How to Understand and Interpret Body Language

Have you ever been in the situation where you were almost sure that the person you were talking to was lying to you? You wanted to believe the words coming out of their mouth but your gut feeling was saying that something isn’t right. Their eye movement, facial expressions and body movement was just not reflecting their verbal communication. Their body language, also know as non-verbal communication had given them away, even though they thought they had you fooled.

Interpreting Body Language

Being able to interpret someone’s body language can be a huge advantage to you. Can you imagine being able to communicate with someone, understanding what kind of message they are trying to give, before they even open their mouth to say a single word? Going a step further, what if you could use your own body language to get your message across, before you even start verbal communication?  Giving first impression body language messages like “I’m confident”, “I’m interested”, “I’m bored”, “I’m not interested”, can save you a lot of time and hassle.

Many experts in the communication field believe that 50-70% of all communication is non-verbal. The way we stand, sit, talk and walk, all say something about us, reflecting on what is really happening on the inside.  Have in mind that there is no one single body language expression that can give you a complete understanding of the message or situation a person is in. Everyone has their own personal body language so do not jump to any conclusions straight away; you are not psychic!

Having said the above, some general detectors can be made for further analysis in order for you to reach a conclusion on what body language communication someone is showing you. For example if someone is lying to you they might:

  • Try to avoid eye contact, either by looking away and avoiding complete eye contact or have rapid eye movements to and from you.
  • Clear their throat frequently or change their pitch of voice.
  •  Increase their breathing rate.
  • The color of their face or neck area turns red
  • Fidget, such as continuous change of foot movement showing that they are uncomfortable.
  • Blink excessively
  • Offer you a fake smile – no expression in the eyes
  • Avoid answering a direct question (politicians have perfected this one)

The above are all signs that someone might be lying to you, however as mentioned before don’t jump too fast to any conclusions. It just might be their character to either fidget or avoid eye contact. They may be shy and insecure, feeling uncomfortable when socializing.

It is also important to understand that body language can vary between different cultures and nationalities.  For example, the first time I asked my Bulgarian wife out on a date she surprisingly said yes to me, but moved her head from left to right signaling a “No” answer. Apparently the movement of the head from left to right and vice versa means a “Yes” or “I understand” in her culture. Can you imagine how confused I was when she gave me a verbal ‘yes’ but a non-verbal ‘no’ answer? 

Sometimes she makes me wish I had taken the non-verbal answer - only kidding honey!!!

Below is an amazing video I found that explains all that you need to know about body language:

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