Imagine if you could understand something about a person on a level beyond just their words? Author Peter Collins takes us on a journey with his book, Body Language for Busy People. On page 12, Collins writes:
“Body language can be described as the unspoken or non-verbal complementary kind of communication we engage in, while in conversation and/or through adjusted gestures that can either confirm the words we use. Conversely those same or similar gestures can send out alarm bells to those that have been trained to understand the subtleties of our interaction with another person or with groups of people.”
This book provides a number of clues for considering what the other person is really thinking and feeling.
For example on page 22, the author reveals what people may do “when defensive or hiding something” … “The mouth might keep a secret, but certain gestures revealed by knowledge gained through the understanding of Body Language could indicate that people are hiding something they don’t want others to find out about. Here are a few ways this can come to the fore:
- They may walk with their hands in their pockets.
- They could cross their arms.
- They attempt to hide their hands in any way they can.”
Collins warns us that we have certain behaviors that can reveal our own self-doubt. On page 31, he writes: “Here is the one thing that most of us usually do when we are the ones that are doubting ourselves – we tend to rub or touch our nose. This subconsciously occurs when we are uncertain of how to answer a critical question or when we are concerned about the other person’s reaction to our answer.”
An Important Note:
I really appreciate how the author warns us to avoid taking just one behavior and thinking that we know what the person really feels based on only ONE behavior. He writes (on page 35) “The best way to approach the understanding of Body Language as an adjunct communication tool, is to combine your observations with other signals, like the spoken words they use to get more hints regarding the real inner feelings of another person.”
For those of us who sell products or services, the author invites us to use certain body language elements to create rapport, including smiling and good eye contact. This is essential, foundational material. A powerful point, the author makes is that we should “congratulate him, complement him, give him the feeling of ownership, pride, feed his ego, but above all, reinforce his decision through your actions, words and deeds (page 66.”
Collins recommends that we later thank the person when we have the check in hand.
The author warns us to be on the lookout for “over-controlled body language.” If someone is trying to deceive us, he or she may smile too much with the mouth but the eyes are not involved. Pay close attention.
In summary, this book, Body Language for Busy People, will likely open many readers’ eyes to the variety of behaviors. Peter Collins warns us to avoid relying on just one behavior to convince us that we know the other person’s real thinking and feelings. Still, this book does invite us to pay more attention and be more observant. And, that’s a good thing for us to do.
Spoken Word Strategist
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