The ability to read someone better than a poker pro and discover their lies and lessons sounds almost superhuman. However, it is a skill you can develop if you’re prepared to keep an open mind – literally.
Send Your Nonverbal Intelligence Soaring
Reading body language is essential for successful social interactions, and master hypnotist Igor Ledochowski is an expert at teaching how to become more effective at reading people’s signals.
Rather than spending your time studying hundreds of nonverbal body language cues, Igor believes that you can develop a strong foundation in speed reading people simply by following your intuition. Here are some of his suggestions for starting out:
Read Big Gestures, Not Tiny Signals
Your first job is to keep your focus on the other person. This needs to happen if you are to trigger a spark with them.
Sometimes conversations go really well, and sometimes they don’t. Either way, there’s an abundance of body language signals that your mind can potentially process. However, investing a lot of effort to consciously see them can kill the conversation before it’s even begun.
The next time you’re in a conversation, don’t just talk at someone while your brain attempts to secretly scan every move they’re making. This is as dull as reading a script and it blocks your ability to sense the big messages that their body is subconsciously sending you.
Keep it simple. Rather than missing the whole show, look at their big gestures, not the micro ones.
If they’re quietly dying of boredom – a loss of eye contact, crossed arms or their legs facing away (trying to escape!) – should be apparent. You should also be vigilant for happy signals: nodding, smiling and engaged eye contact.
Don’t waste time trying to decipher if they’re playing with their hair because they’re attracted to you, or scratching their nose because they’re thinking. It’s easy to misinterpret, and they probably just have an itch.
Understanding the Law of Reverse Effect
Reading body language cues is primarily a job for your subconscious mind. When you force your conscious mind to step in and do something your unconscious mind handles, you’ll invariably encounter ‘The Law of Reverse Effect”.
In other words, when you actively begin looking for signals to read, you’ll overthink things and trip up with your subconscious. This results in getting tongue tied or being distant in the conversation. The best thing is to let your unconscious mind do what it was designed for – help you trust your gut instinct. Eventually, you reach a balance; you are aware of signals without thinking about what they mean. It becomes instinctive.
Did you know that instinct is based on real science? Your hollow organs (for example, your intestines) have nerve fibres which act like a second brain and they send signals to your brain. Hence the term ‘gut instinct’. When you follow your gut, it is actually your brain’s way of accessing an abundance of extra information from a different part of your body.
Find Your Comfort in Discomfort
One way of helping our instincts to speed read others is being at peace with discomfort. The better you are at relaxing in awkward situations, the easier it will be to pass through any moments of tension.
Mindful breathing is a great tool for this. Your breath is linked to the prefrontal cortex, which has fibres hooked to the amygdala (an almond-shaped mass of grey matter deep inside each cerebral hemisphere). Focus on the simple exercise of calmly breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. This turns off the panic button in your body and calms you down so you can become more attune to reading people.
How to Make People Receptive
Sometimes people are guarded and maintain their poker faces. Experienced salespeople and negotiators are typically good at this. Snap them out of this behaviour by doing something unexpected: it will often distract them long enough to elicit a genuine reaction.
‘Goading’ is another technique that involves friendly teasing:
“Wow you sure talk a lot, do you have an off-switch?”
You can also ask rhetorical questions which can amplify emotions and reveal authentic feelings:
“If you had to spend a million dollars in the next 24 hours what would you do with it?”
Finally, you can take the ‘provocative therapy’ route and call someone’s bluff on something. However, you must do this with a real twinkle in your eye so it isn’t intimidating.
“So are all the rumours flying around about you true?”
Whilst they are confused, the mask comes off.
So although there are many components towards mastering body language, the strategies outlined here will arm you well enough to move from novice to strong conversationalist.
If you practise remaining relaxed and enjoying the process, you will soon notice a remarkable improvement in your everyday charisma.
Your ability to let your subconscious read body language cues will accelerate this skill quickly and put you ahead of the curve. When you master this, then you can move onto micro analysing the facial expressions, body posture, physical gestures, and the verbal statements that are the cherry on the cake.
For more information on Igor and his techniques click here.