Body Language- How to read others thoughts

How to read others’ thoughts by their gestures  by Allan Pease

When I first heard about ‘body language’ at a seminar in 1971, I became so excited about it that I wanted to learn more. The speaker told us about some of the research done by Professor Ray Birdwhistell at the University of Louisville, which had shown that more human communication took place by the use of gestures, postures, position and distances than by any other method. At that time I had been a commission salesman for several years and had undergone many long, intensive courses on selling techniques, but none of these courses had ever mentioned anything about the non-verbal aspects or implications of face-to-face encounters.

My own investigations showed that little useful information was available on body language and, although libraries and universities had records of the studies done on it, most     of  this   information     consisted    of  closely    set  manuscripts     and    theoretical assumptions compiled in an objective manner by people who had little or no practical experience in dealing with other human beings. This does not mean that their work was not important; simply that most of it was too technical to have any practical application or use by a layman like myself.

In   writing   this   book,   I   have   summarised   many   of   the   studies   by   the   leading behavioural scientists and have combined them with similar research done by people in other   professions   –   sociology,   anthropology,   zoology,   education,   psychiatry,   family counseling, professional negotiating and selling.

The book also includes many ‘how to’ features developed from the countless reels  of videotape and film made by myself and others throughout Australasia and overseas, plus some of the experiences and encounters that I have had with the thousands   of  people that I have interviewed, recruited, trained, managed and sold to over the past fifteen years.

This book is by no means the last word on body language, nor does it contain any of  the magic formulae promised by some of the books in the bookstores. Its purpose is to make the reader more aware of his own nonverbal cues and signals and to demonstrate how people communicate with each other using this medium.

This book isolates and examines each component of body language and gesture,  though few gestures are made in isolation from others; I have at the same time tried to  avoid   oversimplifying.   Non-verbal   communication   is,   however,   a   complex   process involving people, words, tone of voice and body movements.

There will always be those who throw up their hands in horror and claim that the  study of body language is just another means by which scientific knowledge can be  used to exploit or dominate others by reading their secrets or thoughts. This book seeks  to give the reader greater insight into communication with his fellow humans, so that he  may     have    a  deeper    understanding      of  other   people    and,  therefore,    of   himself.

Understanding   how   something   works   makes   living   with   it   easier,   whereas   lack   of  understanding and ignorance promote fear and superstition and make us more critical  of others. A birdwatcher does not study birds so that he can shoot them down and keep  them     as  trophies.   In  the  same    way,   the   acquisition   of  knowledge      and   skills  in  non-verbal   communication   serves   to   make  every   encounter   with   another   person   an exciting experience.

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