Being a Body Language Expert, Article on Patti Wood in the AJC

Feature article on Patti Wood today in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Expert reads signs in gestures
Nonverbal cues can speak volumes.
Electronic interaction has hidden messages, Decatur woman says.
BYLINE: Chandra R. Thomas
For the AJC
DATE: December 30, 2009
PUBLICATION: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The (GA)
EDITION: Main; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It seems there aren't many downsides to being a body language expert, but if Patti Wood had to choose one, what she'd say sounds a lot like a quote from the flick "The Sixth Sense." Instead of dead people, though, she laments, "I see everything!"

Decatur-based Wood doesn't have visions of corpses dancing in her head but, known in media circles as one of the world's top nonverbal communication experts, she does live in a space where every smile, gesture, handshake and even the way one stands speaks volumes about who people are and how they're feeling. It can be challenging sometimes tuning out the subconscious messages that most of us overlook every day.

"I believe everybody has the ability to read body language and nonverbal communication, but it takes time to learn how to pick it up," she says. "My friends always joke with me about 'revving up my superpowers."

The rest of the article can be found in today's Atlanta Journal Constitution. the link to is here.
If you have any difficulty getting the article please feel free to email Patti If you like the article or want more info you can send and email to the AJC if you are in the web version of the article scroll down and put a note in the box.

Patti Wood
The Body Language Expert
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First Impressions, He seemed like such a nice person then....

How does someone appear nice to some people and then do something we bad? I was reading an article about the recent attack on the Jetliner in an article on
The suspects father warned the US Embassy about his son but he was still allowed to fly to the US. His school chum describes him as a nice guy in the article.
What we forget is that a friendly, polite people can do bad things. The thought that anyone can appear nice, but do bad is frightening. We want to believe we can gather accurate impressions of someones charachter. That we can protect ourselves from harm.

Nigerian newspaper, ThisDay, said Abdulmutallab began to show his increasingly radical views on Islam during his high school days at the British International School in Lome, Togo. His attendance at the elite college preparatory school, attended by children of diplomats and wealthy Africans, could not be confirmed by school officials on Sunday.

But Efemena Mokedi remembered Abdulmutallab from their days on the basketball team at the exclusive school as "a smart kid" and "a friendly person."

"He was a very religious person, a very honest person. He was friends with all the teachers," said Mokedi, who now lives in the United States, in an interview broadcast on the BBC. "Yes, I'm very surprised. ... This is really out of how he is as a person. This is unexpected ... He's a very good guy, a very good chap." Aides to President Barack Obama are pondering how terror watch-lists are used after the botched attack, according to officials who described the discussions Saturday on the condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt possible official announcements.

These adjustments came after the Justice Department charged that Abdulmutallab willfully attempted to destroy or wreck an aircraft; and that he placed a destructive device in the plane.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional
The Body Language Expert
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Things that Go Bump in the night, Hearing

My family calls me bat ears because I am so sensitive to noise that I need an especially quiet room to sleep. I have been teased to my sensitively every family trip and holiday and request what the family calls the best "bat cave" aka coolest, darkest farthest from teenagers, TV and breakfast noise sleeping quarters. New Research suggests that the wimpy people are more sensitive to approaching noise. Aha, I am five one and weigh... Well, let's say I am a size 2, so I fit the wimpy category so it makes sense via the biological imparative that I feel the need for a quiet place to sleep. If I sent my family the link to this post I am sure they would happily give me bar bells for Christmas> Read the research at Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional
The Body Language Expert
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Fear and Social Anxiety, genetic link?

Is fear genitic or a result of experience. Research in May of 2008 shows that their is a genitic link to fear and aniexty.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional
The Body Language Expert
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Do men marry their mothers?

I think I need to find a man whoes mother had a masters degree. New research suggests that men with educated mothers say they think smart women make better wives. Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional
The Body Language Expert
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Is Anger Bad for Your Health?

My dad had a temper. Not that unusual for men of his generation. After all my dad was a fighter pilot and fought in two wars. While I am sure is quick thinking and combativeness helped him in battle, my sisters and I always suspected that his anger didn't help his health. Recent research says that hostility in men does predict poor heart health in men but does not clearly predict poor heart health in women.

If you wonder why it does not effect women in the same way read this research. It turns out that outwardly expressed anger is the problem. Who knew that women, raised to be nice, smile and stuff anger would have a heart health benefit.
Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional
The Body Language Expert
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Do men really have it bad?

"Women have it so good, men work hard and women outlive them.
One of the topics my Thursday night Meeting of the minds discussion group continues to return to is the discussion by some men in the group that women have all the advantages in life and men have all the disadvantages. I recently read a study showing at least one piece of research to prove that men have it bad story is more myth than fact. You may have heard that men die before women, but findings in the the Journal of Women's Health, reflect a change from previous decades medical records that when older men were at greater risk for heart disease. Instead this research shows over the last 10 years, older women are doing worse, while men are doing better.

Women's risk for heart disease is still lower than men's through middle age. But the break-even point at which women catch up to men is now at age 60, 10 years earlier than before.

Why pink is for girls and blue is for boys.

Why pink is for girls and blue is for boys.
Do you ever wonder why you know that the baby in the blue blanket is a boy and the baby in the pink blanket is a girl? Most trivia sites will tell you that in ancient Rome they feared that evil spirits might steal the souls of babies while they slept. Since they believed that the color blue protected someone against soul theft and they valued boys they swaddled boy babies in blue cloth at night so that evil spirits could not get them. They did not think that the evil spirits would value girl babies any more than they did so they did not feel the need to swaddle them at all. Pink did not become known as the de rigor color for girls until the 1900 is when children curious about where babies came from where told by Victorian parents they came from cabbage patches. The children guessed that boys came from blue cabbages but wondered what color cabbages girls came in and pink is for girls came into the cultural lexicon. Sceintific research shows that men actually prefer the color blue and women prefer the redder shade of blue, pink or lavender. Resaerch done by
The researchers include Anya C. Hurlbert and Yazhu Ling of Newcastle Univesity in Newcastle upon Tyne,UK. Hurlbert and Ling: "Biological components of sex differences in colour preference." Publishing in Current Biology, 21 August 2007, R623-625.

Researchers have not studied babies color preferences so they are not sure about whether nature or nurture has a hand in color preference but theorize that women’s pink preference is nature’s way of helping women chose ripe red fruit and men’s preference for blue comes from their need to determine good weather or a good water source.
Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional
The Body Language Expert
I have a new quiz on my YouTubestation. Check it out!
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Santa's Body Language, What is St. Nick saying with his nonverbal cues in the poem, "The Night Before Christmas."

Santa's Body Language, What is St. Nick saying with his nonverbal cues in the poem, "The Night before Christmas."

What is Santa saying with his body language?
A nonverbal analysis of Santa’s nonverbal cues in the poem, The Night before Christmas.

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 poem "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 like leftover Christmas cookie dough.

Let’s have some fun and look at nonverbal cues St Nick shows in this famous Christmas poem. The poem opens on Christmas Eve on a house top roof 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 youthful, vital and full of energy as well. He is, "...lively and quick." Therefore, we 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, shouting, and calling his reindeer by name. If he were described as shouting, we probably would see Santa as a rather grouchy, aggressive guy. After all, you really shouldn’t yell at animals. However, because he is knows and says every reindeer’s names we have a perception of him as a warm and caring guy who loves his reindeer and shouting becomes something he does because he excited and needs to make sure each name is heard over the din of the sleigh bells. Whistling is also a revealing nonverbal activity. The combination of the shouting and whistling tell us Santa is filled with joy and gusto as he calls his beloved reindeer to action. The powerful paralanguage acts of shouting, whistling also assures the little boys, and girls hearing the poem that Santa will get will get to our houses in time for us to get our presents Christmas morning.
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 man bouncing from house to house as if the fireplace was a trampoline. This nonverbal cue also lets us know that he is fun guy having a good time at work. He is as a daredevil. He rides through the air in a sleigh and then jumps down a chimney without a parachute. Yes, Santa lives on the edge. Each and every time he jumps he risks landing in a fire! In fact, these nonverbal cues 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. Visualizing Santa in shear spandex and tights would not illicit a fatherly figure... Santa is not described as wearing red and white is this poem, even though I gave him those super hero colors two paragraphs ago. Red and White were the colors set into our Santa conscious through artists’ depictions in the 1920’s, most notably by an artist at Harper's. 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 Coke 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. In addition, white is associated with protection, purity, truth and sincerity. However, 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, you read that the bundle of toys is, “flung” on his back. He doesn’t carry the bundle like a burden, but instead it is 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 an expert on smiling, I love the next description. “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 especially like this description. As a child as I heard each facial feature I would touch my own eyes, cheeks, nose and mouth along with all the other listeners and we would laugh. Who knows, this may have been the beginning of my love for body language!
If you read my nonverbal articles on eyes and smiling on my website or read the chapter on eyes and or smiling in my body language book you know that twinkling implies that the eyes are pulled up at the side and there are little smile wrinkles around the eye. These facial cues indicate real happiness. The mouth drawn up like a bow puts St. Nick’s mouth in smiling kiss position. We also have the wonderful description of his broad face. In face reading, also known also known as “Personaligy” a broad face (the height and width of the face are similar measurements) indicates someone with a confident nature, someone who has a big full picture of life, loves adventure, and has strong influencing abilities. The perfect guy to manage toy production and keep the elves motivated at the North Pole. He is also the person to see the good girls and boys deliver their toys all over the world without GPS. The smile combined with an open face that shows friendliness.
Let us 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 cannot 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 is why I recommend it in my chapter on flirting in my new first impressions book. The head tilt is softening cue showing “I’m harmless.” Together these body language cues let the narrator of the story who just saw a 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 does not 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. Santa is "Driver" type on the DISC personality inventory, manly man who gets the job done quickly.
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 the movie about the first Super Nanny Mary Poppins, I watched her go up in the air by laughing as everyone sang, “I love to laugh.” I thought Santa must have taught her the laugh to levitate trick.
And isn’t interesting that he touches his nose before he rises, just like the 60’s housewife witch Samantha wiggled her nose On the TV show Bewitched. The nose has its own nonverbal symbolism so,”... putting his finger aside of his nose.” indicates that Santa is doing something special and secretive.
Then St. Nick springs to his sleigh, 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 is an image I have taken to bed with me on many a Christmas Eve. It is a wonderful comforting image for all good little boys and girls around the world.
Take time to re-read this wonderful poem during this holiday season.

by Clement Clarke Moore
or Henry Livingston

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

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,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Patti Wood, MA,
The Body Language Expert
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Attention span, Grabbing your audiance, First Impression

If adult attention spans are limited...and they are...(a study by the Navy determined the average adult attention span is 18 minutes One research study actually
suggested that the attention span of most adolescents is about 11
minutes -- roughly the time between commercials in a typical
television show.?
Studies on attention span also shed light on why students have
difficulty with the traditional lecture format. Adult learners can
keep tuned in to a lecture for no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a
time, and this at the beginning of the class. In 1976, A. H. Johnstone
and F. Percival observed students in over 90 lectures, with twelve
different lecturers, recording breaks in student attention. They
identified a general pattern: After three to five minutes of "settling
down" at the start of class, one study found that "the next lapse of
attention usually occurred some 10 to 18 minutes later, and as the
lecture proceeded the attention span became shorter and often fell to
three or four minutes towards the end of a standard lecture." Other
studies appear to confirm these findings.?
Mittendorf and Kalish note that studies on attention span indicate
that, when passively absorbing information, adult learners usually
experience mental lapses after a mere 15-20 minutes.?
), then it's critical that business presenters craft a memorable message to enhance retention. One way to be memorable is to grab your audience's attention when you begin your speech with a attention grabbing opener.

A powerful opening gives your audience a reason for listening. A bonus is that getting them engaged and interested right at the beginning will minimize any nervousness you may be feeling.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional
The Body Language Expert
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Bad gifts, What is message Gifts, Funny gifts for Christmas

Today a journalist from a large magazine was looking for stories of the worst gift you have ever gotten. As soon as I started thinking about it, I was laughing and transported back to Christmases past like a short blond Ebenezer Scrooge. Bad presents certainly send a nonverbal message. I have received many bad Christmas presents and certainly some, "What was she thinking" gifts. I am an expert in nonverbal communication and absolutely love to buy the perfect present for my friends each Christmas, but I am sure with my wacky sense of style and penchant for garage sales I have as well. In fact I am sure my family goes, "What crazy gift will Patti give us this year!"
Let me start by saying that thank goodness, I have a great fun filled family and good sense of humor. We spend several laughter filled hours opening our presents and making funny comments. We truly love each other and for me bad gifts just means fodder for me for a great story for my next speech. I would say the most embarrassing was given to me at my first Christmas celebrated with my future in-laws. I opened a big pink box containing a gift of a 50-dollar gift certificate to Victoria Secret, from my future in-laws!
Worse yet, my fiancé had fibbed and told them that is what I wanted! The next gift I opened that Christmas was a Victoria Secret flimsy lace nightie from him. We did not get married

Worst gifts, again so many. My 40th Christmas my mother only gift was a set of green feather dusters from Walgreen's because she said, "Your house is dusty." That same Christmas my sister gave me a wonderful set a fiesta dishes. Yes it would seem that that was an awesome presents.But, as I opened them my sister said, “We were saving them to give them to you when you got married, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen so we thought we better give them to you now.”
Close third for the list of worst gift ever after giving wonderful though at times eccentric presents to my cherished nieces and nephews for over 30 years my 25-year-old niece sent me a Trader Joe's grocery bag for Christmas last year. She had sent everyone else in the family homemade soaps and bath salts. I guess that meant she thought I was clean but hungry. I hope it did not mean she saw a future for me as a bag lady.

Ohhh I forgot the year my best friend gave me an ironing board and a full-length mirror. I fear that was hint to press my clothes and look in the mirror before I left the house.

I just got off the phone with my sister and we started laughing so hard as we talked about all the funny gifts our charming, but eccentric mother has given us over the years, The picked over “free gift” makeup my mother got from buying something for herself from Estee Lauder. The wine gift basket she gave my sister and brother in law for their anniversary that was dusty and still had the gift tag with her name on it that someone had given her for her birthday the year before. My sister’s biggest laugh came recalling the year she got married and mom sent her first Christmas gift to her new son in law, the two free giant troll dolls she got as a gift from the bank for opening an account. Robin said her new Husband held up to his ears and said, “Was it the close resemblance that inspired this gift?” She said the most painful gift was the skirt my mother gave my sister one Christmas that was a size 20 skirt. My sister who was in her thirties and had recently worked hard to lose baby weight was a size 12. When my sister held up the skirt my Mom said, “It was such a good buy, and you will grow into it!”

I thought of the Christmas my shy sister got a shocker present. This sister is very conservative, she likes to blend in the background so she only wears blue, white, and tan and mostly lives in T-shirts and blue jeans. She hates bright colors and prissy clothes. One year my mother gave her a huge box of Lilly Pulitzer clothes in hot pink, celandine green, purple and turquoise. The clothes were all print dresses, skirts and tops. My sister was mortified even to try them on and my mom insisted that she alter them for her over Christmas so my sister could wear them right away.
Ahh the love of Christmas.
Patti Wood, MA, CSP
The Body Language Expert
Web- http://www.PattiWood.netBlog- http://www.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional
The Body Language Expert
I have a new quiz on my YouTubestation. Check it out!
YouTube- YouTube - bodylanguageexpert's Channel

Patti will be on CNN at 12:30 "Obama's Body Language durring speech on Tuesday December 01/ on Affganistan

I will be on CNN at 12:30 this afternoon or slighly later speaking about Obama's direct comments to the American public and to Afganistan's people,

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional
The Body Language Expert
I have a new quiz on my YouTubestation. Check it out!
YouTube- YouTube - bodylanguageexpert's Channel