Five Ways People Will Misread Your Body Language

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September 2011
by Carol Kinsey Goman

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Five Ways People Will Misread Your Body Language

by Carol Kinsey Goman

Your nonverbal signals don’t always convey what you intended them to. In fact, when people read your body language, you can count on them making five major mistakes.

Body language was the basis for our earliest form of communication, when the split-second ability to recognize if a person or situation was benign or dangerous was often a matter of life or death.

Today, nonverbal signals play a key role in helping us form quick impressions. But, as innate as this ability may be, not all of our impressions are accurate. Although our brains are hardwired to respond instantly to certain nonverbal cues, that circuitry was put in place a long time ago—when our ancient ancestors faced threats and challenges very different from those we face in today’s modern society.

The problem is that the world has changed, but our body-reading processes are still based on a primitive emotional reaction that hasn’t changed much since humans began interacting with one another.

For example: In our prehistory, it may have been vitally important to see an approaching person’s hands in order to evaluate that person’s intent. If hands were concealed, they could very well be ho…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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