Sunday, November 7, 2010

What Every BODY Is Saying

Learning how to interpret  people's behavior offers many advantages. When we are able to understand where others are coming from, then we will be able to act accordingly. Paying attention to body language can alert us to when a person is lying, uncomfortable, insecure,shifty, afraid or .... confident, open, and truthful or honest. Certain body language also can convey power and authority. Often people in powerful positions are coached in body language to appear "in charge" and above the common person. Of course when deciphering body language we should be aware that specific "tells" or movements of the face and body are only an indication of a person's mood or intentions and that other factors must also be considered. The authors of What Every BODY Is Saying do an excellent job of emphasizing and explaining this important point.After all...we don't want to falsely label anyone.

The observation of body language can be useful in many areas of life.....friendship, business, romantic relationships....etc. One area that fascinates me is learning how to decode the body language of politicians, controlled opposition, and other public figures. We do need to realize though that public figures are often good actors and that we need to take that into consideration.The common person needs tools to be able to discern whether or not he is being decieved, and learning body language can be a very "telling" tool. In fact the word "tells"  is used in connection with behaviors and body movements.

The author , Joe Navarro was an FBI agent specializing in nonverbal communications. The co-author, Marvin Karling, has a PH.D. in psychology from Princeton University. Their knowledge and direct experience come together to make this book a very valuable resource.

 This book  includes many excellent pictures that portray the particular body language or "tell" being explained. This necessary feature makes learning the meaning of body language very easy. As I came across each example of "telling" behavior, I found myself practicing me a feel for a particular behavior, which enabled me to sense the emotion behind the action. This helped to imprint or memorize and internalize the different movements and their meanings. We all know at least a little bit about body language and the cues they portray.....however, this book makes it all come together. Don't laugh...but lately I've been watching Judge Judy and am having fun applying the knowledge in the book by observing the body language used by those being questioned. It seems as if Judge Judy is very aware of body language and she uses that knowledge to better discern whether or not someone is guilty and whether or not they are telling the truth.

"What Every BODY Is Saying" holds a vast amount of helpful information but not so much as to make it difficult to absorb. The pictures, the explanations and reasoning given behind the behaviors serves to deeply impress the mind so as not to forget the many telling behaviors discussed. However, this does not mean that reviewing the information from time to time would not be valuable. This book makes an excellent resource guide.

I would just like to include an interesting paragraph from page 216. "Keep in mind that predators and habitual liars actually engage in greater eye contact than most individuals, and will lock eyes with you. Research clearly shows that Machiavellian people (for example, psychopaths, con men, and habitual liars) will actually increase eye contact during deception (Ekman, 1991, 141-142). Perhaps this increase in eye contact is conciously employed by such individuals because it is so commonly (but erroneously) believed that looking someone straight in the eye is a sign of truthfulness." Navarro also cautions us that different cultures have different eye contact behaviors and to keep this in mind .

The back of the book lists some of the information that is covered:

The ancient survival instincts that drive body language

Why the face is the least likely place to guage a person's true feelings

What thumbs, feet, and eyelids reveal about moods and motives

The most powerful behaviors that reveal our confidence and true sentiments

Simple nonverbals that instantly establish trust

Simple nonverbals that instantly comminicate authority

I found this book to be fascinating, well written and organized....and easy to understand and assimilate. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to better understand those around him

1 comment:

  1. This has become my "go to" book for body language. I've read several books about nonverbal communication since first studying it in 1984. This one stands out for the very reasons you mention, "...well written and organized... easy to understand an assimilate..." It provides the information, and gives you the tools to apply it. Just as importantly, it is well researched and dispels many myths about body language (ex: the myth about eye contact and lying)

    By the way, the is a well written and easy to understand review.


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