The ability to judge people based on their body language gives you a crucial edge in any environment. You get uncorrupted insight into what someone is up to at any given moment. You will effectively deduce people's dispositions, inclinations, hidden intentions, and see through lies.
To put it into perspective, a research by Talent Smart discovered that 90% of top achievers have a high EQ. EQ (emotional quotient) is essentially the ability to rightly judge persons by their body language and respond accordingly. Below, find out the body language cues to watch out for to correctly judging anyone.
Thoughtfulness vs. Anger
Furrowed eyebrows are a sign of deep thought. They are often accompanied by thinning of the eyes and a fixated gaze. When proposing a deal, a plan, or trying to sell something, look out for this reaction. It points out a willingness to reason out the details.
Furrowed eyebrows with a raised upper lip, narrowing of the nostrils, and widening of the eyes express outright anger. The tone of voice may also become harsher. You must be careful and attuned to the other person's reactions to avoid misconstruing anger for thoughtfulness.
Signs of Discomfort
A clenched jaw, jerky movements, taught muscles and sweaty palms are all evidence of stress and anxiety. It could be that the person you are talking to is growing uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation.
Look out for these signs when you suspect someone is lying, as lying increases the heart rate and the body's stress levels. If the voice quivers and the tone reduces unnaturally, the person in question is probably extremely nervous. In such a case, consider the context to determine the source of unease.
Detect a Lie
In combination with the stress pointers mentioned above, look out for a shifty gaze. When lying, guilt curtails the ability and confidence to hold a gaze. A liar's body language will also be in-congruent. He may be denying something, yet nod subtly. If all the above signs are accompanied by a monotonous voice, that is a deliberate effort to avoid giving anything away.
For expert liars, beware of overcompensation. They will come off as overly confident, and hold a gaze for way too long, for instance. The average natural gaze lasts 10 seconds. According to surveys, another classic lie revealer is rubbing the nose often during the conversation.
Signs of Rejection
Crossing of the arms, legs, or both is sign of defensiveness as well as rejection. The person you are talking to most likely does not agree with your ideas. It is often accompanied with a distant and cold demeanor and few/one-word answers. If you keep on pushing, you may kindle anger, or spark a heated argument.
Identify the Person in Charge
To identify the person in power, observe general posture and notice the most calm and confident person. Individuals in charge often exude calm and take up more space. They are likely to sit upright and gesture with down-facing palms. Shoulders will be held back, and their general demeanor will be nonchalant. A brisk walk punctuated with fluid movements is also likely.
Mirrored Body Movements and What They Mean
When talking to someone and you notice they are replicating your body language, that is a sign that they are agreeing. It happens subconsciously: you smile, and they smile, you lean forwards or cross your fingers or arms, and they follow suit.
This mirroring is especially evident between intimate friends and romantic partners. For this reason, couples and friends who have been together for long seem to have an uncanny resemblance. Use this approach to determine the depths of relationships, and how receptive people are to your overtures.
Find out if Someone Likes You
Sustained eye contact is the first sign that someone is into you. Also, if you encroach on their personal space and they do not flinch or get uncomfortable, that is another pointer. Look out for light contact such as tapping your hand or shoulder when conversing, and a general willingness to please.
Communication, in all its various forms, is an evolutionary skill that the body is naturally good at. Therefore, besides internalizing the above tips, trust your gut. Intently listen to your instincts and intuition. More often than not, your instincts will give you a clear verdict even before your mind runs any judgmental script.