Tips on Reading Body Language

Here is an interesting video that features Robert Phipps, one of the UK’s leading experts in reading body language.

While the examples are exaggerated and meant to be a bit comical, there are some useful tips and information given in this video.

The most important part is to understand that not one behavior (scratching of the neck, fidgeting, lack of eye contact, etc) is a tell-tale sign of lying. For each individual, you must establish a baseline and look for things that deviate from what the person normally does.

You can find out more about Phipps by visiting his website

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4 responses to “Tips on Reading Body Language”

  1. Keith D. says:

    I’ve heard a lot of conflicting reports about the one he mentions about the eyes looking up to the left recalling visual information and looking up to the right fabricating information. So, what’s the real story on that? Is there or is there not anything behind that school of thought? Or is there *something* behind it, but not something that’s conclusive? In other words, how reliable really IS that sign?

  2. Eye contact (or lack of) is not necessarily a sign of lying: http://www.humintell.com/2009/09/the-eye-contact-myth/. In fact, it seems to be the biggest misconception out there. However, it is important to note that eye gaze can be a sign of lying if it deviates from a baseline. That is really key here: understanding how a person normally behaves and seeing what changes occur from their normal behavior. Those changes are hot spots.

  3. Anna says:

    If you don’t know someone well, what does it take to establish a baseline?

  4. Hi Anna, this depends greatly on the situation that you are in. Sometimes it takes 1-2 minutes to establish a baseline and other times, it takes much longer. The important details to focus on are how expressive that person is (some people are very expressive with their hands or body while speaking, others are expressive with their faces). Its important to notice the changes from normal behavior, whatever “normal” is for that person. However, its impossible to give accurate advice without knowing the context.

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