their first date together. Clarissa was playing with her hair, giggling, and leaning forward as Richard was speaking. She anchored her own ncmadtj a couple of b'mes by reaching across the table and touching Richard's arm. Meanwhile, I saw Richard sitting up very straight, with his shoulders back; but when Clarissa spoke, he leaned forward and listened intently without interrupting.

The next day both Clarissa and Richard called me separately, each saying they had noticed me in the restaurant and wanted my opinion on what I had observed. Clarissa was uncertain about how Richard really felt about her, but I told her, "That man really likes you." Richard was equally uncertain abovt how Clarissa felt, "Call her and ask her out again," I advised.

If you know body language, you can bell whafs going on between two people without hearing a word they're saying, Needless to say, Richard and CJarissa went out with each other again—and I'm happy to report they're stilf dating.

Micro Expression Master

Micro Expression Master

If You Could Read Everyone Life A Book You Can Have Better Career, Great Relationships And Become Successful. This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To Reading the smallest and tiniest body Language and know what people are thinking about.

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