At the Dec. 5 Massachusetts Conference for Women (#MassWomen), the first session I attended was “How to Use Body Language to Influence Human Behavior and Enhance Your Presence,” given by Janine Driver , lie detector expert and New York Times best-selling author of You Can’t Lie to Me. She is like the real life version of Cal Lightman, a lie detection expert in one of my favorite TV shows, Lie to Me. The session was entertaining and informative, and there are 4 facts about body language that I want to share with you from Janine.
1. Your belly button faces where your comfort lies.
Janine told the packed room of women that you can tell how comfortable someone is by where their belly button is facing. She calls this “Naval Intelligence.” If you are talking to someone and their belly button is facing you, then they are interested in being there with you. However, if they are facing you, but their naval is facing the door, they are looking to make an exit.
2. Avoid getting your Ph.D. or graduate degree. Just grab your chin.
Okay, this got a good laugh, but Janine’s point was that grabbing your chin suggests you have confidence and people are more likely to trust what you are saying. She said, “When you grab your chin, you’re about to win.”
3. Be the short, fat candle.
This was a funny analogy. Think of a tall skinny candle. If you bump a table with one on it, the candle will likely tip over. However, if you have a shorter candle with a wide base, it is more stable and less likely to fall over. People of importance (or who think they are important) tend to take up space by standing with a wider, more powerful stance.
4. Crossed arms help you process information.
Janine told us when someone crosses their arms, it can mean they are processing information. There is a 30 percent increase in focus when arms are crossed. In an article written by Driver, she says “Crossing our arms, Friedman and Elliot argued, sends our a brains a ‘proprioceptive cue.’ ‘Proprioception’ is the scientific term for our perception of the relative position of our body parts. When our arms are crossed it tells the brain to buckle down and get ready to work through a difficult problem.”
The important thing to know about all of this is that you can never make presumptions about what body language means. You need to get to the underlying information to understand the true meaning of a shoulder shrug, chin grab or crossed arms.
Chat with you soon,