Once your frontal lobes started to develop you learned to share and use empathy, and you also started to be less self-obsessed and more tuned in to the wants and needs of others You began to be strategic in your behavior, too, looking at long-term results rather than just living in the here and now
Currently your behavioral choices are governed by three key factors or "voices": 1 Your instinctive voice or your inner ape This voice will steer you toward instant gratification rewards, for example, I want, I get, and to hell with the consequences! This is your inner warrior or your inner wimp, depending on the situation It thinks quickly and it acts even faster . You might think you've contained it but it has a habit of leaking out via some of your smaller but deadlier body language signals, letting other people know how you're really feeling
2. Your social voice or your inner diplomat. This is your adult voice, the one that thinks long-term and thinks empathetically It knows the difference between short- and long-term gain in a situation and it will steer you toward the latter In body language terms it is the supreme masker, hiding all those instinctive gestures like snarling, scowling, sulking, and staring, and replacing them with a sunny smile and a stiff upper lip
3. Your logical voice. This is your inner computer, churning out facts and figures and clear thinking, that bypasses emotions and sticks to the detail instead In some people this voice is an underper-former, but in others it sits center stage, creating low levels of body language activity and high levels of android-style movement .
Your instinctive voice shouts quickest and loudest but—often purely for personal survival—you've learned to temper it and to mask its nonverbal signals What this means is that your body language is a bit of a mongrel, the result of all three voices trying to be heard at the same time
Let's take an over-the-counter scenario . You work in a shop and you're facing the customer from hell They're demanding and rude and they've just asked to try on their sixteenth pair of shoes . Your inner ape is telling you to stick that pair of shoes where the sun don't shine, but your social inner diplomat is explaining that he is just a careful shopper who is suffering from stress because he has had a hard week . He doesn't mean to be rude, he's just taking it out on the nearest person around . Meanwhile your logical voice is informing you in a very patient tone that smacking this customer's face will create a scenario involving a firing and probably the police It's reminding you about your mortgage and the need to keep this job to ensure you have a roof over your head
Now, rewind the scene . These voices are in your head. But what's going on with your body language as a result?
Well, your social voice has slapped a smile on your face to make you look customer-friendly However, your inner ape has made that smile just a bit too rigid The lips are pulled back in a grimace, which is a signal of attack rather than affection Your social voice makes you nod while you listen to the customer's complaints, but your instinctive ape has turned your hands into white-knuckled fists and your teeth are clenched so hard you can hardly get the words "no problem" out
Without even realizing it, the customer from hell edits these mixed messages and—without even understanding the complicated process being used—deletes all the empathetic signals on display, only reacting to the ape-warrior ones They accelerate their own aggressive displays or they storm across to report you to the manager key points:
• Body language accounts for over half the perceived impact of your communication.
• Body language has a higher credibility rating than your words—if your words and your gestures send out mixed messages, it's the body language that the listener will believe .
• Body language isn't a precise science—each gesture can have many meanings
• You're already a bit of an expert on body language—you've been doing it since you were fifteen minutes old
• Much of your body language is affected by your inner child and your inner ape!
The following chapters are all about you and about maximizing your image to create success in your life We're going to look at general tips and training here while specific situations and scenarios will come later in the book
This is going to take some effort on your part I hope you don't mind No pain, no gain, as they say We're going to have fun and we'll have a few fights but I promise you the effort will be worth it
The first physical steps you're going to take in this book are all to do with maximizing your own impact by changing your body language "state . " This is where The Body Language Rules stops being just an interesting read and starts to become an exercise manual
w wrkiorxou hile it's always fascinating to discover why we do what we do, it's a whole lot tougher to take all that information and use it to help make changes. Change is vital, though, as it's the only way to achieve body language excellence. Change will be challenging, but change is the paving that forms the path to charisma. If we're going to press on with this metaphor I might also add that self-consciousness, embarrassment, and laziness are the slippery slime and mossy stuff that can make you skid or stall.
One piece of advice: when you're making changes, always keep your goals in mind. When you learned to drive you were thinking about all the freedom your car would give you. When you look up a route on a map you take time to study the roads because you know exactly where they're leading. Dogs know there's some treat involved for good behavior, like a biscuit or bone. If you feel you're changing your body language for the sake of it, it'll be like taking driving lessons knowing you'll never own a car So visualize the "new you" before you start tweaking your gestures and focus on all the benefits that being body language literate are going to bring you
Continue reading here: The blink factor analyzing and evaluating your own first impressions
Was this article helpful?