No, really I do, and not just cause I always feel like that, but because now I fancy myself as a bit of an expert in body language. That is right, I am soon to be judging near you, probably you and convincing myself that you hate me. The reason why? I have been reading “What Every Body is Saying: An ex-FBI’s agent’s guide to speed-reading people”
There are a number of reasons for this, firstly, it would be a good skill to have, especially when going into an unfamiliar situation, as it would help me gauge what was happening. Secondly, if I can manipulate my own body language to exude confidence, maybe I will be more successful both on a personal and professional level. Thirdly, I can tell what everybody is thinking about me all the. Fourthly – is that even a word? – an obsession with the X-Files made me really want to be an FBI agent. Although, in retrospect, there were a number of reasons that was never going to happen:
1. I am not American
2. I am just so clearly unsuitable
3. I would be utterly fucking terrible at it
4. There is no such thing as the X-files
Those are the main reasons, but I suspect there are any number of things that could be added to that list – no, that is not an invitation for you, yes you, to add to it.
Anyhoodle, the book is a really fascinating read, but definitely not a page turner. I have been reading it off and on since December and really can’t make myself read it for any length of time. The case studies in it are genuinely interesting and I am sure if I remembered any of it once I finished reading it it would be very useful. As it stands though, I can only remember bits and pieces and it seems to be the kind of book that would to be re-read a number of times to get the full benefit of it. Also, what is explained so clearly in the book turns out to be more difficult to apply in real life, once again, probably a reason why I am not an FBI agent.
The other thing it reminded me of was part of the training I went through for my job. The trainer seemed to be a sort of amateur of body language reader (is that the technical term?) along these lines so she left you feeling kind of jumpy and paranoid. As in, she would look at you and just be able to tell what you were like by how you were sitting, or how you were feeling and it just felt like she was constantly watching, It really wasn’t cool. In fact, just today she used one of her psychological mind tricks on me, via e-mail of all things. Crap, I must be really susceptible. Please don’t try to sell me things.
Where was I? Oh yes, so it leaves you with a lingering sense of paranoia, in that, you are now concerned everyone is judging you by your body language (including me, but apparently I am doing it wrong). The skills it can teach you are definitely worthwhile, and shall be trying to integrate some of these into my everyday life, but it also points out that when you try to hide your natural reactions and inclinations there are still signs there of what you are doing. I read a really good and interesting website about reading body language is called Eyes for Lies, and it states that something like 5% of people have a natural ability to read peoples body language, but this blogger does state it can be taught and she teaches classes on it for people in careers that could find it beneficial, like police.
She also posts videos and then deconstructs part of it to show you how you can read what the person is really saying, and she has a ridiculous hit rate, over 90% at least. I am pretty sure it is higher, and I could go and check, but I am clearly not going to. Here is a link anyway in case people would like to check it out. http://blog.eyesforlies.com/
Back to the book, another interesting aspect of it is how much you pick up on your own body language afterwards, little details you never noticed, like how you sit, how you react to other people. In some ways it is quite useful if you aren’t quite sure about how you feel about a situation or person, you can read your own body to help you evaluate and you can try to learn how to give a certain impression depending on what suits any occasion.
All in all, very interesting. I would recommend as a book to have, just to dip in and out of, but not something for full on intense reading. So, at the very least, have a look at the eyes for lies website and if it is the kind of thing that interests you, you should give this book a go.
Also, I wasn’t lying before. I now read the body language of every single one of you, so you better learn how to pretend to like me or at least fake not hating me better. Thanks!