February 25, 2013 | Barb Carr

Career Development: Decoding Non-verbal Behavior

Studies indicate that non-verbal behaviors comprise a large portion of all interpersonal communication, so paying attention to someone’s body language during an investigative interview or a job interview will give you a wealth of information that they aren’t saying verbally.

When you are judging someone’s non-verbal behavior, where do you look?  Most people look for the truth of the story in someone’s face, but did you know that is the main place that people hide their true feelings?  Think about it — growing up how many times did your parents say, “Get that scowl off of your face?” or “Put on a good face for Aunt Linda?” How many times do we tell our own children and grandchildren that?

The best way to judge someone’s true feelings is to look at their feet! People tend to have “happy feet” when things are going well, and perfectly still or nervously shifting or bouncing legs and feet when the are not. Some people have restless leg syndrome so a bouncing leg isn’t always a clue that something is awry, but if you know a person typically bounces his or her leg, and suddenly they are kicking their legs and feet out during an interview or not moving them at all, that could be a clue that something is not right. Look for sudden changes in the movement of the legs and feet and think about what was being discussed just prior to the change.  If the person is seated at a table and you can’t see their feet, look for vibrations in their shirt, jacket or shoulders that give the movement of their feet and legs away.

See me at the 2013 Global TapRooT® Summit for more tips about decoding non-verbal behavior, or attend my session on the Human Performance & Behavior Change Track (Understanding Human Behaviors: Body Language – Things to Look for in an Interview), Wednesday, March 20 at 2:40 p.m.

Register now for 2013 Global TapRooT® Summit week,  March 18 – 22, 2013 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

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