Perhaps the easiest way to spot body language attraction is from the face.
When you glance at someone and are rewarded with a beaming smile or a wink, you get a good feeling and know that all is well.
A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction.
But our facial signs don’t always show signs of happiness or approval.
In fact, they often show precisely the opposite and react very rapidly to changing circumstances.
So it is often easy to get an impression of how someone is feeling from the look on their face which is capable of expressing a wide range of emotions.
The face, however, is not such a reliable indicator as some other parts of the body because it is possible to disguise our true emotions as revealed in that way, and some people are very good at it.
You can get a much better indication with children, however. Any parent or grandparent knows that.
If my 2-year-old granddaughter is upset or disappointed by what she hears, there is no hiding the furrowed brow and the head drops.
Over time, however, children learn – partly because they are told not to display their emotions – how to pretend the opposite of the way they truly feel.
And they learn how to use that to their advantage.
There is though a whole range of facial expressions that assist us in determining the feelings of someone else.
If a judge did not like the line of my cross-examination in court, or the argument I was making on behalf of a client, he didn’t usually need to say so.
I could tell the way it was going from the expression on his face.
And the advocate who doesn’t pick that up pretty quickly, is doing his client a serious disservice. Time to change tack!
Advocates, actors, comedians – we all learn to use our facial expressions to good effect to assist our various causes.
The cliché that a picture paints a thousand words applies equally to facial expressions made in this way.
I found that court arguments and cross-examination could be powerfully enhanced by the use of appropriate facial gestures.
We all know comedians – and I think particularly of Rowan Atkinson who plays Mr Bean – who don’t have to say a word.
Just a particular look is enough to send the audience into hysterics!
But how often do you find that the words coming from someone’s mouth are completely incongruent with their facial expressions?
A friend told me recently that his daughter was now living with her boyfriend: “They are shacking up together. All the youngsters do it nowadays.”
He tried to appear happy and smile and he said the words, but it was a wry smile, he found it difficult to hide a frown, and was generally tense.
When people are truly happy, the lines disappear from their forehead.
Sometimes their head appears to go to one side as they smile, they are relaxed and not tight-lipped.
Although you can read about eye accessing cues elsewhere on this site, you will also find that they can be a dead giveaway.
How often have you attempted to convince someone by argument (perhaps a parent or employer), only to be met by stony silence, a frown and squinting eyes?
You don’t need a verbal response, do you, to tell you that you are failing all the way along the line?
Eyes are good indicators of true feelings. Look at a child’s face when she is surprised or aroused. Her eyes will widen.
It is perhaps more evident with young children, but it applies equally with adults also.
The squinting eyes, just as the frown I have already referred to, are equally apparent when we are unhappy, perhaps when we see or hear something of which we disapprove.
We have no difficulty at all, do we, in picking up these signs from close family members, nor they from us, so we need to be careful at times not to display our feelings.
I remember being displeased about a particular meeting when I was a young man, and I said to my mother, “I hope he knew I was annoyed.” My mother immediately responded, “Oh, he would have known.”
Her remark took me aback at the time, but no-one knows you like your mother and it was an important lesson to me and one that I remember very many years later.
On occasions I have advised clients about various legal matters.
Perhaps we have had to discuss the terms of a contract or the written terms of settlement for litigation.
Equally, I may have discussed with prosecution witnesses the basis on which a defendant is proposing to plead guilty.
I can pretty soon tell if they are not happy with the proposals. Perhaps the head drops and a hand is raised to cover the eyes.
On other occasions the eyes may close for a time or close tightly. All these are types of blocking movements to keep out that which is not welcome.
Another, subtler indication of displeasure, occurs when the listener briefly touches and eye with a finger or fingers of one hand.
Do you remember when you last bumped into someone in the street you hadn’t seen for a long time? It happens to all of us on occasions.
I was with my wife when we unexpectedly encountered Ronnie, one of her distant relatives, at a social event.
Ronnie has a very pleasant disposition, his eyes lit up, he chatted animatedly and we laughed together. No doubt about the way he felt.
But then Ronnie’s wife came by. The frown and squint were unmistakeable and the nose appeared to dip as if to say, “And who the hell are you?”
Another of the signs I have noticed when witnesses are in the box under stress – but this applies universally, of course – is that they sometimes press their lips so tightly together that they almost disappear.
That is not a sign of truthfulness or otherwise, but it does mean they feel under pressure and that is not at all unnatural for someone who is unused to giving evidence in a court of law.
Finally, a word about biting nails. It is not the habit of a confident person.
If you are in a business or bargaining situation and notice the other person is nibbling away at her nails, she is not feeling so sure of herself.
If you are a nail-biter, watch it, especially if you are entering negotiations or attending for an interview.
It is a clear indication that your security is threatened and you will not wish to send that message!
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