The Mind Channel

Is there a ‘secret’ to reading body language?

There is: whenever you have to read the body language of another person, pay attention to how he moves and gesticulates but at the same time, you need to tie that up with what he is actually saying.

Obviously, no real communication can take place if you ignore the other person’s actual words so you still have to pay attention to his verbal language.

Non-verbal language is important but we have to take into account that during face-to-face dialogs, people may show body language that contrasts what they are actually saying.

For example, if a person says “I’m really happy to see you!” but his face and arms are sending off a negative message, it may mean several things:

The other person is not really happy to see you.

The other person has just talked to someone that he did not like.

The other person has just received news that made him unhappy.

The other person is in a bad mood

The other person might look sour as a habit and the body language may be a default preference for that person.

Rule of Thumb: Reading body language will allow you determine whether the other person is being truthful or not. Reading body language is a way validating the other person’s verbal and vocal communication.

Perceptiveness Defined

When a person is called “intuitive”, what does this intuitive person have that others don’t?

Intuitiveness or perceptiveness is actually the ability of a person to read and understand body language. An intuitive person will listen closely to what another person is saying but at the same time, the intuitive person will also pay attention to the other person’s body language.

Perceptive individuals are capable of ‘reading between the lines’ by analyzing all three levels of human communication: verbal, vocal and non-verbal. Some people just pay attention to verbal and vocal, while disregarding non-verbal. That’s like throwing away 70% of the total message!

Between the two sexes, scientists believe that women are naturally more perceptive than males.

This doesn’t mean that men can’t be perceptive, too. But as far as Western culture goes, women are expected to be more sensitive than men, so there is also a cultural component.

Regardless of this cultural component, both men and women should learn to be more intuitive because this has a massive positive impact on a person’s ability to truly understand other people and respond to other people’s needs.

What does an intuitive person look for when he talks to another person?

Simple: an intuitive person is interested in congruence more than anything. If the other person is saying that he is extremely happy, the body language should also show that he is extremely happy.

If the other person’s body language expresses something else then the intuitive person will see that immediately.

The incongruence between verbal language and non-verbal language is a trigger that makes the intuitive person more alert to what the other person is saying.

The intuitive person then starts analyzing why the other person is not sending out congruent signals. Is the other person actually lying?

Is he trying to cover something up? Is he trying to communicate something else? These are the questions that continually come to mind when a person when a person is naturally perceptive.

Perceptiveness may come naturally to some people but this doesn’t mean it cannot be learned. Like any other skill, being perceptive takes time and practice to master and eventually, you too can be as perceptive as you want when you are talking to people face to face.

When a person is perceptive, he knows how to observe his audience for signs that his message is not producing the speaker’s desired results (i.e. persuasion). Once a perceptive speaker begins noticing key signs that his message is ineffective, he must change what he is doing right now to avoid sliding down into complete ineffectiveness.

Perceptive people can still become ineffective speakers. But the big difference here is that when a person is perceptive he will be able to determine at the outset if something is amiss.

Once he is able to do this, he can change what he’s doing so he will become effective. A person who does not know much about people’s body language would most likely continue what he is doing, even if what he is doing right now is not producing the desired results.

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