Notice others trying to read your baseline with seemingly innocuous
questions like, "How are you today?"
When you have a chance to ask questions, be pointed and observe without interrupting
An expansive pose means somebody feels like they're in power; when they're more hunched, they feel powerless.
Word choice provides insight
into what people really mean.
There are an array of non-verbal authority
signals leaders use.
Always watch the hands. Palm up gestures indicate submission
, palm down gestures indicate power.
Crossed legs are are usually a sign of resistance and low receptivity, and are a bad sign in a negotiation.
High activity levels, like a bouncing foot or animated
gestures, indicate interest and excitement.
Always know your biases, and be wary of the power of attraction.
When a person leans with their torso
away from you, this can mean that the person is going through a moment of stress.
Gestures like touching the forehead or the rubbing
of palms against thighs
are indicators of stress as well.
Facial clues of distress and discomfort include the furrowing
of the brow, clenching
of jaws, lip compression
, or the tightening of face and neck muscles.
If someone closes their eyes for a moment (longer than a simple blink
), takes the time to clear their throat, or asks to repeat a question, he or she is probably stalling.
A lack of eye contact, or excessive blinking or fidgeting are signs that a person may be lying — but these are also signs of anxiety, and many liars are still easily able to look you in the eye and spew deceit.
Once you have a baseline, look for clusters
rather than a single tell.
Be aware of context. Crossing arms doesn't mean anything if its cold.
Watch out for people that subtly
imitate your gestures and expressions.
Touching the notch in the front-middle of the neck can means that the person is trying to protect themselves — suggesting discomfort, especially in women.
Pupil constriction and squinting
can mean that a person is bothered by what he or she is seeing.
A long, audible exhale
— known as a cathartic
exhale — means that the person is under severe emotional distress.
To improve your technique at spotting signs, observe children and what they do when they try to tell a white lie.
Most things people say try to accomplish one of four goals: to be a mover, opposer
, follower, or bystander
When practicing reading people, get feedback about your accuracy
. If not, you'll never know if you're improving.
Learning how to read people must occur over time — a weeklong crash course won't cut it.