Body language reading people like a book

Body language and digital language are quite different.

Body language is a key to reading and understanding people

Your body language can reveal much about you because people instinctively feel your personality and your attitude to a proposal. Wouldn’t it be great if you could tell if someone was lying to you, or ready to make a purchase? Research shows that within a few minutes of meeting someone, you can often make a judgement about them with 70% accuracy. But, the other 30% can be costly, if you read them wrongly.

Body language is an important tool. How you use it determines your success in many spheres of life, in personal relationships and business. Modern business people do not read body signals as well as their ancestors because they are now distracted by words and technology. The understanding of gestures is very difficult when the various elements are separated from their context. However, when gestures are considered together, a complete picture tends to emerge.

Management effectiveness means managing less while achieving more. With management effectiveness, good things come to those who believe in what they are doing. Better things come to those who are patient so the best things come to those who don’t give up on important issues and projects.

Overcome your problems, frustrations and burnout by making more time for the activities and people that matter most to you. At the same time, free up more time to learn about the things that will propel your business into the future, more profitably and sustainably. Learn about physical and digital body language because it can improve your management effectiveness,

Digital body language is a whole new ball game

Digital body language is the accumulation of all the digital activity you can access about an individual’s activities. Every email that is opened, each web visit, each social media action, each Google search, each referral from a social media site, each webinar attended and each form that is filled out are part of a person’s digital body language.

With the advances in inbound marketing, many sales people have been crippled. They are no longer able to read a buyer’s physical body language. The clues to a buyers behaviour were what great salespeople were accustomed to using during a sale, from initial contact to the close of business.

The advancement of marketing automation technology has been dramatic. It now allows for online tracking of leads and customers beyond your wildest dreams of a few short years ago.

Without understanding digital body language, marketing can become a nightmare.


People are looking at your website, or reading your post, but what do you see?

Consider all those online activities and touch points your customers and potential customers are involved with while you are not present. Your website visits, posts, and email responses are all evoking responses, if only you could see the people’s faces. Buyers today are getting smarter, salespeople are focusing on value, and the buying experience is becoming more enjoyable.

Most buyers are always on, always interacting and always revealing interest. Their online behaviour can reveal exactly how to market to them if you know howTracking behaviour can help you to identify the buyers that are responsive and show interest in what you are offering.

Today savvy marketing people are leveraging web-based platforms that help give insight into how their prospects are responding to their efforts. These platforms are integrated into their website and are designed to read and track the prospect’s digital body language. From this, you are able to get data that informs your buying process and gives you a higher probability of closing business.

Key aspects of digital body language

This could be a whole new field to you, so we recommend you seek some practical advice.

  • Integration of your tasks – customer base, activities and tasks, your projects and your CRM.
  • Identifying the lead source – where are your leads coming from?
  • Social Media Clicks – how are they interacting with your social media?
  • Emails opened – which of your emails have they engaged with?
  • Your website visits – how often have they visited your site?
  • Website pages viewed – how many different pages have they looked at on your site and how long have they stayed?
  • Segmentation  – what lists are they on and what communications are they receiving?
  • The number of form submissions – how many times have they completed a form on your site?
  • Lead Scoring – how valuable are the engagements on your site and the information you’ve collected about them ?
  • Recent conversion – what have been your most recent conversations?

Take advantage of the shift from an outbound to inbound sales model and improve your overall performance. Perhaps you could make a start by automation associated with your emails and posts. Put them into your workflows with automatic responses and delivery.

Understanding physical body language is still important

You probably still deal with people one-on-one, you have meetings, are engaged with customers, employees and contractors. If you know how to read people you will notice their mood swings and inconsistencies. This gives you more insight into what is really going on.

To be successful, it is important to learn how to read people quickly. Failing to make accurate assessments of a person could lead to upset people and lost sales. This is why every person in your organisation should have a basic understanding of body language. Being perceptive is important and means being able to spot contradictions between someone’s words and their body language.

Conversations are a string of words and gestures when put together create more understanding. One word or gesture, by itself, can mean many things, or nothing. It’s only when you put them together they can mean something. Nonverbal gestures come in groups so it’s important to observe a person’s initial gestures to establish a base to work from.

It’s a serious error to interpret a solitary gesture. Scratching the head can mean confusion or it could indicate the person just has an itch. Many people punctuate their engagement with you with many gestures and movements while others remain relatively inactive. They key is to notice how these gestures change during a conversation. When the mind closes, the physical body follows. The question is, do you notice the real meaning behind gestures or do you choose to ignore them and suffer the consequences?

Hands can reveal a lot about a person

There are more nerve connections between the hands and the brain than between any other parts of the body. Your brain is hardwired to engage your hands to accurately communicate your emotions, thoughts, and feelings.

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Hand gestures can be confusing by themselves, but together can have great meaning.

Submissive dogs reveal their throats. Humans reveal their palms. The position of your hands on your arms, legs or in the air actually reveals if you’re being honest with yourself.

  • Clenching hands is a universal way of showing stress or concern.
  • Covering parts of the mouth can indicate that a person is not being truthful.
  • Hand steepling (placing the tips of your fingers together similar to praying) indicates that you are confident of your thoughts or situation.
  • Stroking a collar or neck with a finger can indicate a lack of confidence. 

Take particular notice of a person’s feet

As unglamorous as feet might be, they way you use them is considered to be the most reliable part of the way you feel and act . You bounce up and down when you see someone or something, that makes you happy. Many learn to stand and sit in order to intimidate others.

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How people sit and stand can become a ‘power’ pose.


In general, when in a negotiation or intense conversation, pay attention to crossed legs. Research has found that contract settlements increased greatly when both negotiators uncross their legs.

  • The wiggling of a leg once seated indicates that the person is bored, uncomfortable or stressed with something that was said.
  • Locking ankles, one over the other, indicates the individual is mentally holding back a negative emotion, uncertainty, or fear.
  • In ankle locks, men naturally tend to open their legs in a crotch display while women tend to hold their knees together.
  • Pointing feet toward the way out is a sign that a person is looking for a way to end the conversation.
  • Often the body will be angled in the direction of the feet even though the person has turned their face toward you.

Facial expressions can be more easily manipulated

A lot has been written about reading facial expressions, and while they can be accurate, they can also be very misleading and deceiving. This is usually the first thing you learn about body language and it is easy for anyone to fake their real feelings.

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You need to be careful of facial expressions, they can easily be manipulated and therefore unreliable.

Hand touching, face touching, crossing arms, and leaning away are all clues that, by themselves, mean nothing. But, together they are a highly accurate signal of a person lying or covering something up that they don’t want to disclose.

  • Children covering their mouth indicated they were being deceitful.
  • When adults are being deceitful, the hand is placed on the face in a nose touch gesture.
  • The hand on nose gesture can also mean they are considering how they will make their next response.
  • A natural smile produces characteristic wrinkles around the eyes. Insincere people smile only with their mouth.
  • Raising eyebrows is a sign that a person is excited to see someone, or are full of positive emotions they can’t hold back.
  • The tilting of a head is a powerful way of saying I am comfortable, receptive, listening and friendly. This is hard to do if you are around people you dislike.
  • Science has proven that the more you smile, the more positive reactions others will give you.

Start making a difference to your communications

People can communicate different types of information with different levels of understanding. The communication process consists of more than the spoken or written language, irrespective of the mode of delivery. Relieving entrepreneurial pressure can be a great by-product of body language as you can better understand what is going on,

When you are trying to communicate with a person, sometimes you get through and sometimes you do not. This is not because of what you said or how you said it or the logic of your thoughts. But because many times the reception of your communication is based upon the degree of the listener’s empathy for your nonverbal communication.

Quotable quotes

“Learning is acquired by reading books. But the much more necessary learning, the knowledge of the world, is only to be acquired by reading men. And studying all the various editions of them”. Lord Chesterfield

“What is commonly called ‘women’s intuition’ is mostly a woman’s acute ability to notice small details. Changes in the appearance or behaviour of others. It’s something that, throughout history, has bewildered men”. Allan Pease

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