Tag Archive for Tension

Setting Someone Up To Be Read

The following is a sequence by which lying can be more effectively read as outlined by Joe Navarro in his book What everybody is saying. Navarro follows a more interrogative style which will work in some circumstances, but it limited in others.

When trying to read someone for truth-telling, have an open view of their body to be able to see any signs of comfort and discomfort as they may arise.

When trying to read someone for truth-telling, have an open view of their body to be able to see any signs of comfort and discomfort as they may arise.

1. Get a clear unobstructed view of the person you wish to read so you don’t miss any pacifying behaviours. If possible put people in an open space.
2. Expect some nervous and stressful body language especially pacifying behaviours. People are expected to calm themselves at all times even when no lying is being done.
3. Expect initial nervousness. When someone is questioned they will feel tension regardless of their level of guilt.
4. If possible have the person you wish to read to first relax. With time everyone relaxes, even guilty people so if you can put off asking important questions or build rapport, do so.
5. Look to establish a baseline. This is especially important if you don’t know the person you are questioning all that well. Look for cues they use normally especially mannerisms and pacifiers.
6. As you begin questioning, watch for an increased use of pacifiers. This will be especially telling when they seem to increase dramatically during specific questions or when certain topics arise. When they arise, it will provide clues as to which information requires further investigation.
7. Pause frequently after asking questions. It is important to avoid putting out too many questions all at once because it will only serve to create stress. Give the person you are trying to read enough time to think and answer questions so as to avoid false positives.
8. Stay on task and maintain focus. When people feel stress they often want to change the subject matter or avoid questions. If a person gets the opportunity to change the subject their will emit fewer nonverbal tells of deception because when people speak they get to choose and control the topic.
9. Chatter is not truth. Listening to one side of the story often produces a bias and on the surface, the more we listen to people, the more we tend to trust and believe what they tell us. Advertising campaigns work through a similar mechanism as the more we hear the message, the more we think it to be true. Eventually, if we hear messages enough time, they work into our subconsciousness to become “ours”, they re-write our reality. When people present a huge amount of information about a topic, they appear to be telling the truth, however this is not always the case as even creative liars can go at lengths to produce elaborate and believable lies. It is not the amount of information provided that matters, but rather the accuracy of the information which can only come through verification of the facts.
10. Stress in and stress out. There are two times when stressful nonverbals are emitted, once when the question is asked which can appear like distancing behaviours such as arms and foot withdrawl and then again when pacifying is needed to calm. These come out as neck touching, stroking the hair and so forth.
11. Isolate the cause of stress. Is stress due to being asked stressful questions, or because someone is being interrogated. Not all stressful nonverbal language is due to lying and often people that are honest, show nervous language.
12. Pacifiers tell us a lot. Pacifying body language tells us when someone is stressed which tells us which scenarios, questions or information has created it. It therefore follows that pacifying cues tell us which areas require more thorough investigation.

Verbal And Paraverbal Cues

At times verbal and paraverbal cues betray the liar and these are cues tied directly to the words in which they speak. Although they fall outside the realm of body language at large, they do complete this chapter with regards to cues associated with deception which is why they have been included. These cues are, as always, related to the stress of fibbing so can be confused with nervousness of any other source. Some however are the direct consequences of lying such as the telling of an implausible story or using more negative comments or statements, which has been shown to increase during lying.

Here are the cues to deception as they relate to our verbal dialogue: Vocal tension, hectic speech, faltering speech, improper structure or grammar, implausible story, inconsistent story, superfluous details, describing feelings rather than events such as “I felt this way when I did this” or “I must have felt this way because of this” etc, adding qualifying statement such as “This is what I am about to say” then saying it, word or phrase repetition, using less contractions saying “I did not” instead of “I didn’t”, using the persons name in sentences instead of saying “he” or “she”, for example “Bill went to the store” rather than “He went to the store”, the use of clichés, blocking access to information, evasive responses or desire to change the subject, speech is less compelling, less personal and with less or too much detail, expressing self doubt, negative complaints or statements, defensiveness or aggressiveness, changes in pitch (high low or monotone), shaky or soft voice, stuttering, false starts, silent pauses, filled pauses, delayed response, appearing to be thinking, admitted lack of memory, tentative construction of sentences, clearing the throat and spontaneous corrections.

Reading Buy Signals

No matter what your occupation, we are all in the business of selling. If we aren’t selling a particular product, we’re selling ourselves! Most good salesmen agree that almost every form of sales includes the selling of oneself and when people buy, they usually buy us and not the merchandise. This is why it’s important to know when we are on the right track during a sales call. Buying signals include indicators that tell us that someone is not only ready to buy an item, but can also mean that they are ready to sign a deal, offer us a job, create a partnership or forge practically any other agreement. Let’s look at some of the ways we know when someone is about to commit to buying so we can tone down or stop our pitch altogether in favour of closing out. Pitching passed the point where a decision is made is always unnecessary, but sometimes even disastrous because we may end up saying something extra to take them out of the buying mood. So here are the various signals we should watch for during a sales pitch.

Eye contact: During the pitch process a buyer will sometimes try to feign disinterest (or might actually be disinterested) but as someone readies to buy, they increase eye contact.

Moving in: Buyers will shrink the distance between them and the seller usually by leaning inward, or if standing, by moving in closer. Translation – they don’t want the deal to slip away.

Touching the chin: Touching the chin is a powerful signal showing thought, and if seen along with accompanying buy-signals, closing should be attempted.

Greater relaxation: Tension is heavy during negotiations, but as demands are met and agreements created, a sudden release of tension from the body indicates that your client is prepared to accept the deal and is okay with its terms.

Any reversal of these signals, midstream or a lack of buy-signals shows that a buyer is not yet ready to purchase. With what we have covered throughout this book, it should be obvious from their body language, the reason they withhold the sale. If possible, addressing concerns as you go through hints in their body language, but if you miss them and get hung up put the ball in their court by asking them what needs addressing. This is only a fail-safe tactic since in most cases, as we have seen people give off plenty of solid clues to negative thought patterns.

Kiss Test And Stages In Intimacy

Puckered lips means a woman is thinking about her lips - this might mean that she's interested in a kiss.

Puckered lips means a woman is thinking about her lips – this might mean that she’s interested in a kiss.

All nonverbal signals begin from the same origin; thoughts. The kiss is no different since it begins with a desire to take a very intimate and important step in a relationship. As arousal occurs, women will begin to draw attention to their mouths, but not just to deliver a message, it is to alleviate tension that is building. Women interested in kissing will release this energy by touching their mouth more frequently, say with a finger or by mouthing an object. They might pout by compressing their lips or they will apply lip gloss or lip stick. Escalation of these signals includes direct eye contact or glances toward the man’s mouth. Remember that looking in the direction of interest is difficult to resist and when a kiss is envisioned, it is the mouth that gets the looks. While holding hands, a quick kiss-test happens by measured response of a hand-squeeze; if he squeezes and she squeezes back, there is a good chance a kiss would be well received.

The Chameleon Effect (Mimicry)

It's like looking into the mirror.

It’s like looking into the mirror – and we see ourselves.  This eases our tension.

A term first coined by Chartrand and Bargh in 1999, the “chameleon effect” refers to the unconscious mimicry of postures, mannerisms, facial expressions, and other behaviours such that one partner in an interaction passively and unintentionally changes his body positions to match that of others. He further describes that this changes are context specific and person specific. There are some key points in this idea. First is that the mirroring happens without conscious awareness, which will become important later as we explore the applications of mirroring. Second, a persons perception of another’s behaviour works to increase the likelihood of it appearing in others.

In other studies it was observed that nonverbal mirroring increased over time within a group of people. Rapport, liking, empathy and group building also increases over time. When students were asked to mirror the nonverbal language of their instructor they reported a stronger sense of involvement with them. It has even been reported that the absence of mirroring can even produce differences amongst people instead of just inhibiting cohesion.

Additional Emotional Body Language

A whole host of other body language is associated with emotion and fear such as a pale face, dry mouth, damp eyes, avoiding eye contact, trembling, speech errors, voice tremors, varying speech tone, increases in sweating, tension and jerky movements, gasping or holding breath, red face or neck, widening of the eyes or raised eyebrows, grimacing and trying to change the topic. Be aware too, of smiles that are dishonest or faked or stress filled as these can be a dead giveaway which was covered in an earlier chapter. These smiles will be quickly flashed across the face or permanently held under extreme anxiety where only the lips are stretched across the face.

Interlacing Fingers and Palm Finger Stroking

Interlaced fingers is a low confidence hand display.

Interlaced fingers is a low confidence hand display.

When the fingers massage the palm or the fingers are interlaced together then gently rub up and down as the fingers stroke the inside of the other indicate a person who is in doubt, has low confidence, or is experiencing stress. As tension escalates the gesture will move from palm stroking into more rigorous interlaced finger stroking making the two a progression of intensity. Thus while palm stroking is due to mild doubt or slight confidence issues, interlaced fingers that rub up and down is to do a higher level of anxiety.

Both gestures are excellent examples of pacifying behaviours meant to sooth underlying emotional discomfort. As conversations intensify watch for increases in soothing body language revealing the underlying anxiety.

Body language And Energy displacement

Tapping a table is a form of energy displacement because it burns extra energy to relieve tension.

Tapping a table is a form of energy displacement because it burns extra energy to relieve tension.

When someone talks about energy displacement and body language they are talking about movements that create relief. Someone that is nervous or excited will find relief in rubbing their legs with their hands called “leg cleansing”, or they might rub their hands together or stroke an object vigorously. Leg cleansing is a gesture that usually goes unnoticed because it happens underneath the table, but an astute observer will see the upper body move serving to give it away. An example of leg cleaning is that of a baseball player that is on deck and getting ready to bat. His hands might be sweaty from the excitement so he rubs his hands on his thighs, soon enough this becomes a habit and he does this every time he comes to bat regardless of whether his hands are sweaty. With repetition he has conditioned himself to seek comfort by performing this gesture. Self touching also produces relaxing chemicals in his body to help him deal with the stress and burns up nervous energy. Self touching isn’t always related to energy displacement although in this case it is. Energy displacement means the same thing as stress motivated energy burning. It is the burning of energy that provides a trickle release that occupies the mind and produces soothing neurochemicals.

Extreme anxiety causes the desire to control the pain by inflicting it against ourselves.  It gives back our sense of control over our anxiety.  People who resort to cutting also seek to displace their anxiety and control it.

Extreme anxiety causes the desire to control the pain by inflicting it against ourselves. It gives back our sense of control. People who resort to ‘cutting’ also seek to displace their anxiety and control it.

Energy displacement isn’t just for athletes, it happens all over the place from the boardroom to the classroom. We see people rubbing their hands together in excitement or wringing their hands showing inner turmoil and in during extreme stress, pacing, or even self inflicted pain such as ear pulling, scratching, or pinching. Energy displacement allows for a controlled release of tension without creating fatigue. Energy displacement is akin to the natural high that is achieved through punishing physical exercise except in this case the endorphin rush comes much less potently but the action still provides a stress reducer.

When a woman suddenly becomes “cold” as a decision gets close in a meeting they might begin by cross their arms and begin to stroke their elbows or forearms. The temperature in the room hasn’t dropping though, what she is feeling is an emotional change creating an uneasy feeling. To sooth herself, she strokes her body and this reminds her of childhood feelings where mom comforted her. A nervous husband who waits outside a delivery room will pace back and forth. His movement gives him something to do and also burns up excess energy. Generally men’s displacement actions will be easier to spot then women’s since they will be more aggressive. Men feel that when something is good, more is better, and take almost everything to extremes. In fact, one of the leading causes of preventable gum disease is brushing the teeth too hard or for too long, and men are often most at fault for this. Women’s postures, on the other hand, will melt into their regular body language and can therefore be harder to spot.

An entire host of gestures can be used for energy displacement and they vary from person to person and culture to culture. Any movement that has no inherent or immediate function and that is done when faced with stress can be called energy displacement. With observation, you can catalog energy displacement cues in family members, friends and even bosses. If you observe energy displacement body language in friends, an appropriate response is to offer comfort, but if it is found in a boss or employee, or during a sale, then it is usually time to back off and give them time to think things over. Allow a stressed out individual some time to reach a conclusion on their own.