In this second chapter we have solidified our nonverbal foundation with the five cardinal rules of body language. First we covered the five basic rules of body language: the rule-of-four, congruence, context, baselining and intuition and perception. The ‘rule-of-four’ says that we need at least four independent, but related signals to reliably read someone whereas congruence says that we should pay particular attention when verbal language and nonverbal language do not match. Context on the other hand, says that we must be mindful of where and how cues develop since they could be confused with other variables and might mean something totally different or nothing at all. Baselining refers to the need to measure a person over time and in different situations before we can accurately predict their nonverbal meaning with any accuracy. The final rule says that we need to be conscious about intuition and perception so we don’t project meaning onto situations based on pre-conceived beliefs. We also covered how the feet are the most honest part of the body, and that coupled with putting presidency on negative body language over positive body language, we will have a greater success rate in reading people accurately.
Aside from these rules we looked at the flow of silent speech, how body language can be less confusing than verbal language, the differences between men and women, how women intuitively read body language and how age affects body language. We also discussed the importance that alpha’s, or leaders play in our lives and how we are either creating social norms (leading) or we are following them, how posture portrays confidence, the importance of ‘haptics’ or touch, in addition to body language as it relates to energy displacement and finally the meaning of fashion and preening.
Is she cold, or angry?
Single gestures by themselves can not reveal the true meaning of the situation. There are many more factors that play into reading people then just identifying single cues. When people move, they are fluid and changing, so too are their moods and context. One must use the full picture to discover the story. The ‘rule of four’, congruency, context, baselining, and intuition are the five cardinal rules that any body language master must abide by and we cover them next.
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.