Body language experts take our unconscious movements and decode them to understand what we are really saying.
But the great thing is that you don’t need to be as knowledgeable as they are. This is because we’ve picked the minds of some of the best body language experts.
We know that 7% of all communication is what we actually say and 38% is the tone of what we say. However, a whopping 55% is body language. Therefore, if you want to know what a person is actually saying, you need to understand their body language. And this is where body language experts come in.
So if you want to read people like a book, here are 12 secrets from body language experts:
1. Raised eyebrows indicate signs of discomfort
We often raise our eyebrows as a sign of surprise. For example, when we meet someone we were not expecting to see our eyebrows automatically rise. Alongside surprise, studies show that fear and worry can also cause eyebrows to rise.
Don’t believe me? Next time you’re in a comfortable, casual setting, chatting to a friend, raise your eyebrows and see what they say. They’ll automatically assume something is wrong.
So in future, whenever you see raised eyebrows, pay attention. The person talking is not happy about something. One other thing to remember is that raised eyebrows coupled with other gestures can mean submission.
2. They also show sadness but watch if they don’t move inwards
If you are genuinely sad, your eyebrows will move inwards and upwards. Body language experts say this is one of those facial movements you cannot fake.
Research proves that it relies on a set of ‘reliable muscles’ that you can’t knowingly move. So be careful if someone expresses sadness but their eyebrows don’t move. They won’t be able to contract these muscles voluntarily, so it’s more than likely they’re lying.
3. Staring directly into your eyes is a sign of attraction
Eye really are the windows of the soul. I knew a friend who, when he listened to you, would fix his gaze on you. It made you feel like the most important person in the world.
Research backs this up. Prolonged eye contact is an indication of a person’s interest. It means they are paying attention to what you are saying. There are no distractions, they are fully focused on you.
Conversely, frequently breaking eye contact or looking away is a sign they’re not interested. Another thing to look out for is dilated pupils. You’ve heard of ‘bedroom eyes’? This is because our pupils dilate when we are aroused.
4. However, if they stare for too long, they might be lying
There’s a fine line between attraction and lying. People that fix you with a steely stare are probably trying to cover up the fact they are lying. Liars frequently hold eye contact for longer. This is because they know it is harder for someone telling a lie to look another person in the eyes.
The problem is, they often overcompensate and hold eye contact for too long. The average person will hold eye contact in a conversation for 7 to 10 seconds. This time gets longer when we listen. However, studies show that if a person stares at you relentlessly, particularly if they are unblinking as well, it’s likely that they’re lying.
5. The science behind real smiles
Genuine smiles reach the eyes and you’ll see real crinkles. Fake smiles only use the mouth. You might not think this is important but many people use a smile to hide what they’re really feeling. Being able to spot a real or fake smile allows you to see if a person is happy, or troubled.
A genuine smile is impossible to fake. Real smiles are called Duchenne smiles as they raise the cheek muscle responsible for creating crow’s feet around the eyes. Extensive research has shown you simply cannot fake the movement of this muscle. So if someone is genuinely happy, you’ll see the crinkles.
6. Watch what the mouth does, not what it says
We should pay some attention to the words that come out of people’s mouths. However, movements and expressions are far more telling:
- Chewing the bottom lip – feeling worried, afraid, nervous, or insecure.
- Covering the mouth – lying, subconsciously stopping themselves from saying something hurtful.
- Smiling – if not genuine it could be used to denote sarcasm, cynicism, or fake happiness.
- Pursed lips – disapproval, distrust or distaste, stopping an outburst.