Did you know that 55% of communication is visual (body language, eye contact) and 38% is vocal (pitch, speed, volume, tone of voice)? That means only 7% involves your actual words. And when the spotlight is on you- whether one-on-one in an interview or when making a presentation to a large group—you need to communicate effectively on all levels.
-Carmine Gallo, a corporate presentation coach-
According to Joe Navarro, this picture of Barack Obama shows he is very confident. His legs are splayed & his neck is tilted.
Whether it's the Presidential debates or office meetings, our body language speaks volumes.
Is he confident? Is he nervous? Is he telling the truth? Is he telling us the whole story? Does he really know what he's talking about? Does he agree with me? Does he like me?
Like it or not, non-verbal communication often counts more than our actual words. So here is a Play Book to interpret the upcoming debates, contain some of your own body language foibles, and figure out just what your co-workers are really saying. Maybe.
Joe Navarro is a body language expert who worked for the FBI for 25 years, helping to chase down spies & criminals by decoding their body language. According to Navarro, there are certain body language behaviors that we can't fake. They're limbically-derived, emotionally-based and they are hard-wired into our brains and bodies. By the way, Joe now makes a living teaching poker players how to read their opponents' expressions, and master the Poker Face.
Here are Joe's Top Body Language Maneuvers & What They Mean
- Covering the eyes. You heard something you didn't like. Even blind children will do this. Joe says this is "paleocircuitry of the brain"--it's a built-in protective device.
- Closing the eyes and delaying when asked a question. You didn't like the question you were asked. Cindy McCain has done this.
- Biting the lip. It's a pacifier, to calm you down.
- Leaning away from someone. You either dislike them or disagree with them.
- Leaning toward someone. You like them or agree with them.
- Shoulder moves up towards the ear. Shows lack of confidence.
- Touching the neck, or fooling with a necklace. You have some issues or concerns, or there is something you are uncomfortable or insecure about. When a physician or lawyer sees this, it's a good indicator that the person has more to say.
- Straight shoulders, stretching your arms way out. Demonstrates high confidence.
- When people mirror each other's behaviors-they face each other. They are getting along--they're in agreement.
- In a true smile the facial muscles are relaxed and the corners turn up to the eyes.
- In a fake public smile, the corners will turn up toward the ears.
- Holding your chin. This demonstrates you are are a pensive, thinking person. Not at all glib. Navarro sees this quality in Barack Obama's body language.
- Pursed lips-the lips disappear. Corners of the lips turn down. This is an indication of high stress-extreme stress. Hillary Clinton exhibited this when she announced she was no longer running for president.
- Folding the arms in front of the chest, rubbing the back of the neck, fidgeting. These are primitive self-protective behaviors to shield us or soothe anxiety.
- Hands on hips. A maneuver to establish dominance or to communicate that you have "issues".
Joe Navarro takes the position that many of our behaviors are instinctive and can't be faked without a great deal of training.
To see an interesting slide show of his top 12 behaviors, click here.
Carmine Gallo, a corporate presentation coach, makes a living out of teaching people to use the kind of body language that will make them look confident, honest, knowledgeable and engaging. So, be forewarned! According to Gallo, we can "train our body language". Certainly McCain and Obama have been "body-language-coached". To see a slide show of "The Silent Language of Success", click here.
To read Gallo's story in Business Week, "It's Not Your Mouth That Speaks Volumes. Stance, gestures, and eye contact are all essential to effective presentation, whether for public speaking or a job interview", Click Here.
Carol Kinsey Goman, PhD. is a professional executive coach who has some additional insights into how to read the candidates' body language--eye blinks, micro-expressions, hand gestures & breathing patterns. Take a look here.