The power of the pause

Have you evey noticed the power of the the pause. You are listening to someone and instead of finishing the sentance they pause. The is so much power in that pause. You are expextent. You feel tension and you want it to be released, but it can't be released untill the speaker finishes the sentance.

You can use the power of the pause in public speaking. If you want the audiance to really listen to a particular word, an important statistic, a action step you want them to take, pause before the inportant word or words.

Pausing also works really well in humor. We actually laugh to release tension. Thats why we laugh at dirty jokes, even when we do not think they are funny. So how do you use pausing to be funny? Your telling a funny story and the listener or listeners are waiting to hear the punch line and you pause before you say it. This increases the tension and the laughter that follows is louder.

Body language at parties

I was interviewed on the BBC last week and asked about body language at parties.
Here are some tips.

1. Stand near the food, thats where people hang out. I suggest that to meet guys stand near the buffaloe wings and meatballs and to meet women stand near the chocolate desserts.

2. Stand were there will be a flow of people so you can keep meeting new people and extracate yourself from someone you wish to stop talking with. If you stand near the entrance so you can greet people as they come in works well.

3. You know the arm cross thing? Use to make you feel secure if you are nervous entering a party, but stop hugging yourself once you plant yourself somewere. Instead hold a drink or plate as a security blanket.

4. Listening makes you much more interesting than talking. Have several provactive questions ready to ask people. Such as, "What's the best thing that has happened to you in the last year?" and who is the most interesting person you have every met? What's the most surprising thing your have heard or read about recently?

5. Make sure your heart is aimed towards the person you are talking to and not toward the exit.

6. Don't sit down unless you are talking with someone and the conversation is VERY interesting. Sitting lowers your energy level, makes you less likely to be approached and can take away the vocal variation in your voice. Lean on a wall or rest your arms on the bar if you have to, but stand up.

This photo shows a nonverbal behavior I call photo neck. When you are a little to far from the people you are being photgraphed with you will extend your next and pull your head toward the person you want to be seen as connected to. In this photo my sister is in the center and I am on your left. Notice how I am streching my neck so much I look like a long neck turtle. My sister's best freind is on your right. Her photo neck is much more relaxed. Check out your photo albulms and see how many people are exibiting this behavior. Remeber the more effort the in the person to extend the more they want to connected.

Atlanta skyline at night

I wanted to show off my city to my blog visitors. Isn't it beautiful.

How does airport security choose who to search?

People have been asking me about how security personal at the airport picks the people to screen more thoroughly. While there is standard screening rules, such as screening everyone who changes their flight times. I have been flying just about every week for the last 20 years and I have not observed nonverbal assessment screening rules being used.

I have noticed that screeners tend to pick what I call high complaints. That is people who appear nonverbally they will not give the screener a hard time. In fact when I mentioned to a friend who was a fireman at the Atlanta airport that I get asked to do the extra search all the time he was said he talked with screeners every day and they all say they choose high compliants. It makes sense. Why choose the big grumpily or scary guy to check when you can choose a short smiling blonde women. I mention this screening practice in my speeches and my audiences are filled with women who say they fit the compliant profile and are always given the extra screening. It may be a coincidence, but a scary one.

Would body language training help airport security?

Would studying body language of passengers improve airport security?

Passengers flying aboard El Al, Israel’s airline are interrogated by a trained professional before they are allowed to board the plane the interrogators ask key questions then study the body language of the passages as well as their tone of voice and mood. . This is the same technique I train law enforcement officers to use when interrogating a suspect. Remember when we were asked the old, “Did you pack your bag and have they been with you...” questions? Well if we train airport personal to not merely ask those questions, but watch for specific nonverbal cues or deceit and nervousness as they respond, such as overly long pauses, covering or touching the eyes nose and face or over the top confidence we could increase are security.

Israel’s airline also profile passengers, but this profiling does not merely entail race they watch the body language from the time the passengers leave their cars to the time they enter the plane, pretty intense. But, El Al is among the safest airlines in the world, despite the fact that it is one of the greatest targets for terrorism. El Al receives threats daily, yet it has not had a terrorist incident in more than 30 years, according to David Hermesh, El Al's president.
More on the airport security topic tomorrow. What are you curious about?

Santa's body language

What is Santa saying with his body language?

On Christmas eve, When I was a little girl my mother would get out a very special tall storybook covered with snowy glitter and read the night before Christmas.
Clement Clarke Moore composed "A Visit from St. Nicholas" on December 24, 1822 and though there were other nonverbal descriptions of St, Nick, the iconic image of Santa in this poem is stuck firmly into our consciousness with leftover Christmas cookie dough.

Let’s have fun and look at powerful nonverbal cues of St Nick given in the famous poem. The poem opens with Santa described as a "little old driver, so lively and quick. His advanced age, makes us think of him as comforting and fatherly but the nonverbal description of his behavior makes us also see him as vital and full of energy as well. This let’s us know he has enough energy to defy the boundaries of time and space and deliver toys to every boy and girl in one night!
Next Santa is heard whistling and shouting and calling his reindeer by name. Now if all he was doing was shouting we probably would see Santa as rather an aggressive guy. After all you really shouldn’t yell at animals. But, because he is also whistling and knows each of the reindeer’s names we have a friendlier perception of him. Whistling is something fun, and the shouting is softened and becomes another indication of his boundless energy. The powerful paralanguage acts assure us that he will get to our house in time for us to get our presents.
Then St Nick comes down the chimney, “with a bound.” I love that nonverbal behavior. The action bounding makes me see this red and white decked guy bouncing from house to house as if the fire place was a trampoline. This nonverbal detail lets us know that he is fun guy having a good time at work. He is coming down a chimney and landing in a fireplace. Obviously Santa lives on the edge. Think about it. He rides through the air in a sleigh and then jumps down a chimney without a parachute. And he is risking landing in fire. Santa is a daredevil. In fact these nonverbal actions are evidence that Santa is a truly bearded superhero.

Though he is not wearing the typical super hero outfit, instead, “He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot.” Ok, I will admit there are mythic superheroes in the fur and leather set; Shera, Thor, Grey skull and my all time fav, Tarzan. The fur gives him some primal superpowers that spandex and tights just don’t illicit. Santa is not described as wearing red and white is this poem, even though I gave him those super hero colors two paragraphs ago. Those colors were set into our Santa conscious through artists’ depictions in the 1920’s, most notably by an artist at Harpers. For trivia buffs this was long before Coca Cola created its string of ads picturing the red and white Clause. Though trivia websites often quote the soft drink company as the creators of his candy cane colored suit, Coca Cola give us a larger man sized Santa rather than the little elf fellow of this poem.
Red and white make a good dashing through the snow costume. Red is nonverbally a traditional power color. The color red is associated with strength, force, power, control and leadership, stimulation, warmth, excitement, good health, physical energy, and love. And white is associated with protection, purity, truth and sincerity. But the purity from the white was in his heart not on his sleeve because; the poem says “ his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.” Don’t you just love that detail? It makes us see him as a playful guy who is willing to get dirty.
In that same line the bundle of toys is, “flung” on his back. He doesn’t carry the bundle like a burden, but instead it’s flung with joy, the same way a kid would carry his baseball gear to a game or her camping stuff on an outdoor adventure.

As a child I the next description was my favorite part of the poem. “His eyes -- how they twinkled! His dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow.”
I think I liked this part was because when it was read we would touch our eyes cheeks and nose and mouth as we got to each part and laugh as we touched them. If you read my nonverbal articles on eyes and smiling you know that twinkling implies that the eyes are pulled up at the side and there are little smile wrinkles around the eye. Cues that indicate real happiness. The mouth drawn up also indicates a true smile. As does the detail that he had a broad face. That I see in people and call an open face that shows friendliness.
Let’s skip the stump of pipe and smoke, realizing that Something Santa did before the surgeon general put out the tobacco memo. Instead let’s skip down to the next part of the poem the description of St. Nick’s tummy, “A little round belly that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.” This combined with his description as,”chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,” Actually conjures up images of cute a cuddly laughing baby. We can not help but smile. Santa is full of satisfaction and happy. He is not starving on the Adkins diet, craving bread.
Santa then gives traditional nonverbal cues to show he is harmless and not going to attack with, “A wink of his eye and a twist of his head.” Winking is a way of softening what could be threatening continuous eye-contact. That’s why it is recommended in books on flirting. The head tilt is also cue showing “I’m harmless.” Together they let the narrator feel this stranger who just bounded into his living room carrying a sack is charming interloper, not a dangerous intruder planning to abscond with the silver.
Santa doesn’t speak but gets right to work putting out the toys. Anyone who has read the latest research on the costs of multitasking knows this makes Santa not only a hard worker but a wise man as well. And such a John Grey, Mars not Venus kind of guy.
Then he shows his super powers again by, “laying his finger aside of his nose and giving a nod” and rising up the chimney. When I was in first grade and saw merry Poppins go up with in the air by laughing, I thought Santa must have taught her the trick.
And isn’t interesting that he touches his nose before he rises, just like bewitched wiggled her nose. The nose nonverbal symbolism indicates that his action is something special and secretive.
Then St. Nick springs to his sleigh and whistles and shouts his farewell leaving us with a final nonverbal description of his confidence and omnipotence.
I love this poem and I love the Iconic Image of Santa it invokes. It’s an image I have taken to bed with me on many a Christmas Eve and a comforting image for all good little boys and girls around the world.
Take time to re-read this wonderful poem during this Christmas season.

The body language in Oprah's favorite things show

My sister and I have a ritual every year. We love to watch Oprah's favorite things show.
In her annual Christmas show she gives wonderful and sometimes spectacular gifts to her audience. My sister and I get inspirations for gifts from watching the show, but I think the real reason we watch it is the way we feel when we watch. Within seconds of turning on the show and seeing and hearing all those guests face light up and ooohs and ahhhs and oh my Gods! We feel exuberant and tearful.

How does that happen? It’s a nonverbal phenomenon called emotional contagion. In nature isopraxisism causes us to pull toward energy of those around us. One of the energetic things we can “catch” is people’s emotions. So when you watch the reveal on Trading Spaces or Extreme Make Over and the people’s faces light up and they gasp, you catch their excitement and it sends you and adrenalin rush. I love it. What are your experiences with emotional contagion

My next entry will be about Santa's Body Language. And I may talk about my God child's body language after we go to our Christmas Tea Party today. Let me know what you think of the blog so far and what you would like to read about.
Subject: Steeple article in Patti’s November newsletter

This is Scott.

Patti, great article on steepling in your last newsletter. I have a question. I find myself in a steeple with my elbows on my desk, looking down and massaging my temples with my thumbs. I sometimes look straight up with hands still clasped, what does this mean.

Scott, remember steepling is a way of gaining control. Anchoring the elbows on the table also gives you a sense of control. Combining those cues with rubbing your head shows your trying to control your troubling thoughts and looking up to appeal to heaven to help you do that!

Why people don't respect the science of body language

From: Denise
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2005 6:10 AM
Subject: [Body Language Lady] 12/15/2005 06:03:27 AM

Hi Patti, I am another body language expert, I have enjoyed your comments. I, like you, enjoy watching the body language between people and working out end results. Don’t know why people don’t read more into body language what's your thoughts.

Denise, This is a difficult question to answer but I will try. I think people don’t (read more) into body language because it’s not a science that is taught in schools, nor is it given credibility in other ways. It is a relatively young science, only having originated in the 50’s so it may just be a natural arch or recognition that will eventually lead to its credibility.

Another problem with attainting recognition of the science is that a lot of people don’t realize what their doing when they read body language or that they are even doing it. Nonverbal Communication is processed in the more primitive part of the brain, not attached to language and the recognition of cues happens rapidly so we don’t have that long drawn out logical process to retain what we did and how we did it. That’s why I love to break down photos and videos and read them for the media. It’s like playing where Waldo and showing people is where Waldo is and how you found him so the reader recognizes the mostly subconscious process they went through to read the photo or video and say, “I think he is lying.” “Or I think this couple is in love.”

A third reason people don’t read more into it is that some people do not have a natural ability to read it. It’s an emotional intelligence and about half the population is more skilled at more task or technical related intelligences so they don’t give credence to it. They’re not good at it, it must not be important.

I remember when I taught body language at Florida State. I had the largest class in the College of Communication with around 150 students a semester, but the professors in the department laughed when they talked to me about the class. They thought it was a joke. I knew I was so blessed to teach that class, because the students told me how valuable it was to them, how they used what they learned, and how it had so much more relevance to their lives than other courses they were taking. Even years later, when I run into an old student from those four years at Florida State, they tell me it was the most valuable class they took. But guess what? They aren’t teaching it at Florida State any more!

Why some people would rather e-mail than talk face to face

Have you noticed that some people at work would perfer to e-mail or blackberry you a message rather than get up, walk around the cubicle, and talk with you face to face?
There are many reasons that it would be a preferred way to communicate, one of the reason’s is that the e-mailer is more comfortable with writing and reading words than using nonverbal communication.

After my last post people asked me if lack facial expression is a sign of Asperger’s syndrome.
Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder. People with the syndrome have normal or above average intelligence but have severe problems socializing. They have something called mind-blindness that makes it difficult or impossible to read nonverbal communication and therefore understand all the subtle nuances in communication. For example, there are 100’s of different things someone may mean when they say, “Hello.”, “I love you.”, or “I think that’s just great” depending on the voice, body language and context around it. If you have Asperger’s you wouldn’t know the difference between a sincere, statement and sarcasm, disgust or anger unless the speaker told you what they were feeling with their words. People with Asperger’s have trouble showing their emotions as well, so they seem stone faced. See my post from yesterday about facial feedback and for a more complete description of Asperger syndrome go to the following blog.

While I have seen an incredible increase in the number of clients under 25 with poor social skills I would not label poor socializes with a severe disorder. I think the majority of my younger clients did not get the modeling and socializing necessarily to feel comfortable with interpersonal interaction. I discuss what many cause this problem or poor socializing in my book, "Success Signals” in detail but let me state one of pervasive causes here. When I poll ask my audience to raise their hands if they have had dinner with their family at least three times a week when they were growing up, many of the participants under 25 do not raise their hands. They say they ate in front of the TV or computer by themselves. You need the adult modeling or social behavior and little prompts such as, “What did you do a school today?” and coaching such as, “It’s your turn.” And “Look at me sweetie while I am talking.” In fact, research says you need this modeling and coaching at dinner three times a week for 17 years or so to learn complexities of social interaction. If you don’t get it, it would seem like everyone else knows French but you: as if you were from a foreign country. It would be very scary to go to someone’s cubical and talk them. You would send an email instead. Hummm? Scary, and considering how I am communicating now, a rather ironic thought isn’t it?

How to show your listening with your body language

Tuesday the 13th of December
I teach a three day public seminar on interpersonal skills for technical proffesionals and one of the skills we talk about is empathetic listening. One of the ways that you show you are listening is through your facial expressions. Now I know you techies might think its corny and a little to touch feely to display your emotions but touchy feely people like me really need your smiles and frowns to feel heard. Below is the first step in my GENTLER listening reccomendations.

G-ive facial feedback
It is so easy to zone out as a listener. When, but when you do, you give a blank, open- mouthed expressio. You know that look that resembles the face of a kid after five hours of cartoons. A blank face does not help you win friends and influence people and drool is not very appealing. You have to work your abs to have toned stomach muscles, and you have to work your face to have toned empathetic skills. And contrarey two what your moma said, your face will not free that way. Showing you empathy helps the speaker share more effectively and helps you listen more effectively. So make some funny faces and listen up.

Let your facial expressions show your emotional response to their message. If they are concerned, show understanding by furrowing your brow. If they are unhappy, frown and lower your eyes. If they are mad, close and flatten out your lip like a sealed envelope... Briefly matching their facial expressions not only shows your customers that you are listening, it creates the same chemicals in your brain that body language shifts are creating in theirs and you will actually feel what they are feeling and understand them more effectively.

The power of hot pink and Pride and Prejudice


So you know from my profile that I'm an expert in nonverbal communication and now you may be wondering "What's Up" with the hot pink border? My friend Michael set up the blog and picked the bright color out for me. Do you think he chose it because I have 4 hot pink business suits and 12 hot pink shirts that I wear when I give speeches? Or do you think it is the hot pink winter coat I bought last year with a hot pink fake fur collar? Perhaps it's the hot pink suede high heels or the hot pink fedora I wear on grey winter days. I like the color so much this year some friends got me hot pink Christmas ornaments at IKEA for the chartreuse tinsel tree they got me last year! Ok, so now the world knows I am crazy for hot pink. Nonverbally it is a color that energizes you. It gets you excited and the deep shade of magenta on women is an attraction magnet for men.

My friends Elaine and Judith and I went to see the new Pride and Prejudice movie last romantic. The eye contact between the leads should be required “reading” for all students of body language. The eyes are the very first thing we notice about a person of the oppposite sex. Ok, I know what you're thinking..."It couldn't possibly be the eyes". That's what I use to think too, even though the research was in the body language textbook I taught from at Florida State University. So for 4 years, every single semester I did a paper and pencil poll of my college students. Every semester all 100 to 150 students, both male and female, said the first thing they noticed was the eyes. It makes sense as the eyes tell you what action a person will be taking next. Looking at the eyes keeps us safe and makes us feel connected.

Take Care till next time,

My First Post

Hello everybody! Well, I'm entering the world of blogging with a hot pink template and a lot to share. I hope over time you'll join me by making interesting comments and guiding me through this technical world. I'm looking forward to it. I hope you are too!

Until next time...