The first step to brain mastery

The first step to brain mastery is to take inventory of how you inhabit space, how you stand, how you sit, how you move, and how you interact with others.  When you’re sitting alone, do you slouch or sit straight?  When you stand, are you taking up all of your space, or do you shrink into corners?  When you move, do you move confidently, or do you slink — or do you… Read More

Communication and Brain Science – Part 2

We humans are much more communal than we realize.  It’s something we’ve forgotten, as we tune in separately to our thousand channels of entertainment and news using devices that isolate us even as they offer pseudo-connections to the group through the music or the headlines or the games.  We remember our communality when we get together as a group to hear a speech or attend a concert or root for a sports… Read More

Why Body Language Matters – and How to Think about It – Part 2

Three things happened to me when I was 17 that turned out to have a significant effect on my interest in communications, and specifically non-verbal communications, later in life.  First, I read a book about the Dalai Lama, and took him on as one of my heroes immediately and forever.  Second, I learned my father was gay.  And third, I died. I talked about seeing the Dalai Lama in person in my… Read More

Why Body Language Matters – and How to Think about It

Three things happened to me when I was 17 that turned out to have a significant effect on my interest in communications, and specifically non-verbal communications, later in life.  First, I read a book about the Dalai Lama, and took him on as one of my heroes immediately and forever.  Second, I learned my father was gay.  And third, I died. Let me take those in order.  I read a book about… Read More

7 Surprising Truths about Body Language

Thanks to TV shows like Lie to Me and so-called body language experts commenting on the candidates during the American election season, a number of misunderstandings about body language have become part of modern culture.  It’s time to clear the decks.  So here goes: 7 surprising truths about body language. 1.  Much of what the experts tell you about body language is wrong.  The biggest misconception perpetrated by many so-called experts is… Read More

Body language: how to master non-verbal communication

If you’re like most people, you think about body language as follows. I’m pretty much in charge of my body. I direct it, from the control tower in my head. I tell it what to do. ‘Make coffee’ I say, and it goes through the motions. ‘Now drink it’ I say, and it obliges. Sure, there are activities like breathing that I let it handle on its own, but that’s mostly low-level… Read More

How to Spot Concealed Emotion: Body Language Quick Takes #8

Grown ups learn to conceal their emotions, in the workplace, in social settings, and at home.  There are all sorts of reasons to do so, some good, some bad, but it’s useful to be able to detect concealed emotions underneath a bland exterior whether it’s your boss holding back on a job performance issue or a family member avoiding a fight.  So how do you do it? Paul Ekman made his life’s… Read More

How to Detect Respect – or Disrespect: Body Language Quick Takes #7

Respect is a hot-button issue, especially for people who feel threatened or not well-established in the social hierarchy.  If your autonomy is under siege, respect will often be a big issue for you.  So how do you spot respectful body language – or its opposite? People will unconsciously try to dominate someone that they perceive to be socially, financially, or hierarchically lower than themselves.  That dominance often expresses itself in terms of… Read More

Body Language Quick Takes – What Does Passion Look Like?

What are the body language signs of passion?  You’re thinking, this is a joke, right?  No, I’m not going to talk about sex.  I’ll leave that to the experts and the Internet.  What I’m talking about are the signs that a co-worker or friend or family member is about to erupt in rage, or frustration, or pique, or excitement, or even hilarity.  We put such a premium in most workplaces — and… Read More

Body Language Quick Takes – How to Spot Openness

I’m going to do a series of blogs on body language – quick takes.  Here’s a way to spot certain attitudes – or ‘tells’ – in body language, and how to employ those attitudes yourself.  My first attitude is openness.  What does it look like, how do you adopt it, and what does it mean? Openness begins with the face.  The person’s eyes are open wide, and focused on you; her eyebrows… Read More