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Ask Allan
Body Language

QUESTION

What is body language? And why it is important?

ANSWER

In face to face communication 60-80% of all messages sent are non-verbal. Your success in life with others is directly related to your ability to read these signals.

QUESTION

How can body language help in our daily lives?

ANSWER

By understanding how to read it, it makes it easier to make friends, get a job, get ‘yes’ in negotiations and get a date. It allows you to anticipate what a person may be thinking.

QUESTION

What is the most common mistake that people do while using their body language?

ANSWER

People who are nervous or who lack confidence are likely to close their body off, for example closing their arms and legs. This can be read by an observer as being negative, defensive, or non-participative. So the rule is keep yourself open at all times.

QUESTION

Does an online screen interaction, for example via Skype, video call, alter our body language? 

ANSWER

It makes it easier for you to read the person as there is no distractions around you. Just you and person that you are chatting to and you have more time to study what they are doing with their face and body.

QUESTION

It’s easy to identify a liar? Or does it takes practice?

ANSWER

For most people, picking lies takes practice and it’s much easier for women to see lies than for men. For example, we look at others 30% - 40% of the time when being open or telling the truth and look away 60% - 70% of the time when we lie. People who are not good liars will instinctively look away whereas professional liars such as conmen, actors and lawyers, are likely to hold your gaze to attempt to appear convincing. There are also cultural implications – many Asian and South American cultures look away most of the time as it’s deemed impolite to stare. As a consequence, Europeans and Westerners are likely to wrongly conclude they are lying. As child bearers, women evolved with abilities in their brain to read the non-verbal signals of babies who don’t speak – is the baby hungry, frightened, tired, in pain and so on. Women also developed the ability to read the attitude of an approaching stranger – will they be friendly or aggressive? These were human survival skills that men did not need. Men needed to run, jump and accurately hit their target. As a result, women are far more capable at discovering lies than men are. This is why men are generally unsuccessful at lying to a woman face-to-face but women can lie to men with success.

QUESTION

Non-verbal behaviours like body language have long been an important part of communication. But in today's age of social media, where people mostly meet virtually, is body language getting lost? Does it confuse experts like you? 

ANSWER

What are seeing is a big increase in the younger people struggling to interact with each other face-to-face.  At our VIP weekends (we spend the weekend teaching people how to get what they want out of their life) we are seeing a significant increase in of younger people asking us to teach them how to read body language to see if the other person likes them and how they can learn to be more open and use body language to make people feel special.  We now have a generation of people who lack communication social skills. New research (2017) has revealed that Gen Y have around 10% less connections in the brain that identify the emotions in others, than their parents have.  This is due to growing up looking at screens and not at people’s faces, so Gen Y is less likely to know that you are upset, really like them or are angry.  The emergence of visual Skype-type calls is reintroducing a new dimension of face-to-face communications.  It allows you to intently analyse the other person’s face by staring, which you could not do in a real face-to-face encounter. Body Language accounts for 60-80% of all human interaction in face to face encounters and this is being lost in texts. It is however making a dramatic re-emergence in visual skype calls and face time.

QUESTION

It’s possible to falsify body language?

ANSWER

Yes. This is what professional actors, con artists and politicians do. If you can convince yourself that your lie is true, your body language will show honesty and you can get away with it for a while. There will usually be ‘leakage’ of dishonestly that can eventually bring the liar unstuck. It also depends on how well a person can read someone’s body language. As mentioned, women are better at both lying and uncovering lies than men are.

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