Keith Brown, of Three Key Elements, is a body language teacher-trainer. He shared with us the benefits of knowing how to read body language in promoting good relationships with other people at Utah County ELP.

Good relationships lead to successful businesses

Good relationships lead to successful businesses, and successful businesses lead to making good money. He first got interested in body language when participating in a karate class. His opponent was a blind person. When he threw a punch that person instinctively turned his body away from the punch. He was puzzled. How did he know the punch was coming from that direction, and how could he so accurately time the defensive move to make the punch ineffective. What he found out was that every body movement gives out signals that can be felt and often heard. A force wave goes out or in from the area of movement and even a little movement often produces faint sounds from moving cloth or muscles. When you pull your arm back, it creates a vacuum , and the shoulder muscles create tiny sounds that can be heard by the sensitive hearing awareness of a blind person. Then when you punch swiftly forward, the blind opponent is already anticipating that action and is turning so that the forward thrust never reaches the intended target. He was able to tie that sense of defense to the messages our body movements convey to those we are engaging with when he attended a class on body language with his wife.

Learning Body Language Improves Relationships

He learned from the class that knowing body language helps us have respect for each other, and allows us to leave our minds open, learning more from our ongoing interactions in our relationships. It also gives us the opportunity to watch people and see from what side of the brain they are getting what they are saying. You can tell when people are nervous, bored, anxious, closed to a message, open to a message, uncomfortable, when they need to say something, when they need to “let go of energy” emotionally, when they are holding back information, and when they are ready to say something important when you can read the messages of body language.

The Most Communication Occurs Through Body Language

When we have interactive communication with another, body language conveys 57% of what we learn. The tone of voice shares another 36%, and the actual words we hear gives us only 7% of what we learn. The mind can organize 45o words per minute, but you speak only 150 words per minute. The remaining 300 words are made up of the thoughts you are receiving from non-verbal communication.

Experiment Lead to Observations

Keith had a volunteer stand in front of the audience feet apart, hands high above head in a “V” position, and mouth closed. They would listen and try not to make any expression while the audience clapped wildly for them for 30 seconds. The audience was to observe what the volunteer did or didn’t do. We noticed that her expression slightly changed; the mouth opened, closed and smiled; eyes moved, blinked, and looked to the right; and energy was up. Keith shared that the eyes blinking signals a release of energy which has built up in the individual to the point of being uncomfortable. When she was told she could put her hands down, she dropped them suddenly, clapped them and then slapped her thighs. Such a set of movements signified a possible release from an uncomfortable situation, or from thoughts that had been brought back by the situation. Bringing the hands together shows a tendency to protect oneself .

Hands Convey Many Thoughts

Closed hands are an indication only of a gate being closed. It could mean the person is trying to keep something out that they don’t want to deal with or that offends them or threatens them, or it could mean they are trying to hold something in that they don’t wish to reveal. We should always withhold judgment until we see several other indicators that confirm the initial action. For instance, a hand brought to the mouth indicates the person is either trying to hold back from interrupting someone with their “very important thought” that needs to be in the conversation, or they are making sure they don’t reveal a secret related to the persons or the conversation being discussed. Put the two body language clues together in relation to the conversation and you may be able to make some conclusions. If the person has shown these clues and is also fidgeting in the chair or where they stand, showing discomfort, in addition to the above clues, and the conversation is about a person they know, it might be reasonable to assume they are holding something back, especially if there was space given for them to comment. A good detective, knowing body language, would make a mental note to privately question this person later.

Eyes Show Direction of Thinking

The eyes looking to the right shows where the person is thinking. Looking to the right is right brain thinking. Looking to the left is left brain thinking. A person looking up and to the right is accessing the right brain visual memory in response to a question. He noted that when he asked his one daughter if she had made her bed, she answered that she had while looking to the right and up. This body language action indicated that part of her answer was correct, but the other part was created, because the reality was not congruent with what she had been taught. The bed was made by tossing the covers toward the head of the bed so that they wildly covered the sheets. His other daughter would likely answer with the eyes looking up and to the left. She is accessing the left side visual memory which is an indication that she has orderly done the bed how she was taught. If a person’s eyes are looking to the sides—left or right—they are pulling up audio voices in their head, someone else’s comments that help them make a decision.

Right and Left Brain Thinking

In order to understand the basis of their indicated thinking with eye movements, you must know what is shown by right brain thinking and left brain thinking about the person. A person looking to the right when accessing information or conveying thoughts is predominantly a right brain thinker. They are usually characterized by being creative, artistic, emotional, intuitive, future oriented, and looking at the big picture. A person looking to the left when accessing information or conveying thoughts is predominantly a left brain thinker. They are characterized by being logical, ordered, detailed, past oriented, and analytical. Know this, you can tell the best way to approach these people, from the point of view of their dominant brain thinking.

In contrast to the eyes; hand, arm and leg movements are opposite. The left brain controls the right side limb movements. So a person that is predominantly “right handed” is left brain oriented. While a person who is predominantly “left handed” is right brain oriented. People can be trained to be left or right dominant. The can also be trained to be balanced, using both sides of the brain equally well. The balanced person has a tendency to be in control of his or her emotions and does not react as readily to opposing stimuli as a predominantly right or left brained person does.

Eyes Looking Up or Down

Going back to the eyes, a person looking down and being silent is looking into their own emotions, thinking and pondering on what to do in response to a decision making situation. This is a great time for that person companion(s) to be totally silent and patiently wait for them to look up. However, you need to be ready to listen, with your eyes right on them. Spouses should take note of this tip

When your companion is looking up, grab your pen and write whatever they are saying, during or shortly after the looking up. They are pleading for and often receiving inspiration that they or you sorely need.

Additional Hand Tips

Another set of hands tips include: When you see the palms up, the person is showing that she is caring. When the arms are reaching out with the hands up, the person is asking you to care, too. When the hands are to the side with the palms up, the person is saying, “I manage it!” This is often accompanied by the exclamation, “What do you think!” or “Of course I can!” The spoken message and the body language must be congruent for you to be believable. So make sure what your body is saying is also what you are speaking, or else you will not, subconsciously, be believed by your audience. And if your audience’s eyes are very focused on your hands bring your hands up and gestures up closer to your face so that their eyes can see both your hand movements and your facial expressions while listening to your words. Don’t use your hands to chop or poke. These are just two offensive gestures that destroy your credibility

Talking With Hands

Finally, since many of you talk with your hands, be aware that this is often cultural and you needn’t be self-conscious about it. Use this ability to your advantage by keeping the message you convey congruent from all your communication sources and you will find all your relationships improving. And improved relationships lead to improved marriages and improved businesses, which brings in more money.