Gut reactions

How often do you hear people relying on "gut reaction" to make important decisions about other people? Sounds random? Many psychologists argue that your "gut reactions" are really decisions based on the assimilations of a whole raft of complex visual information that you have read subconsciously . Even people pitching for the top jobs have to be aware of it .

Gordon Brown's first keynote pitch for the role of prime minister came a few days after Tony Blair announced the date he'd be stepping down Brown was at great pains to emphasize that he wouldn't be a celebrity politician concerned with spin and image . Yet as he spoke it was obvious to anyone that he was sporting a new hairdo, a whiter-looking smile, and a suspiciously well-cut suit

The core story in the press the next day centered on the fact that his autocue was positioned in a way to obscure his face . He still moved into Number 10 Downing Street, where the British prime minister lives, but I bet those are errors he won't be making again!

Your image counts, then, probably more than ever before . Get it wrong and your hidden talents could go unrecognized and unrewarded. Get your image right, though, and you'll increase your status, pulling power and promotion prospects

But The Body Language Rules isn't just about your image alone . Much of the book is devoted to the skill of understanding others By studying the psychology of your own communication you'll also obtain a clearer understanding of the ways that people around you transmit and receive nonverbal messages, learning to read between the lines of everyday communication, giving you a clear psychological advantage in any situation

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