All I Need to Know about Business I Learned from a Duck

Archive for October, 2010

Body Language (Warning: This Post Bites!)

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

I’ve run into my share of “snakes” over my business career … if only I had learned to read body language and detect patterns early on I could have avoided some unpleasant situations.

Jeff Corwin’s video, below, drives home the point that in nature the ability to effectively read body language can literally mean the difference between life and death. Check it out!

There are thousands of poisonous critters in the natural world but there’s no need to memorize the names of all of them if you simply pay attention to their body language. Whether it’s the bright colors and flashy patterns of Coral snakes, or the intimidating spikes that protrude from Lion and Scorpion fishes … those animals are sending potential predators a huge non-verbal signal to stay away or face dire consequences. (By the way, recent studies show that there are more venomous fish than venomous snakes, so if you’re into snorkeling and scuba diving watch yourself!).

Accurately reading “human” body language is a teachable strategic skill that can give you an advantage in your career. By accurately reading body language you can determine whether someone likes you or not (even before they say a word), identify whether someone is being honest or deceitful … you can even detect somebody else’s mood.

Nonverbal communication (body language) includes facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, touch, space and tone of voice (pitch, volume, inflection, rhythm). Most psychologists agree that over 80% of communication happens not in the words that are used, but in the way things are said. And if words and body language disagree, believe the body language.