The Body Language “Death Blow”

Human consciousness is very limited; we can only keep track of a few separate pieces of information at any given time, once we go over the threshold, our awareness becomes “saturated” and from that point on, we’re pretty much missing everything.

I’ve witnessed people who were so bent on reading someone’s body language –for the purpose of detecting deception-that they completely missed one verbal “slip up” after another.

If I want someone to not notice blue cars on the highway, I’m not going to tell them to “forget about the blue cars”…I’m simply going to ask them to count all of the red, green and white cars. By clogging their awareness with red, green and white, they’ll likely delete the blue cars from their consciousness without any overt request or instructions on my part.

Many who embark on a path to become skilled at reading body language do the same thing to themselves. By trying to track too many body language signals at once, they preclude themselves from noticing other critical information.

Remember what it was like when you first learned to drive? Every move you made, from flipping on the turn signal, to looking in the rear-view mirror, required a massive hunk of your limited awareness.

In time, though, most of those behaviors became automatic, and no longer required you to focus on, or think about them consciously. Once this happened, it allowed you to continue doing the previous behaviors unconsciously- but freed your conscious awareness up for other things.

Pick one aspect of body language to master at a time. You might, for example, start with paying attention to voice qualities; things like volume, pitch, intonation etc. Then, after noticing these variables becomes a natural and automatic action for you, simply shift to another area, like facial expressions.

I like the story of the guy who was going to use body language to determine if his wife wanted to go to a movie. After asking “Honey, do you want to go see a show?” he carefully watched for any signs that would reveal her answer. His intensity was incredible. Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime, his wife said “Forget it then!” and stormed out of the room.

She had verbally been communicating “Yes” for 2-3 minutes, but because he was so focused on the answer that would come non-verbally, he simply didn’t notice her speaking. This, my friends, is the “Body Language Death Blow”…avoid it!

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