It was so kind of you to contact me. Dr. Paul Ekman is my idol. I read his research in my first nonverbal class when I was 19 years old, I quoted his research on my Master’s and Doctoral exams and I have been sharing the results of his research with my audiences since I taught my first body language class at Florida State in the 80’s.
There are many ways to become an expert in any field and I will give you different paths to take. I will start with the most arduous and then give you easier routes.
Another path or mode of learning is to become a keen observer. Watch talk shows, look closely at the behavior. I have a chart in my Success Signals book that you can use to note when certain nonverbal behaviors occur and how many times they occur. One of the key times to watch is the pause before someone speaks. There are the micro expressions that Paul Ekman discovered that occur in that fraction of a second. They are the truthful expressions. Start looking for what people say, before the words come out. Then, observe what they do with their face movement and gestures and body, just as they finish speaking. There is the least amount of control at those moments so there is so much truth in those moments.
Don't over analyze your daily interactions; it will take you out of the real moment with people. It can make you crazy, or just make other people think you are crazy. Instead, observe as an outsider. Go the mall or the airport or the bookstore or coffeehouse or the grocery store and see if you can predict people’s next actions or get gut impressions of how people respond to waitress or cashier. For that matter, do something I do. Look for the nice people. For example, look at all the cashiers at Target, observe their nonverbal cues and decide which cashier will make your interaction the best. Personally, I look for the person who appears friendly, and present rather than an autotron. For you, that may mean choosing someone who is fast. Form an impression then predict their future behavior. Test your skills.
If someone wants a different kind of education please let them know I am taking on students for one on one coaching. I also take on student interns to work with me in my business.
Please let Dr. Ekman know I enjoy the television show and marvel at the accuracy of the nonverbal information. It is wonderful to have this show on the air for those of us who teach and have a passion for the field of nonverbal communication. If there is anything else you would like to know please feel free to call me.