The power of body language
Body language is an exceedingly underused tool. The phrase “the eyes are the window to the soul” has tremendous truth to it. While it’s undoubtedly easy to overlook micro mannerisms, with practice, you can integrate them into your everyday life and transform them into your own superpower. While you will be no Pakunoda, with an immense study of body language, you will be able to discern a liar from a truther, become a perspicuous communicator, decipher someone’s emotions, and much more. With extensive training, you will also be able to apply your knowledge to counterfeit emotions and micro mannerisms. Occupations like spies, FBI agents, and detectives will use the knowledge of body language as a tool to identify and expose the truths of others and events, as well as conceal their own. On a lighter note, actors and actresses must be experts at body language to exhibit and imitate the comprehensive and complex range of emotions needed to fulfill specific roles in shows and movies. Even artists use body language to portray emotion through their pieces.
Factors of body language
There are a multitude of different factors that go into body language. Suppose you want to master your mind-reading and micro mannerism-heeding superpower. In that case, you must analyze persons: facial expressions, eye contact, voice, space, posture, body movement, and gestures. Each component is a unique puzzle piece to the overall grand picture. As long as you have all of the elements and can decipher them, you will be a puzzle-masterer in no time.
Facial expressions are the most salient and straightforward element of psychoanalyzing. Since there are 42 muscles just in the face emulating each signal the brain is sending, it’s unlikely a mundane person could perfectly control their facial expressions. Fortunately, facial expressions are the universal communication of feelings. So, no language or cultural barrier could ever act as a blockade for understanding one’s emotions.
Eye contact is a sure way of sifting out a liar from a truther. Most people cannot look someone in the eyes and efficiently lie, and thus, most liars will look down or around the room. Want to know if someone is lying to you? Stare them in the soul. I can promise you, they will not be able to remain in eye contact for long. Have a crush on somebody and are wondering if the feeling is mutual? Well, the answer for anything is to just: Stare. Them. In. the. Soul. If their feelings are reciprocated, they should be nervous and struggle with eye contact. Interestingly, our society and culture have deemed eye contact as a sign of respect and interest while communicating. However, this does not transfer to all cultures and societies. For example, in Japanese culture, too much eye contact is considered disrespectful. So, be careful while soul-staring.
Listening to someone speak is a facile way to understand what’s going on inside of their mind. There are multifarious components to decrypting someone’s voice, such as tone, pace, and usage of fillers. If a person is speaking very fast and using an abundance of fillers like um and uh, it’s safe to say they are nervous. On the contrary, if one is projecting their voice, using a moderate pace, and has minor fillers, they are prepared, confident, well knowledgeable on their topic or all of the above.
Space can constitute a variety of things: the distance between you and them, their personal space, or the space between their words. The physical space between you and them can communicate comfortability and/or intimacy. If a person fancies another someone, they will be more likely to lean in towards them rather than away. Their personal space can contribute to their confidence and sense of safety. If someone has their arms crossed, they are subconsciously protecting themselves from danger due to a feeling of unsafety. This can also mean they aren’t very confident. Lastly, the use of space between one’s words could define hesitation, insecurity of knowledge or speaking abilities, or positively, taking the time to process and truly understand what you said to them.
Posture is a sure sign of mirroring one’s confidence. If a person is standing with great posture, they are emitting a very confident vibe. However, if they are slouching, it’s a form of hiding, and they are physically communicating that they are not self-assured.
Body movement and gestures
Identifying body language is effortless and is a clear passage to one’s mind. A person who sways, fidgets, taps, and is just constantly moving is conveying their feeling of fear. Body movement does not always adhere to what you’re trying to relay. For instance, if someone asks you if you’re having a good time at a party and you confidently say yes, but your head instinctively shakes no, It is easy to construe that you are being deceitful from your body language. Body gestures are automatic and almost uncontrollable. Throwing your hands up expresses confusion, frustration, or excitement. Putting your hand to your head communicates disappointment or confusion. Of course, there are also universal hand gestures like thumbs up or thumbs down.
Putting the puzzle together
Now that we’ve discussed the different puzzle pieces to analyze and understand body language, let's examine two well-known characters: Hinata and Naruto. If you’re familiar with these characters, let’s pretend we don’t already know them and their characteristics.
First up: Hinata
While psychoanalyzing someone, try to remember ALL components. Facial expressions, eye contact, voice, space, posture, body movement, and gestures. Of course, since we are just using a picture, a few components are not applicable. Nonetheless, we can clearly identify 6 of the critical components. Starting with facial expression, you can see that Hinata’s brows are furrowed. She also exhibits very flustered cheeks. This reveals she is wearing her anxiety. Next, eye contact. While we cannot see whether her eyes are making quick or avoidant movements, you can still study the shape of her eyes. Someone confident will have wide, open, and composed eyes. However, Hinata’s eyes aren’t fully open or radiating confidence and she is giving a tremulous stare. When you furrow your eyebrows, you subject your eyes to a strained or closed position. Next, space and posture. Hinata’s space and posture are the main giveaways for her timidness. Hinata’s body is considered a closed body stance. This is an unconscious position one transcends to during a feeling of insecurity or fear. It is a natural body response to protect oneself. Likewise, Hinata’s shoulders are inward. This reveals another protective and unconfident stance. Lastly, Hinata’s gestures with her hands are another explicit identifier of her lack of confidence. She has her hands in front of her face as a means to block or hide.
Next up: the one and only, Naruto.
Contrary to Hinata, Naruto exhibits lots of confidence. Let’s re-list the different components of psychoanalyzing. Facial expressions, eye contact, voice, space, posture, body movement, and gestures. Naruto wears a jaunty face. With his eyes, he presents a determined yet poised look. His body shows an open body position, defining his confidence. Unlike Hinata, who tried to hide, Naruto is very loose. His legs are slightly spread apart, he is standing intrepidly, and he has an eminent posture. Naruto is indubitably far more confident and secure compared to Hinata.
There are 3 different types of communicators. Lookers (visual), listeners (auditory), and touchers (kinesthetic). When we communicate, we use body language to aid us. To be an efficient speaker, you need to understand the 3 different types. You must grow to understand all different types because no one is the same, and you will come in contact with all sorts of communicators.
Those who lean towards a visual communicative style are labeled lookers. Lookers prefer visuals over anything else. They value their appearance, prefer eye contact, think in pictures, often have more wrinkles on their forehead, and use visually descriptive language. When communicating with lookers, it is best to use phrases like “I see what you’re saying” and “looks great!”. Your looker will feel very valued, seen, and appreciated with visually appealing language and eye contact. Frequently lookers will be artists and other visual occupations/hobbyists that enjoy color.
Listeners cling to a more auditory-focused communicative style, and listeners prefer words and sounds. Contrary to lookers, listeners tend to not put as much effort into their appearance. Again, contrary to lookers, eye contact is a severe stressor. Listeners will look away to recall or understand what the speaker is saying, and they tend to mumble and click their pens. When communicating with listeners, avoid eye contact as it makes them severely nervous. Use phrases like “that sounds great” and “I totally hear what you’re saying.” By doing so, you can efficiently connect with a listener.
Those with a kinesthetic means to communicate are called touchers. Touchers can connect more efficiently while dressed comfortably. They are very tactile and can also be very sensitive to temperatures, uncomfortable outfits, and the feelings of others around them. Touchers will tend to talk reasonably slowly to fully feel and process everything and will use the body language of space far more often than the others. To communicate efficiently with touchers, use phrases like “I feel like that is an excellent idea” and “that feels right.” They prefer hugs, handshakes, high fives, and touching someone’s arm to connect with someone.
While trying to psychoanalyze a specific communicative style, certain directions of looks will symbolize different things.
There are a few exceptions to body language and micro-mannerisms. Some neurodivergent people or people with anxiety can fidget more often and be uncomfortable with eye contact without a negative feeling associated with it. So, never jump to conclusions and always be respectful and sensitive to others.
With the knowledge you have now, you are equipped to use your power. Remember, facial expressions, eye contact, voice, space, posture, body movement, and gestures. Those 7 pieces are the key to your master puzzle. With those pieces and the knowledge of the three communication styles, you can communicate with anyone and everyone, make cool art, and evolve into the avenger you are. Find the truthers and the liars. Most importantly, use your newly found superpower for the better of good… or not.