Mastery of anything begins by first learning the basics, and body language is no different. A solid structure can not be built without first forming and pouring a solid foundation. This chapter is aimed at accomplishing just that, as we tackle the basic, but very important rules of body language. It might seem as though reading body language is as easy and simple as just reading cues and postures, but it isn’t. At times it can be downright confusing, although the aim here is to simplify the language by breaking it apart then reassembling it, but not until the cues are first put through a strong filter. One of the filters we use is based on the five cardinal rules of body language which says that we need to use the rule of four. This rule tells us that we need at least four related cues to form a conclusion. We also need the cues to ‘jive’ called congruence, they must be taken in context, fit along some baseline of behaviour and finally must not be filter through a bias, meaning that they must be true rather than created fictitiously for an ulterior purpose. We will examine the five cardinal rules in detail in the pages to follow.
Just like regular spoken language or written language, silent speech or nonverbal communication also has what is called flow. Body language has rhythm, syntax and all the other nuances associated with general communication and ignoring this flow is akin to throwing away valuable information. We will also see that body language is much more reliable than spoken words because people generally pay little attention to it, and because of this, people will monitor it less readily allowing it to appear naturally and untainted. We will see that when body language and spoken language contradict one another, we should rely more heavily on what is happening non-verbally.
We will also cover the differences in body language reading ability between men and women, how age can influences reading, which may or may not be surprising and how leaders or alpha members of our society call the shots even when it comes to body language. We will touch a bit on good posture, how best to use touching, and how body language relieves pent up energy and displaces it. Finally we will touch briefly on the meaning of fashion and how it plays into nonverbal communication.