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Correctly interpret body language

What us body language
reveals everything

How do you interpret body language correctly?

The body language of friends, colleagues and partners can tell us a lot. What does someone think when they say "yes" and shake their head?
How do you know someone is lying? (See also: Recognizing Lies (Amazon Affiliate Link))

How do you know if a seller really doesn't want to give in anymore?
How do you recognize blocking reactions of the interlocutor in good time?

How do you interpret contact signals?
What is distance behavior? Territory behavior? ...

Find out more here:

Recognize and use body language

It doesn't just matter what someone says, but how they say it. Unconscious signals from the body reveal more truth than words. Body signals are more honest. Often we unconsciously trust these signals more than the words. It is all the more important to correctly interpret body language.

Anyone who deals with body language will observe many interesting and surprising things. Knowledge of this subject is one of the key skills in negotiations of all kinds. An area of ​​highest priority for methodologists.

More about best practices

What is body language

Behavior, arm and leg posture, expression of the eyes, corners of the mouth or hands reveal our thoughts, soul life, fears and desires. Properties such as body, clothing, voice, hairstyle and even some details of the face are sources of information from which one can infer character traits or moods to an uncertain degree.
All of this is called body language.

More about facial expressions: The body language of the face.

Body language usually also includes meaningful parts of the appearance. Strong hands reveal something about the job, a pale face something about the way of life, an asymmetrical face something about the use of the two halves of the brain and a low forehead something about intelligence. But always only on average. In individual cases, each of these observations is just a piece of the puzzle, which can also have completely different causes.

Decisions and behavior are only consciously controlled to a small extent. The subconscious drives us and not mind or reason. They are little things that we cannot name and ascribe to our feelings. Often these are signals that we learned to interpret in early childhood. The body language of our interlocutors controls us.

Small example: The open palm upwards advertises trust. Just as the raven fell for it in the fable on the right, we too are occasionally deceived. Such body signals penetrate directly into the subconscious and are not checked by the mind.

Tip:
You learn body language easier and faster when you first do that Practice observing individual signal sourcesaround the eyes, posture or the language of the hands. For practical use, however, is the Overall impression and the situation is indispensable.

Body language is diverse

Most of the best practices that you can find on methode.de revolve around a few important basic rules. This is different when using body language. It demands knowledge of many details. Those who devote themselves to body language will learn a lot about personality and communication, about behavior, aggressiveness, instinctive behavior or affectivity.

The analysis of individual reactions and behaviors is particularly interesting. Example: A woman, while talking to a man, brushes her hair back. This is very often a "care behavior" that arises from the inner desire to be as attractive as possible. It signals interest.

So you will turn to individual parts of the body, the eyes, head, mouth, nose, eyebrows, shoulders and upper body. The posture of legs and feet when sitting, the posture of the hand and fingers, the so-called hand-face gestures and hand-hand gestures. Many details allow an interpretation. The interpretable details of gestures and facial expressions are extremely diverse. In addition, there is the interpretation of reactions and behaviors in relation to social situations when making a phone call, giving a lecture, even while sleeping.

Is body language clear?

When you show a child how Snow White begs for her life, the body language is clear. But in real life?

We do not know what the observed person is really thinking about. Therefore, a reliable interpretation of his unconscious signals is seldom possible. We don't know enough details. People behave differently. There are cultural differences, differences between men and women, adults and children, differences that are explained by the status and role of a person.

Example: American men often sit with their legs crossed, with the ankle of one leg across the knee of the other. Americans perceive the sitting posture of European men with closed thighs as unmanly.

Tip:
What is a person's interest directed towards? This can often be seen in a conversation by the alignment of the upper body. Often the head is turned away, but the line connecting the shoulders remains at right angles to the person who is interested ...

Avoid misinterpretations

Language and its expression are also subject to natural restrictions. A Russian Njet cannot sound as malicious as the No! by Margaret Thatcher. There are religiously influenced behaviors and great differences depending on the social milieu. Only a sharp look at the overall situation will prevent misinterpretations. Do not rely entirely on magic bullets.

Body language plays an important role in theater, television series or Hollywood films. Expressing emotions effectively and clearly, making it as easy as possible for the viewer to empathize without becoming implausible, is an art. This offers the opportunity to learn: while looking at it, observe what you otherwise perceive unconsciously, really consciously. Observe in a concentrated manner how actors develop their charisma and convey their emotions to the audience. You can learn a lot about body language in particular.

Recognize lies

The subject of body language has even caused a sensation in recent years with a television series that tried to convince us how easy it would be to spot lies.

Of course, in reality it is nowhere near as easy. Police and judges on the one hand, and quite a few salespeople or politicians would otherwise be unemployed. Anyone who thinks lying people can be betrayed by their facial expressions as easily as Pinocchio with his nose is wrong.

Of course, there is one thing that body language can never reveal anyway: Even who knows that someone is lying, does not know the truth for a long time. And many a cheated life partner doesn't even want to know the truth.

People are differently good at lying as well as at recognizing lies. And you can learn both. There are even insurance companies that specifically train their agents to lie. It is extremely difficult to see through who does this skillfully.

On the other hand, if you pay close attention to the crucial body language signals, it is actually easier to expose careless liars.

The most important starting point is that Occurrence of contradicting body signals. The body language of the face and hands, or an inappropriate backward movement of the body, may say the complete opposite of what the spoken words proclaim. Good people who know people usually do not know how they actually recognize it, but they can see through a liar precisely by the signals that we today accept "scientifically approved" as evidence of lies.

The subject of "recognizing lies" is very complex, but very rewarding. It is no wonder that the aforementioned television series has catapulted books by Jack Nasher (Amazon Affiliate Link, e.g. "Through (Amazon Affiliate Link)") into the bestseller lists.

 

Imitated body language

Occasionally, people have been observed to involuntarily imitate the body language (and language) of others. There are servants who become more and more like their masters in the course of life, backbenchers in parliament who parrot the word creations and formulations of their role models without reflection. Or, of course, children whose behavior is copied from their parents. And often enough it is then very difficult to decide what a body language signal really means. How about, for example, the pictured Karl Marx? Hand on heart or copied the typical hand position of Napoleon?

Sometimes you can still observe behaviors in people that these decades before had modeled on some role model and never abandoned them.

Body language feedback

There is a phenomenon of body language that manifests itself as follows: If one intentionally sends signals in body language that signal something specific, e.g. security, then this behavior reinforces the signaled property. So anyone who pretends to be safe with the correct body language signals increases their security. So you can create a kind of feedback effect. (Tip: If you are interested in very in-depth details of body language, you should not buy Samy Molcho's wonderfully illustrated book, but the classic "Body Language for Managers".)

The correct interpretation of body language is just one of many extremely effective "methods of success". Use such methods!

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So it is always important to pay attention to such connections when trying to interpret body language.

Note the signal effect

We are constantly sending out signals with all details of our external impact. Not only do we interpret the behavior and appearance of others, but our own behavior is also continually interpreted by others.

A person's body language usually reveals more about them than a mere conversation with their counterpart. You should therefore pay attention to your facial expressions, gestures and unconscious body signals, especially in jobs that have a representative function to the outside world. Politicians, press spokesmen and company bosses, but also teachers and educators who have to act as role models for children and young people, should therefore always pay attention to the signals that they send to others with their posture, their language and even their clothing.

It is particularly important to pay attention to the signal effect when entering a "foreign" culture or another social group. Especially abroad it is worthwhile to simply observe people's behavior again and again.

Use body language

Of course, we are always trying to make a good impression on other people in some way. The most important active and targeted use of body language is flirting. Actually, this does not usually have to be learned consciously. Recognizing flirtation signals is partly natural, but partly also dependent on culture and is learned unconsciously. However, there is considerable distortion of natural behavior due to the strong media influence. In this respect, it is worthwhile to observe carefully and consciously and to adapt your behavior.

The targeted use of body language is also part of day-to-day business for salespeople and politicians.Coming open and honest is not only an advantage when selling used cars. So keep your hands open with the palm up and a sentence to go with it: "Customer service is more important to us!" ?

That's working! It is just as effective as lipstick and perfume. People who can't smile shouldn't open a business, they say ...

Our body language reveals more about us than we think. Therefore, especially people who are in public should work on their body language. The best chosen words will not achieve the desired effect if the body language does not properly support the speech. Speakers should not only know about the secrets of the silent signals of the body, but should always be able to underline their ideas, but also their concerns, with the right body signals and convince the audience of their credibility.

The most important areas of application are:

  • Correctly interpret signals in a conversation
  • Deliberately faking unconscious signals
  • Improve human knowledge
  • Improve self-awareness
  • Personal development through feedback from body language
  • Avoid false signals when negotiating or telephoning

Now read on: How do you use body language?

or: How do you achieve goals?

 

Book recommendation:

Top book: Samy Molcho, "All about body language" (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Understand yourself and others better, use body language, see through people ..., 224 large-format pages, illustrated in color, A fantastic book: order now! (Amazon Affiliate Link)

Do you already know my GOALS?

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