Learning how to read body language will empower you to realise the full potential of your personal and professional life.
Sadly, most people pay too little attention to the all important word: correctly. It can be very tempting to dig into a book on how to read body language, or a website for that matter, grab some information and immediately begin to try to read the body language of whoever happens to be around. Sadly, this is not how to read body language. A person is not a dictionary. If you want to know how to read body language then know that reading body language is not a simple case of observing a person moving an arm or a leg in a certain way and deciding that they must be nervous, confident, or feeling some specific emotion. Yes, the ability to read body language is a powerful weapon, but it’s a weapon that demands precise and careful handling. there is a correct way to learn how to read body language.
How to Read Body Language: Avoiding Mistakes
Before you even begin to try to read body language, make sure that you’re in the right frame of mind. Avoid the following situations
-Reading body language when highly emotional: Whether you’re very upset or angry or very happy or optimistic, your emotions can completely hijack your ability to correctly read body language. Make sure before you begin that you are in the right frame of mind to read body language fairly, objectively and without bias.
- Reading body language too quickly: It can be very easy to read one single body language gesture and to presume it speaks volumes about a person. In reality, proper body language reading demands patience and an open mind. Make sure to hold your judgment until you have had enough time to observe a person thoroughly.
- Stop wanting: Oftentimes you’ll find you have a desired outcome when reading a person’s body language. Perhaps you want to see that the attractive person likes you, or that the employee is happy with his work, or that your boss respects and values you. These desires will affect your ability to read body language fairly. Before you begin to read someone, empty your mind of your wants and desires so you are completely free to see the truth in a person.
How to Read Body Language: The Right State of mind
So, there’s a wrong way how to read body language, how about a right way? Aim to create the following state of mind when reading a person.
-Impartiality: aim to observe the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful in a person, no matter who they are. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
-Patience: Allow a person’s nature to reveal itself to you gradually. You can’t rush art, and there’s a definite art to reading body language.
-Give something of yourself: To really get to know a person, you’re going to have to make them feel comfortable enough to open up to you. To do this, make a trade: give them enough of yourself to make them feel comfortable with you, then, through your body language skills and their willingness to be expressive, you’ll have the perfect angle to truly get inside their head.
-Realise that you could be wrong: Even the absolute best body language readers are not infallible. No matter what you observe, no matter how certain you feel, there is always a chance you could be wrong. Be very careful making too definite a decision about somebody, and always remain open minded.
How to Read Body Language: The Right Approach
Practice makes perfect. Yes, the old truism applies to body language too. And it bears repeating, because time and again people grab a few facts of body language and use thevm to prove their theories right. “You’re lying because you put your finger to your mouth while speaking. She’s attracted to me because she rubbed her thigh when she looked at me. He’s nervous because his arms are crossed.” These are too often the thoughts of the inexperienced novice. Follow these points to get a basic grasp on body language before jumping head-first into people reading.
- Spend time watching people. The more you watch people, the more you’ll gain an appreciation for the art of reading people.
- Play devil’s advocate with yourself. Continually ask, “could this clue mean something else?” Just like a good detective, you must learn to monitor your own biases in order to see the truth of a thing.
- Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is essentially the quality of having an open mind and living in the moment. It is a meditative state more often heard in spiritual circles, but it is a very helpful mindset for body language reading too. For an overview of mindfulness read: mindfulness
Okay. You’re now aware of the pitfalls and know how to avoid mistakes in order to truly master the art of reading body language. Now it’s time to begin to acquaint yourself with the valuable clues of body language by learning the gestures, postures, facial expressions and more that give away a person’s intentions, feelings, meanings, desires and more. Select the area of body language you would like to discover first from the list below.