There are some key body language gestures which are mentioned throughout the book that don’t need to be compare to a baseline as they tend to be innate and not learned. These gestures will give us clues as to whether actions are currently on their natural baseline or are as a result of some other underlying stress. Some things to consider when formulating a baseline includes a catalog of how often a person gestures and which direction their eyes stare when they are thinking and analyzing (can be an indicator of creative thought or recalling as we shall cover in a later chapter), how do they act when they are successful and what do they do when they are stressed? It is difficult and probably unnecessary for me to offer help in establishing baseline techniques since it’s a natural process that we all do daily. However, the take home message has more to do with protecting ourselves from thinking that all gestures in body language are universal and ubiquitous across all people. This book will help determine cues that fall in and around the baselines of the people around you and provided educated guesses as to their meaning, but this is not to say that each cue means the same thing for everyone.
A final word on proper establishment of baselines is to place most emphasis of a person when they are relaxed or when they are in a normal mood and state. Don’t baseline someone when they are getting ready to go on stage to speak in public or if they are going through a divorce, or have had a recent death in the family. Their body language will be misleading and uncharacteristic. Definitely take culture and intuition into your baseline, but avoid things like projecting and making assumptions. Assumptions clog our ability to see what is really happening because we are putting our thoughts and feelings which we have inside ourselves on someone else. Our life history and experiences do play some purpose when we read people, but they can’t be the dominant force, so don’t let your biases control how you read people. Keep in mind too that almost every other person will look at body language naively. They will think that “A” means “B”, when in fact it might mean “C”, “D” or nothing at all. As an aside, you might want to be careful about using body language to influence others, since your signals might be misread or simply go unnoticed altogether.
So the message here is, just because so and so does this or that, it doesn’t mean one hundred percent this or that! Compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges and him or her to his or her baseline! This will produce a much more accurate read.