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Reading Non-verbals

 

Explanations > Reading Non-verbals

Multiple meanings | Synchrony | Clusters | So what?

 

Reading non-verbal signals is not difficult if you know what to look for. Here are a few tips and traps.

Multiple meanings

A problem with reading people is that body language can have multiple meanings. People who are relaxed fold their arms, as do people who are cold. Touching your face may signify thinking and a whole host of other things.

Similarly people who are introverts are more easily over-stimulated -- especially by other people. Particularly if you are extravert, when you are trying to connect with them, you may actually be winding them up! Their negative-seeming body language is just them trying to find a safe space.

Synchrony

One secret of reading body language is to look for things that happen at the same time. Thus if you ask them a searching question and they close their body, then this may be an indication that they do not want to tell the truth. It may also, of course, mean that they do not like your aggressive style, so you should be aware of your part in the dance and change your style accordingly.

Clusters

Another secret of reading body language is to look for clusters multiple transitions, for example where a person crosses their legs and arms together and looks away.

The result of trying to control your body is that you send mixed messages and just look like a person who is trying to control their errant body. The effect of this is that you will appear untrustworthy and manipulative.

So what?

When reading non-verbal language, watch for synchronization and clusters. Also stay open to alternative meanings.

See also

Using Body Language

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