the definitive book of body language

🗂 Table of Content

📃 Book Details

Name – The Definitive Book of Body Language: The Hidden Meaning Behind People’s Gestures and Expressions
Author – Barbara Pease, Allan Pease
Pages – 400 pages
Language – English
Publication Date – 25 July 2006

🚀 Book wrap-up

Experts say 70% of all communication is nonverbal. We lost almost all of that information because nobody taught us this universal language. This book provides an opportunity to smuggle you into the world of non-verbal communication with just enough to get you started.

The Definitive Book of Body Language is a fundamental yet comprehensive study of the obscure human language most of us are not familiar with.

🎨 Should you read The Definitive Book of Body Language?

The dedication note says ‘This book is dedicated to all people who have good eyesight but who cannot see.’. If that is you, read this book.

If you are just curious about people and are fascinated by how we behave, this book will entertain you.

Planning on being an excellent communicator? Then whether or not you like it, read it.

📝 Book Summary of The Definitive Book of Body Language

Three Rules for Accurate Reading

Rule 1. Read Gestures in Clusters
Rule 2. Look for Congruence
Rule 3. Read Gestures in Context

Palm Power
The palms are intentionally used everywhere to imply an open, honest approach We use the palm facing up as a submissive, nonthreatening gesture When the palm is turned to face downward, you will project immediate authority. The pointing finger creates negative feelings in most listeners. Squeezing the thumb against the fingertips avoids intimidating the audience.

Dominance is transmitted by turning your hand so that your palm faces down in the handshake. The opposite of the dominant handshake is to offer your hand with your palm facing upward, symbolically giving the other person the upper hand.

How to create rapport?
Make sure that your and the other person’s palms are in the vertical position so that no one is dominant or submissive. Second, apply the same pressure you receive.

Hand and Thumb Gestures

Right-handed people reserve their favored point of view for their right hand and left-handers favor their left.

Rubbing the Palms Together
Showing positive expectancy. The speed of the hand rub signals whom the gesture thinks will get the benefit.

Thumb and Finger Rub
Rubbing the thumb against the index finger or fingertips is commonly used as a money-expectancy gesture

Hands Clenched Together
The Hands-Clenched gesture shows a restrained, anxious, or negative attitude

The Steeple
Confident people, superior types often use this gesture and, by doing so, signal their confident attitude. We should avoid the Steeple when we want to be persuasive or win the other person’s confidence, as we can sometimes read it as smugness or arrogance.

The Face Platter
A woman will place one hand on top of the other and present her face to a man as if it was on a platter for him to admire.

Holding Hands Behind the Back
The emotions attached to this gesture are superiority, confidence, and power. The Hand-Gripping-Wrist gesture communicates a different emotion to Palm-in-Palm behind the back. It’s a signal of frustration and an attempt at self-control. The higher up one hand grips the opposite arm, the more frustrated or angry the person is likely to be.

Thumb Displays
Thumbs are used to display dominance, assertiveness, or sometimes aggressive attitudes; thumb gestures are secondary gestures and are usually part of a cluster.

Seven of the Most Common Lying Gestures

  1. The Mouth Cover
  2. The Nose Touch
  3. The Eye Rub
  4. The Ear Grab
  5. The Neck Scratch
  6. The Collar Pull
  7. Fingers-in-the-Mouth

Eye Signals

The Dilating Pupils
When someone becomes excited, their pupils can dilate to up to four times their original size. Conversely, an angry, negative mood causes the pupils to contract.

Eye Widening
Lowering the eyebrows is how humans show dominance or aggression toward others, whereas raising the eyebrows shows submission.

Gaze Behavior
To build a good rapport with another person, your gaze should meet theirs about 60 to 70 percent of the time.

How to Avoid Being Attacked or Abused
Under attack, we make ourselves appear smaller by hunching our shoulders, pulling our arms in close to the body, pressing our knees together and locking our ankles under a chair, dropping our chin to the chest to protect the throat, and averting our gaze by looking away. If you walk upright with larger movements, swinging your arms and legs and having your front open, you will project that you could defend yourself if necessary and so are less likely to be attacked.

The Sideways Glance
When it is combined with slightly raised eyebrows or a smile, it communicates interest and is frequently used as a courtship signal, mostly by women.

Extended Blinking
People under pressure—for instance, when they are lying—are likely to dramatically increase their blinking rate. Extended Blinking is an unconscious attempt by the person’s brain to block you from their sight because they’ve become bored or disinterested or feel they’re superior to you.

The Four Main Standing Positions

At Attention
This is a formal position that shows a neutral attitude with no commitment to stay or go.

Legs Apart
Men use it as a dominance signal because it highlights the genitals, giving the Crotch Displayer a macho-looking attitude.

The Foot-Forward
This is a valuable clue to a person’s immediate intentions because we point our lead foot in the direction our mind would like to go, and this stance looks as if the person is beginning to walk.

Crossed legs show a closed, submissive, or defensive attitude, as they symbolically deny any access to the genitals.

The Basic Head Positions

The first is with Head Up and is the position taken by the person who has a neutral attitude about what is being said.

The Head Tilt
Tilting the head to the side is a submission signal because it exposes the throat and neck and makes the person look smaller and less threatening.

Head Down
When the chin is down, it signals that a negative, judgmental, or aggressive attitude exists.

The Attraction Process

Stage 1. Eye contact
Stage 2. Smiling
Stage 3. Preening
Stage 4. Talk
Stage 5. Touch:

Seven Simple Strategies for Giving You the Extra Edge

  1. Stand Up for Meetings
  2. Sit Competitors with Their Backs to the Door
  3. Keep Your Fingers Together
  4. Keep Your Elbows Out
  5. Use Power Words
  6. Carry a Slim Briefcase
  7. Watch Their Coat Buttons

The Seven Secrets of Attractive Body Language

Face: Have an animated face and make smiling a part of your regular repertoire. Make sure you flash your teeth.

Gestures: Be expressive but don’t overdo it. Keep your fingers closed when you gesture, your hands below chin level, and avoid arm or feet crossing.

Head Movement: Use Triple Nods when talking and Head Tilt when listening. Keep your chin up.

Eye Contact: Give the amount of eye contact that makes everyone feel comfortable. Unless looking at others is a cultural no-no, lookers gain more credibility than nonlookers.

Posture: Lean forward when listening, stand straight when speaking.

Territory: Stand as close as you feel comfortable. If the other person moves back, don’t step forward again.

Mirror: Subtly mirror the body language of others.

🔭 Review of The Definitive Book of Body Language

I am always spellbound by fictional characters who could read people by simply observing them. That was the beginning of my secret tryst with psychology and deciphering body language. I was in search of a book that could help me make my baby steps in a language that we all spoke but never listened to.

Let me get this out quickly. This book will not make you a Sherlock Holmes! Not even close. This book was not written to make you the Shakespeare of non-verbals. This is just to make you literate in a language that most people don’t know exists.

When you realize that, you will be pleased with this book. This book covers the most essential with the right amount of details to get you started. The writing is also very entertaining to keep you hooked. Perfect for the amateurs like us.

If I had to complain about this book, I think it would be the not-so-captivating beginning. Not a killer introduction nor an obvious purpose. Also, the sketches weren’t the most alluring ones you would want to stare at. Apart from all this, once I got the book started, it grew on me.

This book is a means to an end, not the end itself. Don’t read it for reading a book, read it because you are curious. Then, this will be a rewarding experience.

💯 My Rating


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