5 tips to read nonverbal cues

An important skill when connecting with others and having conversations is the ability to pay attention to there body language. There is no definite way to read other people, yet there are ways to help you understand the other person, from the way they use there body. Here are 5 quick and simple ways to help you pay attentions to other peoples body language to connect with others more effectively.

1. Find baseline behavior
Developing rapport is crucial for understanding how people act in general. When you know there habits and gestures, you can then identify when they do something that isn’t in there normal behavior.

2. Look for clusters
Understanding people’s body language comes in groups of at least 3. Each body language signal/move represents a word. You need 3 words to form the sentence and determine how they feel. Sometimes less but having other points to work off help you understand more of what is going on.

3. Pacifying behaviors
We have gestures and touch ourself when we are stressed, lying, anxious etc. Knowing these behaviors is important for reading the person, however don’t make judgement on that behavior. Use a question to find out why they are using that pacifying behavior.

4. Body positioning
The way people angle our body is crucial to conversations. Someone we may need to be more direct and front on, other times facing the side of a person. Generally if you are meeting a new person a 45 degree angle to each other is a great position keeping low pressure on each person, or even side to side is okay. When rapport is establish you will tend to face each other directly. People can use the belly button principle aligning each others belly button when facing each other shows you are interested. Leaning in and out also helps to learn whether they like something you have done or don’t respectively. Pay attention to the way a person changes there position to you as the conversation goes by.

5. Incongruence between verbal and non-verbal
When what the person is saying and their body don’t move together there means conflict is happening internally. Eg: a person shaking there head side ways and saying yes. Its best to use the non-verbal cue being the head shaking in these cases.

Body language plays an important role in our ability to understand other people. By learning how to observe body language, it can help you engage with others, and react appropriately.

Great books to help you understanding reading peoples non-verbal communication are:
What every BODY is saying by Joe Navarro
You say more than you think by Janine Driver

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