Just as a home run’s not a home run if you miss a bag, your intelligence gathering mission is incomplete without covering all of your bases. Body language is relentlessly reliable, but only with the right methods in place. Rather than take a chance on missed opportunities to discover deception-revealing “hot spots,” arm yourself with this handy “Baseline Checklist,” compiled by body language expert Janine Driver.
Step 1: A Stance on Stance
Have you ever been to a party with someone who — even though of normal size — seemed massive in terms of physical presence? It’s true: some people just seem to occupy more space. This can be attributed to stance.
Pay attention to whether you subject adopts an open stance (widespread arms, outstretched legs, sweeping gestures), an average stance (feet shoulder width apart, hands visible, gestures contained to the body’s midsection) or disappearing stance (crossed arms or legs, concealed hands, low, subtle gestures).
While each of these stances on their own may be meaningless or may indicate a character trait, a shift from one stance to another is cause for an observant Truth Wizard to take note.
Step 2: Facing It
While micro expressions tend to induce the most buzz, there’s something to be said for considering the face as a whole — particularly when it comes to establishing a baseline. Did you know that the mere tilt of your chin or head affects the way others perceive you? Up, down, left and right suggest anything from joy and shame to intelligence and attractiveness.
As with all things body language, while the tendency to tilt may merely be a habit, a switch from normal head positioning to something different may indicate a “hot spot.”
Step 3: From Fidget to Fudging It
If you’re trying to lose weight, fidgeting offers some serious potential: it can burn up to an extra 500 calories a day. However, those dropped pounds may come at a cost; people just might think you’re a liar. Why? because fidgeting is commonly — and often wrongly — associated with deception.
When gathering intel, pay attention to your subject’s posture: is she consistently relaxed and laidback? Does she fidget occasionally? Or is she in a constant state of fidgety motion? While it’s true that fidgeting can indicate anything from natural activity to nerves, an increase or decrease in fidgeting may reveal a telling disparity.
Just keep in mind that what’s missing is as important as what’s present.
Now think for a second: do you know someone who is always rubbing his jaw or stroking his temple? Or how about someone who fanatically tucks her hair behind her ears? Any of these behaviors can mean anything from TMJ to a migraine to the need for a haircut, but they can also mean something else. And you won’t know until you establish a baseline.
While paying attention to these three factors may seem overwhelming, it’s simple when you get the hang of it, and the payoffs are huge in terms of offering critical insight into the intentions of others. At the end of the day, your intelligence gathering doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be consistent.
This handy Baseline Checklist offers just what you need to take the first step toward a fully operational BS Barometer.
Until we visit again ...
Keep It Real and Always Live at Level 10,
- Mark Call
Truth Wizards Radio Podcast Host
'Certified' Body Language Trainer