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The question people ask most at Christmas is “Did they really like what I got them?” So this year I’m asking you “Will you recognize the signs of insincerity this Christmas?”
I’ve got some great news for you. Yes, you will. Because I’m gonna show you how.
First things first. Surprise on lasts on the human face about 1 1/2 seconds. No more. Any more than that, and they’re faking. If you give her a gift and her eyebrows go waaaay up and she’s smiling from ear to ear, that’s a good sign. Take a look at the outsides of her eyes.
If the outsides aren’t wrinkled in the area of that red circle, then the smile isn’t real. But don’t let that bum you out. If the person smiling like this wasn’t happy with the gift, they are trying their best to make sure they don’t hurt your feelings. That’s a good sign.
Keep in mind also, there may have been what’s called a “Duchenne Smile” briefly, but you missed it. (Duchenne was a scientist in the late 1800’s. He studied facial expressions and discovered that a real smile shows up with the outsides of the eyes wrinkling. It’s a different wrinkle than a squint produces. I talk about it here in my TEDx Talk.)
Now let’s talk about the present for your Mom. She unwraps it and opens the box. She looks at you, her head tilts to the side just a bit and her bottom lip pushes up a bit on her upper lip as she gives you a closed mouth smile. She shakes her head left and right just a bit as she moves her head toward you. “I love it. Thank you.”
There’s not a whole lot of excitement going on there. But the true sincerity you can feel. Her “Thank you” is straight from the heart. The Duchenne wrinkles are present at the sides of her eyes, she doesn’t blink much at all, as she holds her gaze at you.
There are those who may argue with me and say “Her head shook the left and right as she said ‘I love it’ so that means she doesn’t really love it.” This is where we need to look at the context of the situation. Context is of the utmost importance when decoding body language.
She’s being given a gift, by her child. There was no question asked. There’s no yes or no involved. (Check out Lance Armstrong shaking his head no as he says “yes”, it’s creepy.) At the same time she shakes her head, she’s moving toward you.
Watch mothers with little babies. They will do the very same head move when they speak to the baby as it looks them in the eye and smiles. You’ll probably do it as well when you meet a baby and it tries to talk to you. You’ll do it when you get a new puppy too.
Does the volume of the giftee’s voice matter? You bet it does. If you give a guy a gift, and he opens it, looks at it and says “Ohhh… it’s… It’s PERFECT! I can’t believe you got this for me! Wow. Thank you. I really like it. I do. Thank you. I really needed one of these.”
At first he’ll be a bit loud with the “Ohhh…” Because for real, he doesn’t know WHAT to say, but his brain realizes he needs to be cool about it. That’s why the “PERECT” is so loud. It’s supposed to erase the fake “Ohhh…” that was too long and weak sounding. When he says “I can’t believe you got this for me!” He means that.
Keep an eye on his eyebrows. They’re not gonna stay up as long as your Mom’s did. You may also notice, the volume of his voice going down as he reaches the end of his group of short statements he’s using to help qualify “PERFECT!”.
That also suggests he may be insincere with his praise. You’ll find that happens quite often when someone is being deceitful as they answer your questions.
Here’s something very important. And this one is more for the workplace than for home. When you give someone a gift, make sure you watch their mouth, nose, and eyebrows. If you see asymmetry in their expression, that suggests the person does not like you. Not even a little bit.
Take a look at the girl on the far left in the first photo of this post. That’s what I’m talking about. Contempt. Hers is exaggerated, but that’s almost the classic expression of contempt.
I say “almost” because there is no asymmetry in her eyebrows. If there were, look out. Contempt is the only true emotion the face shows that is not symmetric. Everything else works together.
So there you have it. The 3 “Biggies” that will help you recognize the signs of insincerity at Christmas this year. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me know.
When you subscribe to my blog posts via email, you’ll get my new eBook FREE. Every day, someone asks me what tools I use in meetings when I’m assessing someone’s body language for a company or law firm, etc.
This short e-book is my chance to give you a look inside my “Body Language Briefcase” and share with you the 5 tools I use in every one of those meetings.
First, I’ll very quickly explain what they are. Then, I’ll give you the details and show you exactly how and when I use them, and for which specific situations.
(And it’s a pretty quick read, less than 30 pages with great pictures and graphics).
My hope is, that you will be able to use this information to help you when it comes time to make decisions about the integrity of the person or people you’re meeting with.
Just subscribe for updates on the upper right section of this page, and I’ll send you a link to get your eBook. It’s that simple. And don’t worry, I only post about twice a week so I promise, you won’t get email from me every 3 minutes. And I will never spam you or share you email address with anyone.
Inside My Body Language Briefcase – Part 3
The key to blending in with a group of Alphas is to use the same tactic animals use out in the wild. You must appear the same as your surroundings. You must “blend in with the landscape” so to speak.
However, in this scenario, the “landscape” is the collection of people in the room. Here’s how you do that: First, understand that 90% of the time, the Alpha in the room is going to move differently from 95% of the others in the room.
What you’re looking for to spot the Alpha, or to mimic the Alpha (and let’s not confuse mimic with mirroring), are the moves he or she doesn’t make. In fact, fairly soon, you will realize the Alpha moves less than anyone else in the room (again, that’s 95% of the time). And when they do move, those movements are not hurried, they are not jerky, and they are not quick.
The Alpha’s movements are almost like Tai-Chi compared to the others in the room. Very smooth. Easy. Intentional. Their posture is sometimes perfect. There are situations where some Alphas slouch, move quickly, and go against everything I’m talking about here.
Again most business Alphas don’t do that. You want to move, act, speak, and react, the same as the other Alphas in the room.
Keep in mind, if you do what I’m going to describe to you the wrong way, you will look strange and out of place. To everyone. Avoiding that is of the utmost importance.
Pay close attention to an Alpha who exhibits these behaviors. Copy and practice the way that Alpha moves and speaks, but not so much that it makes you feel and look uncomfortable or un-natural.
Here are some of the things you need to pay attention to and watch for so you can learn to act like a CEO, successful business person, or an Alpha in general. These behaviors telegraph who and what type of person you are and the type of people you like to be associated with.
-After a question, watch for the length of the pause before they speak. Pay attention to the pauses as the Alpha answers questions, asks questions, and, makes statements.
-When listening, notice how still the Alpha stays.
-When reaching for a pen, notebook, bottle of water, etc., pay attention to how close they are to the object before reaching. Do their arms stretch an uncomfortable distance? Or not far at all?
-When speaking, do they use 20 words when 10 words will do? Are there more adjectives and more qualifiers than there should be? Are their sentences structured to impress a scientist, or are they constructed so a 5th grader can easily understand them?
-When the Alpha disagrees, does he/she speak with and react in terms of emotion, or do they react with a calm controlled demeanor?
-Does the Alpha’s “Resting Face” show a frown, a blank look, or a pleasant inviting expression?
-Upon discovering, or being made aware of, a mistake or miscommunication, does the Alpha become angry and loud, or remain calm and make decisions quickly and non emotionally?
-When the Alpha requests coffee, water, or lunch, do they ask with respect or are they demanding?
-Is the Alpha the first one to enter the room for the meeting, are they waiting on everyone else, or do they arrive a few minutes late?
-Does the Alpha dress like a Hipster or a business person?
-Does the Alpha have to have an answer that “one ups” everyone else’s answers?
-Where does the Alpha place his/her hands when speaking to the rest of the people at the meeting? When speaking with someone one-on-one?
-Is the Alpha’s vernacular peppered with course language, or are they confident enough with themselves to speak respectfully to everyone in the room?
As soon as the person or people you are meeting with realize you are like them, they will relax much faster and begin to feel they are in a good place.
Once that happens, it’s time to put tool #3 into play.
So, we’re upgrading your Deception Meter. Your ability to spot deception in a conversation or meeting is going to improve by around 400%. To do that, we’re gonna focus on the 2 most important things concerning non verbal communication.
We’ll get into both of those in depth in the next post.
Inside My Body Language Briefcase – Part 2: Tool #1 of 5.
The information you’re searching for will give you the insight to this person or these people that not many others have. That’s why it’s important the information is correct. Double check everything you hear from others about this person. This tool in my body language briefcase is especially important for the tools that follow.
Triple check everything you assume about this person. Now, let me explain what you’re searching for, then I’ll explain why you want to “Pre-Load” your brain with this information before meeting with this person/company.
The information to collect: When and where they were born – Where they are from – Religion – High school – College – Sports they played,were involved with, or are a fan of – Leisure activities – Hobbies. – Favorite vacation spots – Interests – How many children do they have – What are the children involved in/with; sports, hobbies, interests – Do they have pet/s -What kind of pet/s -Are they a “Dog Person”, “Cat Person”, “Reptile Person”, “Bird Person” – Do they collect: art, specific memorabilia, books, coins, stamps. Anything you can discover that person may be involved with or have an interest in.
Why you’re collecting the information: When meeting with someone new, there are three ways the person you’re meeting with will approach the situation; #1 They will want to like you. #2 They will want to dis-like you. #3 They will be indifferent about liking or dis-liking you.
Each scenario will be effected, for either good or bad, by the way you present yourself, what you talk about and show interest in, and how that person feels about you 1 week later. So your need to make that person feel familiar with you, even a little bit, is imperative to the outcome of all 3 scenarios.
How to use the information once your brain is loaded.
The key to using the information you’ve pre-loaded into your brain is releasing it in spots of conversation and situations that are natural and honest.
For example, you know the person you’re meeting with was a football star in college. A quarterback. He got a full football scholarship at Auburn in ’92.
Never twist that information so it fits into a made up scenario and say something like:
“Well, that reminds me of a game I saw in ’93. It was Auburn and Mississippi State. Auburn’s quarterback was brilliant…”
Number 1: That’s a lie.
Number 2: They will know you’re making it up.
Number 3: Any credibility you may have had up to that point is gone. Forever.
Here’s how you do it: Since you know most of his life he has been a huge football fan, you add football terms and sayings to your vernacular. Couch them in terms of similes and metaphors.
Instead of saying: “That entire campaign was a big plus for our company. Our VP of sales brought in more revenue than ever before. And our research and development department worked hard and finally benefitted as well.”
You might say: “That campaign was big a win for us. Our VP of sales made touchdown after touchdown, and our R&D team threw a ‘Hail Mary’ that scored big for us toward the end as well.”
That’s a bit too much because it’s just the example, but you get the idea. Sprinkle small bits on top of what you’re saying, and weave terms into your conversation so it seems and sounds natural. The same can be done with most any sport. If they have no favorite sport, then use one of their hobbies. But it MUST be a hobby they know you are aware of.
For example, let’s say the person told you in passing that woodworking was their hobby. In an explanation you could say:
“You’re a woodworking person. You build things. For you, working with our team/company would be like the perfect table. It’s put together well, sturdy, useful, looks good, and you can count on it, to not only do its job, but to be impressive as well. In any situation.”
Again, that’s bit much. But you get the idea.
The demeanor you must take on as you begin using these new tools is the insurance that everything will run smoothly. Tool #2 is the linchpin here. None of the tools will work for you as they should without it.
“Alpha Manner” refers to the behavior style and mannerisms of the most successful CEOs and business people. You’ll adopt this behavior style to blend in at meetings and other situations. These mannerisms stand out like a flare in the night sky over an ocean as soon as you understand what they are and learn to recognize them when they present themselves. And you can learn how to use them very easily.
You will find this tool an extremely powerful asset in any meeting from now on. We’ll go over those behaviors and how to adapt them to your style, in depth, in the next post in this series, Inside My Body Language Briefcase Part -3.