We get over 55% of information through nonverbal communication, like facial expressions, gestures, and other body movements. Pay attention to the signals that other people send without even realizing it. You’ve probably wondered how convenient life would be if you could read other people’s minds. Some people use their intuition for this, but if you’re not so perceptive, there’s only one choice left: learning to read people’s body language.
FEL-GOOD invites you to pay attention to the signals that other people send without even realizing it that way; you’ll always have the upper hand in conversations!
# 01 Be objective and open-minded
Before you attempt to read people, you must first practice having an open mind. Do not let your emotions and past experiences influence your impressions and opinions.
If you judge people easily, it will cause you to misread people. Be objective in approaching every interaction and situation.
According to Judith Orloff M.D in Psychology Today,
“Logic alone won’t tell you the whole story about anybody. You must surrender to other vital forms of information so that you can learn to read the important non-verbal inutive cues that people give off.”
She says that to see someone clearly you must “remain objective and receive information neutrally without distorting it.”
# 02 Pay attention to the appearance
Judith Orloff M.D says that when reading others, try to notice people’s appearance. What are they wearing?
Are they dressed for success, which indicates they are ambitious? Or they are wearing jeans and a t-shirt, which means comfort?
Do they have a pendant such as a cross or Buddha which indicates their spiritual values? Whatever they wear, you can sense something from it.
Sam Gosling, a personality psychologist at the University of Texas and author of the book Snoop, says that you should pay attention to “identity claims”.
These are things people choose to show with their appearances, such as a t-shirt with slogans, tattoos, or rings.
“Identity claims are deliberate statements we make about our attitudes, goals, values, etc… One of the things that are really important to keep in mind about identity statements is because these are deliberate, many people assume we are being manipulative with them and we’re being disingenuous, but I think there’s little evidence to suggest that that goes on. I think, generally, people really do want to be known. They’ll even do that at the expense of looking good. They’d rather be seen authentically than positively if it came down to that choice.”
Also, some findings suggest that perhaps psychological traits can – to some degree – be read on a person’s face.
Vinita Mehta Ph.D., Ed.M. explains in Psychology Today:
“Higher levels of Extraversion were related to more protruding nose and lips, a recessive chin and masseter muscles (the jaw muscles used in chewing). By contrast, the face of those with lower Extraversion levels showed the reverse pattern, in which the area around the nose appeared to press against the face. These findings suggest that perhaps psychological traits can—to some degree—be read on a person’s face, though more studies would be needed to understand this phenomenon.”
# 03 Try to interpret facial expressions
Unless you are a master of the poker face, your emotions will be etched on your face.
According to Judith Orloff M.D, there are several ways to interpret facial expressions. They are:
When you see deep frown lines forming, it may suggest the person is worried or overthinking.
On the contrary, a person who is truly laughing will show crow’s feet – the smile lines of joy.
Another thing to watch out for are pursed lips which can signal anger, contempt, or bitterness. Additionally, a clenched jaw and teeth grinding are signs of tension.
Also, Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. in Psychology Today describes a classification of smiles in Psychology Today.
Reward smile: Lips pulled directly upwards, dimples at the sides of mouth and eyebrows lift. This communicates positive feedback.
Affiliative smile: Involves pressing lips together while also making little dimples at the side of the mouth. Sign of friendship and liking.
Dominance smile: Upper lip is raised and cheeks get pushed upwards, the nose gets wrinkled, indentation between nose and mouth deepens and raised upper lids.
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