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The Definitive Book of Body Language

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2006-07-25
  • Publisher: Bantam

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Available for the first time in the United States, this international bestseller reveals the secrets of nonverbal communication to give you confidence and control in any face-to-face encounterfrom making a great first impression and acing a job interview to finding the right partner. It is a scientific fact that people's gestures give away their true intentions. Yet most of us don't know how to read body languageand don't realize how our own physical movements speak to others. Now the world's foremost experts on the subject share their techniques for reading body language signals to achieve success in every area of life. Drawing upon more than thirty years in the field, as well as cutting-edge research from evolutionary biology, psychology, and medical technologies that demonstrate what happens in the brain, the authors examine each component of body language and give you the basic vocabulary to read attitudes and emotions through behavior. Discover: How palms and handshakes are used to gain control The most common gestures of liars How the legs reveal what the mind wants to do The most common male and female courtship gestures and signals The secret signals of cigarettes, glasses, and makeup The magic of smilesincluding smiling advice for women How to use nonverbal cues and signals to communicate more effectively and get the reactions you want Filled with fascinating insights, humorous observations, and simple strategies that you can apply to any situation, this intriguing book will enrich your communication with and understanding of othersas well as yourself. From the Hardcover edition.

Author Biography

ALLAN PEASE has written eleven other bestselling books on the subject of human communication and body language, including, with Barbara Pease, Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps and Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need New Shoes.
BARBARA PEASE is CEO of Pease International. They reside in England and Australia.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiv
Introduction 1(208)
All Things Are Not What They Seem
How Well Do You Know the Back of Your Hand?
How Well Can You Spot Body-Language Contradictions?
How We Wrote This Book
Your Body-Language Dictionary
1. Understanding the Basics
In the Beginning...
Why It's Not What You Say
How Body Language Reveals Emotions and Thoughts
Why Women Are More Perceptive
What Brain Scans Show
How Fortune-Tellers Know So Much
Inborn, Genetic, or Learned Culturally?
Some Basic Origins
Universal Gestures
Three Rules for Accurate Reading
Why It Can Be Easy to Misread
Why Kids Are Easier to Read
Can You Fake It?
True-Life Story: The Lying Job Applicant
How to Become a Great Reader
2. The Power Is in Your Hands
How to Detect Openness
Intentional Use of the Palms to Deceive
The Law of Cause and Effect
Palm Power
Our Audience Experiment
An Analysis of Handshake Styles
Who Should Reach First?
How Dominance and Control Are Communicated
The Submissive Handshake
How to Create Equality
How to Create Rapport
How to Disarm a Power Player
The Cold, Clammy Handshake
Gaining the Left-Side Advantage
When Men and Women Shake Hands
The Double-Hander
Handshakes of Control
The Blair-Bush Power Game
The Solution
The World's Eight Worst Handshakes
The Arafat-Rabin Handshake
3. The Magic of Smiles and Laughter
Smiling Is a Submission Signal
Why Smiling Is Contagious
How a Smile Tricks the Brain
Practicing the Fake Smile
Smugglers Smile Less
Five Common Types of Smiles
Why Laughter Is the Best Medicine
Why You Should Take Laughter Seriously
Why We Laugh and Talk, but Chimps Don't
How Humor Heals
Laughing Till You Cry
How Jokes Work
The Laughter Room
Smiles and Laughter Are a Way of Bonding
Humor Sells
The Permanent Down-Mouth
Smiling Advice for Women
Laughter in Love
4. Arm Signals
Arm Barrier Signals
Why Crossed Arms Can Be Detrimental
Yes...but I'm Just "Comfortable"
Gender Differences
The Solution
Reinforced Arm-Crossing
The Boss vs. The Staff
Getting the Thumbs-Up
Hugging Yourself
How the Rich and Famous Reveal Their Insecurity
The Coffee Cup Barrier
The Power of Touch
Touch Their Hand, Too
5. Cultural Differences
We Were Having Pizza at the Time
Take the Cultural Test
Why We're All Becoming American
Cultural Basics Are the Same Almost Everywhere
Greeting Differences
When One Culture Encounters Another
The English Stiff-Upper-Lip
The Japanese
"You Dirty, Disgusting Pig!"—Nose-Blowing
The Three Most Common Cross-Cultural Gestures
To Touch or Not to Touch?
How to Offend Other Cultures
6. Hand and Thumb Gestures
How the Hands Talk
On the One Hand...
On the Other Hand, Gestures Improve Recall
Rubbing the Palms Together
Thumb and Finger Rub
Hands Clenched Together
The Steeple
Using Steepling to Win at Chess
The Face Platter
Holding Hands
Behind the Back
Thumb Displays
7. Evaluation and Deceit Signals
Lying Research
The Three Wise Monkeys
How the Face Reveals the Truth
Women Lie the Best and That's the Truth
Why It's Hard to Lie
Eight of the Most Common Lying Gestures
Evaluation and Procrastination Gestures
Evaluation Gestures
The Lying Interviewee
Chin Stroking
Stalling Clusters
Head Rubbing and Slapping Gestures
Why Bob Always Lost at Chess
The Double meaning
8. Eye Signals
The Dilating Pupils
Take the Pupil Test
Women Are Better at It, as Usual
Giving Them the Eye
The Eyebrow Flash
Eye Widening
The "Looking Up" Cluster
How Men's Fires Get Lit
Gaze Behavior—Where Do You Look?
How to Keep Eye Contact in a Nudist Colony
How to Grab a Man's Attention
Most Liars Look You in the Eye
How to Avoid Being Attacked or Abused
The Sideways Glance
Extended Blinking
Darting Eyes
The Geography of the Face
The Politician's Story
Look Deep into My Eyes, Baby
The First Twenty Seconds of an Interview
The Solution
What Channel Are You Tuned To?
How to Hold Eye Contact with an Audience
How to Present Visual Information
The Power Lift
9. Space Invaders—Territories and Personal Space
Personal Space
Zone Distances
Practical Applications of Zone Distances
Who Is Moving In on Whom?
Why We Hate Riding in Elevators
Why Mobs Become Angry
Spacing Rituals
Try the Luncheon Test
Cultural Factors Affecting Zone Distances
Why Japanese Always Lead When They Waltz
Country vs. City Spatial Zones
Territory and Ownership
Car Territory
Take the Test
10. How the Legs Reveal What the Mind Wants to Do 209(20)
Everybody's Talking About a New Way of Walking
How Feet Tell the Truth
The Purpose of the Legs
The Four Main Standing Positions
Defensive, Cold, or "Just Comfortable"?
How We Move from Closed to Open
The European Leg Cross
The American Figure Four
When the Body Closes, so Does the Mind
Figure Four Leg Clamp
The Ankle Lock
The Short Skirt Syndrome
The Leg Twine
Parallel Legs
Put Your Right Foot In, Put Your Right Foot Out
11. The Thirteen Most Common Gestures You'll See Daily 229(21)
The Head Nod
Why You Should Learn to Nod
How to Encourage Agreement
The Head Shake
The Basic Head Positions
The Head Duck Picking Imaginary Lint
How We Show We're Ready for Action
The Cowboy Stance
Sizing Up the Competition
The Legs-Spread
Straddling a Chair
The Catapult
Gestures That Show When a Person Is Ready
The Starter's Position
12. Mirroring—How We Build Rapport 250(15)
Creating the Right Vibes
Mirroring on a Cellular Level
Mirroring Differences Between Men and Women
What to Do About It if You're Female
When Men and Women Start to Look Alike
Do We Resemble Our Pets?
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Matching Voices
Intentionally Creating Rapport
Who Mirrors Whom?
13. The Secret Signals of Cigarettes, Glasses, and Makeup 265(14)
The Two Types of Smokers
Differences Between Men and Women
Smoking as a Sexual Display
How to Spot a Positive or Negative Decision
Cigar Smokers
How Smokers End a Session
How to Read Glasses
Stalling Tactics
Wearing Glasses on the Head
The Power of Glasses and Makeup
A Little Lippy, Lady?
Briefcase Signals
14. How the Body Points to Where the Mind Wants to Go 279(7)
What Body Angles Say
How We Exclude Others
Seated Body Pointing
Foot Pointing
15. Courtship Displays and Attraction Signals 286(31)
The Emergence of the Colorful Male
Graham's Story
Why Women Always Call the Shots
Differences Between Men and Women
The Attraction Process
The Thirteen Most Common Female Courtship Gestures and Signals
What Men Look at in Women's Bodies
How Beautiful People Miss Out
Is He a Butt, Boobs, or Leg Man?
Male Courtship Signals and Gestures
Men's Bodies—What Turns Women On the Most
Is She a Chest, Legs, or Butt Gal?
16. Ownership, Territory, and Height Signals 317(13)
Body Lowering and Status
He's a Big Man Around Town
Why Some People Seem Taller on TV
Try the Floor Test
The Downsides of Height
How Body Lowering Can Sometimes Raise Status
How TV Politicians Can Win Votes
How to Placate Angry People
What's Love Got to Do with It?
Some Strategies for Gaining Perceived Height
17. Seating Arrangements—Where to Sit and Why 330(16)
Take the Table Test
It's Not What You Say, It's Where You Sit
King Arthur's Concept
Keeping Two People Involved
Rectangular Board Tables
Why Teacher's Pet Sits on the Left
Power Plays at Home
How to Make an Audience Cry
The Attention Zone
An Experiment in Learning
Getting a Decision Over Dinner
18. Interviews, Power Plays, and Office Politics 346(18)
Why James Bond Looked Cool, Calm, and Collected
The Nine Golden Keys to Making Great First Impressions
When Someone Keeps You Waiting
Fake It Till You Make It?
Seven Simple Strategies for Giving You the Extra Edge
Office Power Politics
How to Switch Table Territories
Seated Body Pointing
How to Rearrange an Office
19. Putting It All Together 364(16)
How Well Can You Read Between the Lines?
How Did You Rate?
The Seven Secrets of Attractive Body Language
References 380

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


Chapter One

Understanding the Basics

Everyone knows someone who can walk into a room full of people and within minutes give an accurate description about the relationships between those people and what they are feeling. The ability to read a person's attitudes and thoughts by their behavior was the original communication system used by humans before spoken language evolved.

Before radio was invented, most communication was done in writing through books, letters, and newspapers, which meant that ugly politicians and poor speakers such as Abraham Lincoln could be successful if they persisted long enough and wrote good print copy. The radio era gave openings to people who had a good command of the spoken word, like Winston Churchill, who spoke wonderfully but may have struggled to achieve as much in today's more visual era.

Today's politicians understand that politics is about image and appearance, and most high-profile politicians now have personal body-language consultants to help them come across as being sincere, caring, and honest, especially when they're not.

It seems almost incredible that, over the thousands of years of our evolution, body language has been actively studied on any scale only since the 1960's and that most of the public has become aware of its existence only since our book Body Language was published in 1978. Yet most people believe that speech is still our main form of communication. Speech has been part of our communication repertoire only in recent times in evolutionary terms, and is mainly used to convey facts and data. Speech probably first developed between two million and five hundred thousand years ago, during which time our brain tripled its size. Before then, body language and sounds made in the throat were the main forms of conveying emotions and feelings, and that is still the case today. But because we focus on the words people speak, most of us are largely uninformed about body language, let alone its importance in our lives.

Our spoken language, however, recognizes how important body language is to our communication. Here are just a few of the phrases we use:

Get it off your chest. Keep a stiff upper lip.
Stay at arm's length. Keep your chin up.
Shoulder a burden. Face up to it.
Put your best foot forward. Kiss my butt.

Some of these phrases are hard to swallow, but you've got to give us a big hand because there are some real eye-openers here. As a rule of thumb, we can keep them coming hand over fist until you either buckle at the knees or turn your back on the whole idea. Hopefully, you'll be sufficiently touched by these phrases to lean toward the concept.

In the Beginning . . .

Silent-movie actors like Charlie Chaplin were the pioneers of body-language skills, as this was the only means of communication available on the screen. Each actor's skill was classed as good or bad by the extent to which he could use gestures and body signals to communicate to the audience. When talking films became popular and less emphasis was placed on the nonverbal aspects of acting, many silent-movie actors faded into obscurity and only those with good verbal and nonverbal skills survived.

As far as the academic study of body language goes, perhaps the most influential pre-twentieth-century work was Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, published in 1872, but this work tended to be read mainly by academics. However, it spawned the modern studies of facial expressions and body language, and many of Darwin's ideas and observations have since been validated by researchers around the world. Since that time, researchers have noted and recorded almost a million nonverbal cues and signals. Albert Mehrabian, a pioneer researcher of body language in the 1950's, found that the total impact of a message is about 7 percent verbal (words only) and 38 percent vocal (including tone of voice, inflection, and other sounds) and 55 percent nonverbal.

It's how you looked when you said
it, not what you actually said.

Anthropologist Ray Birdwhistell pioneered the original study of nonverbal communication–what he called "kinesics." Birdwhistell made some similar estimates of the amount of nonverbal communication that takes place between humans. He estimated that the average person actually speaks words for a total of about ten or eleven minutes a day and that the average sentence takes only about 2.5 seconds. Birdwhistell also estimated we can make and recognize around 250,000 facial expressions.

Like Mehrabian, he found that the verbal component of a face-to-face conversation is less than 35 percent and that over 65 percent of communication is done nonverbally. Our analysis of thousands of recorded sales interviews and negotiations during the 1970's and 1980's showed that, in business encounters, body language accounts for between 60 and 80 percent of the impact made around a negotiating table and that people form 60 to 80 percent of their initial opinion about a new person in less than four minutes. Studies also show that when negotiating over the telephone, the person with the stronger argument usually wins, but this is not so true when negotiating face-to-face, because overall we make our final decisions more on what we see than what we hear.

Why It's Not What You Say

Despite what it may be politically correct to believe, when we meet people for the first time we quickly make judgments about their friendliness, dominance, and potential as a sexual partner–and their eyes are not the first place we look.

Most researchers now agree that words are used primarily for conveying information, while body language is used for negotiating interpersonal attitudes and, in some cases, is used as a substitute for verbal messages. For example, a woman can give a man a "look to kill" and will convey a very clear message to him without opening her mouth.

Regardless of culture, words and movements occur together with such predictability that Birdwhistell was the first to claim that a well-trained person should be able to tell what movement a person is making by listening to their voice. Birdwhistell even learned how to tell what language a person was speaking, simply by watching their gestures.

Many people find difficulty in accepting that humans are still biologically animals. We are a species of primate–Homo sapiens–a hairless ape that has learned to walk on two limbs and has a clever, advanced brain. But like any other species, we are still dominated by biological rules that control our actions, reactions, body language, and gestures. The fascinating thing is that the human animal is rarely aware that its postures, movements, and gestures can tell one story while its voice may be telling another.

How Body Language Reveals Emotions and Thoughts

Body language is an outward reflection of a person's emotional condition. Each gesture or movement can be a valuable key to an emotion a person may be feeling at the time. For example, a man who is self-conscious about gaining weight may tug at the fold of skin under his chin; the woman who is aware of extra pounds on her thighs may smooth her dress down; the person who is feeling fearful or defensive might fold their arms or cross their legs or both; and a man talking with a large-breasted woman may consciously avoid staring at her breasts while, at the same time, unconsciously use groping gestures with his hands.

The key to reading body language is being able to understand a person's emotional condition while listening to what they are saying and noting the circumstances under which they are saying it. This allows you to separate fact from fiction and reality from fantasy. In recent times, we humans have had an obsession with the spoken word and our ability to be conversationalists. Most people, however, are remarkably unaware of body- language signals and their impact, despite the fact that we now know that most of the messages in any face-to-face conversation are revealed through body signals. For example, France's President Chirac, U.S.A.'s President Ronald Reagan, and Australia's Prime Minister Bob Hawke all used their hands to reveal the relative sizes of issues in their mind. Bob Hawke once defended pay increases for politicians by comparing their salaries to corporate executive salaries. He claimed that executive salaries had risen by a huge amount and that proposed politicians' increases were relatively smaller. Each time he mentioned politicians' incomes, he held his hands a yard apart. When he mentioned executive salaries, however, he held them only a foot apart. His hand distances revealed that he felt politicians were getting a much better deal than he was prepared to admit.

Why Women Are More Perceptive

When we say someone is "perceptive" or "intuitive" about people, we are unknowingly referring to their ability to read another person's body language and to compare these cues with verbal signals. In other words, when we say that we have a "hunch" or "gut feeling" that someone has told us a lie, we usually mean that their body language and their spoken words don't agree. This is also what speakers call "audience awareness," or relating to a group. For example, if an audience were sitting back in their seats with their chins down and arms crossed on their chest, a "perceptive" speaker would get a hunch or feeling that his delivery was not going across well. He would realize that he needed to take a different approach to gain audience involvement. Likewise, a speaker who was not "perceptive" would blunder on regardless.

Being "perceptive" means being able to spot the contradictions between someone's words and their body language.

Overall, women are far more perceptive than men, and this has given rise to what is commonly referred to as "women's intuition." Women have an innate ability to pick up and decipher nonverbal signals, as well as having an accurate eye for small details. This is why few husbands can lie to their wives and get away with it and why, conversely, most women can pull the wool over a man's eyes without his realizing it.

Research by psychologists at Harvard University showed how women are far more alert to body language than men. They showed short films, with the sound turned off, of a man and woman communicating, and the participants were asked to decode what was happening by reading the couple's expressions. The research showed that women read the situation accurately 87 percent of the time, while the men scored only 42 percent accuracy. Men in "nurturing" occupations, such as artistic types, acting, and nursing, did nearly as well as the women; gay men also scored well. Female intuition is particularly evident in women who have raised children. For the first few years, the mother relies almost solely on the nonverbal channel to communicate with the child and this is why women are often more perceptive negotiators than men, because they practice reading signals early.

What Brain Scans Show

Most women have the brain organization to outcommunicate any man on the planet. Magnetic Resonance Imaging brain scans (MRI) clearly show why women have far greater capacity for communicating with and evaluating people than men do. Women have between fourteen and sixteen areas of the brain to evaluate others' behavior versus a man's four to six areas. This explains how a woman can attend a dinner party and rapidly work out the state of the relationships of other couples at the party–who's had an argument, who likes who, and so on. It also explains why, from a woman's standpoint, men don't seem to talk much and, from a man's standpoint, women never seem to shut up.

As we showed in Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps (Orion), the female brain is organized for multitracking–the average woman can juggle between two and four unrelated topics at the same time. She can watch a television program while talking on the telephone plus listen to a second conversation behind her, while drinking a cup of coffee. She can talk about several unrelated topics in the one conversation and use five vocal tones to change the subject or emphasize points. Unfortunately, most men can only identify three of these tones. As a result, men often lose the plot when women are trying to communicate with them.

Studies show that a person who relies on hard visual evidence face-to-face about the behavior of another person is more likely to make more accurate judgments about that person than someone who relies solely on their gut feeling. The evidence is in the person's body language and, while women can do it subconsciously, anyone can teach themselves consciously to read the signals. That's what this book is about.

How Fortune-Tellers Know So Much

If you've ever visited a fortune-teller you probably came away amazed at the things they knew about you–things no one else could possibly have known–so it must be ESP, right? Research into the fortune-telling business shows that operators use a technique known as "cold reading," which can produce an accuracy of around 80 percent when "reading" a person you've never met. While it can appear to be magical to naive and vulnerable people, it is simply a process based on the careful observation of body-language signals plus an understanding of human nature and a knowledge of probability statistics. It's a technique practiced by psychics, tarot-card readers, astrologists, and palm readers to gather information about a "client." Many "cold readers" are largely unaware of their abilities to read nonverbal signals and so also become convinced that they really must have "psychic" abilities. This all adds to a convincing performance, bolstered by the fact that people who regularly visit "psychics" go with positive expectations of the outcome. Throw in a set of tarot cards, a crystal ball or two, and a bit of theater, and the stage is perfectly set for a body-language-reading session that can convince even the most hardened skeptic that strange, magical forces must be at work. It all boils down to the reader's ability to decode a person's reactions to statements made and to questions asked, and by information gathered from simple observation about a person's appearance. Most "psychics" are female because, as women, as discussed previously, they have the extra brain wiring to allow them to read the body signals of babies and to read others' emotional condition.

The fortune-teller gazed into her crystal ball and then
started laughing uncontrollably. So John punched her on the
nose. It was the first time he'd ever struck a happy medium.

To demonstrate the point, here now is a psychic reading for you personally. Imagine you've come to a dimly lit, smoke-filled room where a jewel-encrusted psychic wearing a turban is seated at a low, moon-shaped table with a crystal ball:

I'm glad you've come to this session and I can see you have things that are troubling you because I am receiving strong signals from you. I sense that the things you really want out of life sometimes seem unrealistic and you often wonder whether you can achieve them. I also sense that at times you are friendly, social, and outgoing to others, but that at other times you are withdrawn, reserved, and cautious. You take pride in being an independent thinker, but also know not to accept what you see and hear from others without proof. You like change and variety, but become restless if controlled by restrictions and routine. You want to share your innermost feelings with those closest to you, but have found it unwise to be too open and revealing. A man in your life with the initial "S" is exerting a strong influence over you right now and a woman who is born in November will contact you in the next month with an exciting offer. While you appear disciplined and controlled on the outside, you tend to be concerned and worried on the inside, and at times you wonder whether or not you have made the right choice or decision.

Excerpted from The Definitive Book of Body Language by Barbara Pease, Allan Pease
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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