You Probably Don’t Understand Body Language As Well As You Think You Do
Mark Bowden stopped by The Social to share ways that we often completely misread common situations and teach us how to improve our own understanding of body language. You might not be able to rival a human behaviour expert when it comes to reading people, but Mark has a few tips and techniques to not only figure out other people’s true intentions, but portray exactly what you want others to perceive about you. Our biggest problem is that we generally assume that our first judgement is correct, rather than just one of many possibilities. Studies say that there’s generally a 50/50 chance that our first assumptions are accurate, but we rarely feel that uncertainty.
Check out Mark’s clip above on the situations we may get wrong and how we can step back and assess or SCAN the situation.
SCANning the Situation
In order to avoid falling into that first assumption trap, Mark uses the SCAN acronym to assess a situation.
S: Suspend judgement and be more descriptive. Take a step back and examine as fully as possible the details you sense.
C: Take in the context. Body language is completely contextual—what folded arms mean in one scenario may mean something completely different in another. When we are instinctual in our judgements, we haven’t taken the full situation into our vision. Where are you? What do you know about this person? What circumstances are at play?
A: Ask, “what else?” Consider details and “what if?” possibilities by asking what else you know or can bring to bear on the situation. Can you ask more questions about what’s going on? Take in more data to help fill in your idea.
N: Form a new judgement and test it. Refine or replace your initial assessment with a more informed theory. You can go back to your old judgement, but after thinking critically, you may have come to a new conclusion altogether.
Voted the #1 Body Language Professional in the world, Mark Bowden is passionate about giving people the most influential and persuasive communication techniques to stand out, win trust, and build credibility every time they speak. His newest book, Truth and Lies: What People Are Really Thinking, illustrates how to interpret body language to determine when to run with an opportunity and when not to waste your time at work and in life.