Melania Trump's Body Language In Her Birthday Pic Says She's All Alone, According To An Expert

Regardless of what you think about the first lady, you have to admit posting a photo for her birthday of all occasions where she is pictured scowling and alone in a room full of strangers is pretty harsh — that is, if she had anything to with it, which appears to be the case.
Patti Wood, body language expert and author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, tells Refinery29 that the photo was likely a White House selection, a telling point about what Trump is trying to communicate.
"From what I’ve read, this was their selection … That’s the most interesting [thing], because she’s communicating to the world that she’s all by herself on her birthday,” Wood says. “That’s the most dramatic aspect of this whole story. If you’ll look at her facial expression, with the tight lips, and the fact that she’s not looking directly at the camera, that is suppressed anger.”
She continues: read on
Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at

Trump & Donald Jr.'s Body Language Reveals Affection & A Potential Power Play, Experts Say

In November, Don Jr. shared a selfie he'd snapped with his father while riding in Marine One earlier in the year. In it, the president can be seen with a large smile, something body language expert and author of SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma Patti Wood was quick to notice. "I'd say the most dramatic thing that's kind of interesting to me here is how big his smile is," she tells Bustle of Trump. "I don't always see him smile that large and authentically."
But Wood says it's impossible to know what's motivated Trump's smile, in fact it might have nothing to do with his son's presence. "If you look at his hands... that's called log cabin, that interlacing and placement," Wood says of the way Trump placed his hands. "It's typically a protective gesture and it keeps a person out or away." She also notes that Trump does not appear to display any of the normal intimate gestures a parent might display toward a child when taking a selfie, such as a reaching out to touch or opening their body window. "There's a protection there to not get too close, not get too intimate, which is interesting to me," she says.
According to Wood, continue reading
Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at

A Body Language Expert Says Lori Loughlin Is Fully Freaked Out, Despite Her Smiles

Last week, for example, Loughlin was looking as chipper as ever while arriving at a federal courthouse in Boston where she heard the charges against her and surrendered her passport. She was photographed smiling, waving to fans, and telling onlookers, "I'm great!" The display drew ire from Twitter — users commented on her "out of touch" behavior. Her cheerful disposition, not to mention her preppy, polished wardrobe, also stood in sharp contrast to that of fellow indicted actress Felicity Huffman, whose demeanor could be better described as somber
But a smile doesn't always communicate happiness, says body language expert Patti Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language & Charisma. "There are well over 50 different kinds of smiles, and the plain assumption that the smile means you’re happy or that you're joyous or that everything is fine is sort of a mythology," she tells InStyle, adding that Loughlin's grin was more likely a "mask of protection" for her underlying stress, which was also communicated by her body language. 

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Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at

Nick Jonas & Priyanka Chopra's Red Carpet Body Language Never Changes & Here's Why

Body language expert Patti Wood, who is a pro at analyzing every tiny detail, told me that this couple’s red carpet photos provide more insight about their love than you might expect. If you look through them, you’ll notice that Chopra and Jonas often pose with closed-mouth smiles, and Jonas holds his hand at his side or near his stomach. They both wear serious expressions and are diligent about posing for the cameras. Wood takes note of the way they stand, saying, “I do like how they are standing in a ‘love V,’ angled halfway in towards each other and overlapping.” This signals closeness and affection.
She also says, continue reading
Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at

Body Language Experts Compare Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Royal Baby Photos With Kate and Will's

There's definitely a sense of discomfort with handing off the baby or holding the baby, but that's natural the first time around," Patti Wood, body language expert and author of SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma tells us. It's more than likely that the couple was just nervous — and straight-up exhausted — since Kate gave birth a few hours earlier. Because Meghan and Harry chose to keep things more private, they had two days to rest before making their big reveal.

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Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at

A Body Language Expert Analyzes Meghan and Harry's Royal Baby Photo-Call

Patti Wood, body language expert and author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, tells that despite Meghan holding herself together beautifully, you could tell there was a bit of physical discomfort going on.
The Duke & Duchess Of Sussex Pose With Their Newborn Son

“If you look at Meghan's feet, her toes are together and there's arcing around the feet. The reason that's striking is because that's always the most honest emotion. That’s not how she usually stands, but it makes perfect sense because she just had a baby a few days ago," Wood explains. "The rest of her is so happy and so composed you’d have difficulty knowing she just went through this big event. It's just the sweet little tell in the feet of this otherwise beautifully-composed and happy woman. It looks like a spring day and it’s her wedding—she's glowing—but she just had a baby and she’s not super comfortable."

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Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at

An Expert Analyzes Meghan & Harry's Body Language Amid Rumors Archie is Two Weeks Old

With so much emphasis placed on such a short few sentences, we decided to speak to Patti Wood, a body language expert and the author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, in the hopes she can break it all down for us.
“When he said ‘the last two weeks’ it came out very smoothly. Typically, when something is authentic, there’s a musicality to it, there’s a smoothness to it, there’s a naturalness to it,” Wood tells SheKnows after “reading” the video from the photocall. “Her comment [of ‘the last couple of days’] had me saying something’s not right, and his didn’t.”
She added: “The other thing continue reading

Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at

The Silent Signals of Lateness

The Silent Signals of Lateness
by Patti Wood MA
Do you find yourself running late? Is there someone in your life that you find yourself waiting for? I was sure I had time to do a few more things, make a few more calls, catch up on the news, and plenty of time to pack my suitcase and get to the airport. The flight wasn’t leaving for 4 hours. So, I had another bowl of cereal, read the headlines, before I suddenly realized I was running late. I threw my stuff in my bag, ran down the stairs, and jumped into the car. Charged with adrenaline I sped to the airport. Searching madly for a parking space, ran to the gate arriving breathless as they made the last call. I had made it again. I smiled with satisfaction and slowly walked on the plane. Yes, in the old days I always arrived on time, my I was a last minute “rusher.” The way you use time communicates. The way you use time, arriving rushed or late communicated. The term “chronemics” refers to the use of time management as a form of nonverbal communication and if you have ever had to wait for someone who was running late, you know that you had some strong feelings about what their tardiness was saying to you!
Are you ever late? Does lateness feed you? Do you constantly have people waiting on you? Do you know people who drive you crazy because they are always late? Have you ever admonished someone for always being late? Has someone called you on it?
Many years ago, after this rushed trip, I sat in my airplane seat sipping my ginger ale and asked myself why I was always rushing to planes. I am a stickler for time, arriving so early for dinner meetings and speeches that people comment on it, but I was with time in the rest of my life, I always seemed to rush to catch my flights. I knew that we do things because they reward us in some way, and I asked myself what I got from running late. Almost immediately I realized the reward: a rush, a race car driver’s high. I ran late to feed my excitement-loving soul. The funny thing is that I am a professional speaker. You would think I would get enough adrenaline standing up on stages in front of huge audiences. But apparently, I didn't. So instead of spending the flight, watching movies, I could do to satisfy that need for a “rush” without running late to the airport. I ended among other things, with taking an incredibly fun comedy improv class and now go see live music at least once a week! The rush replacements worked. These days even my airport limo driver Lewis thinks I leave too early to get to the airport. But I like being on time too much to regard his teasing. Lateness doesn't feed my soul anymore.
Here are other ways that lateness communicates. Look at the list for the likely match or combination of matches to your issue.
Lateness feeds the adrenaline junkie. If you love thrills and excitement, and there are not enough in your life, you may use running late as a way of getting your excitement fix. Instead of speeding like a maniac to be on time, give yourself other opportunities to feed your fire. Perhaps tango lessons, skydiving, hockey or regular live concert tickets or taking up Judo, or boxing. If your lateness is affecting your ability to do something well, ask yourself why you feel the need to give yourself an excuse, being late, to not do a good job? If you are breaking your promise to others to arrive at an agreed upon time some self-reflection is critical.
Face it, some people are clueless about time. They just don’t understand that an hour has sixty minutes. They say they will be there in 15 minutes and they arrive 45 minutes later, truly unaware that they are late. This personality might be called the absent-minded professor. They also can’t seem to understand how long an activity truly takes. For example, they think they can wait to leave the office for a meeting ten miles across town five minutes before the meeting. They don’ t factor in how long it will take them to get to their meeting, materials packed up, how long it will take them to get to the car, the traffic on the way and how long it may take to find a place to park. They also don’ t allow for the unexpected delays such as an accident on the road. Because they have an unrealistic sense of time, they tend to fall privy to the "one more thing" phenomenon. That is why they try to do one more thing before they leave. They check their e-mail one more time before they go down the hall for the meeting. They make one more call before they leave the house for the appointment. Because their sense of time is unrealistic, they think they can stretch it and bend it like silly putty.
I have a friend with a master’s degree in statistics. He calculates statistical formulas for credit ratings. He is a very bright man. He is always late. Talking to him about it didn’t change his behavior. Because he is almost always exactly an hour late, when I need to meet with him at 6:00 I tell him 5:00. He shows up at 6:00. We can still be friends. The good news is that if these people are clued in about their issue and they want to change, they can. The time-challenged just need to realistically examine their schedule and ask themselves how long their activities truly take. If they are an employee, or friend you can help them by talking it through, for example saying, “The drive may take 20 minutes, but finding a space in the parking garage is a bear so give an extra 15 minutes for that, so a 35 minute travel time would be reasonable.” Or, “The official start time of the meeting/event, is 8:00 but, the conversation and networking before that are critical so a 7:30 arrival is more accurate and that may mean you need to be a hour and half earlier than you might think.” or, “You know one of the tactics I use to make sure I get someplace on time is set my phone to alarm at the time I absolutely need to leave my desk to get there.”
Lateness is a form of control. If you are consistently late to dinner or appointments because you spent a few extra minutes getting ready or you didn’t give enough leeway for traffic, you may be saying to the person who is waiting: “I am more important than you. You must wait for me." By making others wait you have power over them even if it’s only the power to make them tap their fingers on the desk, make them order another drink or hold up dinner till you get there. It is passive aggressiveness in its finest form, the invisible attack.
If you are the wait time controller, people can get mad at you but hey, in your mind it just makes them look impatient or unreasonably demanding. After all, how are you supposed to control the external world? You can always have an excuse – you got a last-minute email, the phone rang, someone came into my office with a problem or you couldn't find your keys. You have power over everyone who waits for you. In fact, you may avoid being on time because it would communicate that you are kowtowing to others.
This form of time use is typically used by people who don't have power or want to manipulate you under the table. They are not officially your boss, but they are the boss of your waiting time. They might be uncomfortable doing anything directly to gain power, to ask for what they want, to demand attention. By using a silent command, they get the rush of control without the risk of counterattack. Children are the true masters. They can’t find their homework or their right shoe, they need a drink of water, they have trouble with their buttons, anything to postpone bedtime or school.
When lateness doesn't matter because you don’t matter, then perhaps your lateness communicates your low self-esteem or your lack of confidence. If you think, no one will notice anyway, you are discounting your value as a human being. And why would you worry about others if you don’t have any concern for yourself. It doesn't matter if you’re rude or inconsiderate, if you just plain don't matter. A lack of respect for yourself inhibits your ability to respect others.
My friend Ginger had a college chum and friend of many years Angie who was always late. After Ginger sat alone waiting in one too many restaurants, she shared with me that she was going to email Angie that she didn’t want to be friends anymore. I knew from Ginger's conversations that Angie was very unhappy about her weight, discouraged that no one asked her out, and because she couldn’t find a job in her field, she was working for her dad. I suspected she wasn’t feeling very good about herself. I suggested to Ginger she try to meet with her friend face-to-face to tell her how her lateness made her feel. They arranged to meet at a restaurant where there was entertainment. Ginger arrived at the bar to watch the band. No friend. She got up to call her. Returned, still no friend, but a very cute blond guy was in her seat. She struck up a conversation with the cute man. Moved in with him three days later. A year passed and she married him. Angie missed the wedding. She walked into the church an hour late.
Sometimes, something or many things in life are going wrong, and it is just too horrible to say out loud. So, you communicate with your tardiness. Your lateness says: Isn't it horrible that I'm late? Please ask me why, so I can tell you the horrible thing I am dealing with. I knew someone who had been attacked in her home. She was living far away from her family for the first time and had no close friends. There was no one to share her pain with.
She told us with her time use. She became habitually late. She kept everyone in our office waiting wondering whether she was all right. It was a powerful SOS repeated over and over from a life that was sinking fast. It was only when the boss sat her down and reprimanded her that the story of her traumatic ordeal came tumbling out. The boss listened to her and recommended among other things that she share her burden with a few of us. We supported her and soon she didn’t need her silent cry of lateness to communicate.
Related to the need for control is the BIG EGO. The difference is that silent controllers have no assigned power and big egos do. They feel they have the right to be late—that it comes as part of their royalty package. The big ego says with his time use, I am so important that you the little peon who is waiting must sit patiently for me to arrive. As if they should be greeted with a standing ovation and Hail Caesars. You know the type: the big boss who keeps everyone waiting for the meeting to start. They come sauntering in smiling, not caring about their rudeness. In fact, they may revel in it. Or they come in ranting and complaining about the big problem they had to solve or the disaster they averted before they could honor you with their presence. Only the Pope and Superhero and Super Heroines have saving superpowers worth waiting for.
I remember sitting at a conference table full of coworkers, waiting for the president of the company to arrive. This happened every meeting and ended with the same ritual. He would walk through the conference room door, go over and get his doughnuts asking the female nearest him to get him coffee all the while greeting a selective few people at the table and asked them the same odd greeting. "Hey, how are you feeling?" If he had asked me that question, I would have been tempted to reply. "Miffed and insulted by your lack of consideration." But he never listened to anyone’s answer and he never asked me.
7. HIDDEN ANGER or Other Hidden Secrets
Sometimes we leave people waiting because we hate them. Okay, “hate” may be too strong a word. Let’s say, because we are secretly unhappy with them. We may be jealous, envious, resentful or just plain do not like that person. When I say this is a secret, I mean these feelings may even be a secret even from yourself. While the feeling swirls in your subconscious, you may not even be aware that you are mad or have other negative feelings.
Perhaps you would like to think you never get mad at anyone because you are just too nice a person. Perhaps the person you leave waiting has too much power over you for it to be safe to be mad at them directly. In any case, like a child who sticks out their tongue at someone when their back is turned, when you leave a friend waiting at a restaurant by themselves, standing on a street corner, sitting in a conference room, you are acting just as childish. Again, this behavior is passive aggressive. You could be assertive and say out loud, “I have a problem with you.” But it is somehow easier to show up late.
I know someone whose husband is habitually late. She sits in the living room dressed for a cocktail party or dinner with friends wondering if he has been in a car accident. Trips to pick up one thing at Home Depot so they can finish with a project become three-hour marathons of waiting while the paint hardens on the brushes. She and her children have waited for him to eat so many dinners they are now used to eating at 8:00. Her family and friends have experienced her stress and humiliation as they waited with her so now, they suggest plans that don’t include him. This has led to arguments of course, but he always has an external excuse for his lateness. In her mind the message he is sending is that his work and tasks are more important than she is. Underneath there may be a bigger message. He may be saying, "I am angry and unhappy, and I don’t know how to express it." Or I have found someone else that is more important, and I don’t know how to say it with words.”
Know that if you have an adult in your life that is late on a reoccurring basis and their behavior doesn’t fit into the Low Self Esteem SOS or Hidden Message category and your requests to honor their promise to you to show up on time are broken again and again there is a problem. An agreement to be somewhere is a promise. Someone is giving their word they will do something and not doing it is a broken promise. They are not a person who honors their word. They are affecting your trust.
If they make excuses every time, there is a problem. An excuse is not a true apology How to Make a Proper Apology  and anyone who makes constant excuses is communicating to you they don’t have to change, that their circumstances are more important than their promise to you.
If they don’t seem deeply embarrassed and apologetic by their disrespect for your time, there is a problem and if they promise they will do better, and don’t there is a problem. As silent as time is it can scream that there is something wrong. Don’t just seethe with silence in response. Say out loud to them that they are a promise breaker. If you fear or are concerned about how they will respond, please read my articles on malignant narcissists to find out if you are dealing with someone abusive and dangerous.  How to Recognize a Dangerous Person
Lateness does not always have a Freudian or hidden message. And you may rarely be left tapping your foot or checking your watch. But remember, time communicates. If you are walking through the door apologizing and complaining about traffic or last-minute phone calls, listen to the message you are sending. If you know someone who is always late, it may be time to have an ERASER conversation with them. ERASER Method. It starts with the specifics of their lateness, “You have been at least 20 minutes late for the last three weeks I have told you it upsets me, it’s effecting my ability to respect and or trust you….”
Now you have the handbook for the silent signals of lateness.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Wood MA is a Professional Speaker and a Communication and Body Language expert based in Atlanta, GA. Patti’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and associations, and she is the author of nine books including, “SNAP Making the Most of First Impressions Body Language and Charisma.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Wood MA is a Professional Speaker and a Communication and Body Language expert based in Atlanta, GA. Patti’s clients include Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and associations.  She has written nine books including SNAP Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma and People Savvy. 

Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at

The ERASER Method

The E.R.A.S.E.R. Method
                                                              by Patti A. Wood

Do you need to tell an employee or co-worker to stop or change a behavior?
Is someone doing something that you know is incorrect, bad or just not the best way to do it? Are you upset, irritated or angry with someone in your business or personal life but you don’t know what to say? Are you frustrated because you'd like to tell them how you feel, but are not sure what to say or how it will be taken? The ERASER Method is a step-by-step process to create a script of your message and word it in such a way as to make it easy to give and easy to hear! You can avoid misunderstanding and lessen defensiveness in the receiver of your message. It prepares you for positive discussion and makes it possible to ERASE the offending behavior. Would you like to motivate your employees? Have a more positive work and home environment or be a better leader, friend or parent.  The ERASER Method can help you script out an effective message to change behavior.

We aren’t use to clearly stating what we want from people. We may avoid it, or we may yell in frustration, but clear communication isn’t’ the norm. Because it’s not easy to sit face-to-face with someone and say you don’t like something they’re doing so we take the easier route. We complain to someone else, “You won’t believe what Frank did.” We stuff it and grumble to ourselves and it comes out in other ways. Or we wait so long that we finally explode all over the person. The ERASER Method is the easiest way.

First you will learn how to use the ERASER Method to give effective criticism then you will get specific examples. Though you will learn all the steps in a particular order you may not need to use all the steps every time or use the same order every time, pick and choose what’s right for your situation.

The timing of a courageous conversation is important.  You want to say something as soon as the behavior occurs or as soon as you see a pattern of behavior. Waiting a week to tell someone she left the door to the office unlocked last Tuesday or waiting a month to tell someone he forgot to turn in a project on time has little positive effect. The closer the conversation is to the behavior the more likely it is to change.

As you begin to write your script don’t use it to unleash all your pent-up frustrations and complaints. Use the script to ask for a change in one offending behavior. If you wait and serve up a laundry list of complaints, the person you’re critiquing is certain to become defensive. Next, you must take an honest look and decide whether the behavior is their problem or yours. Or if what you want to say is worthy of bringing up. You may even find that after you work out what you want to say, that was enough. They don’t need to know.  First think about the behavior and decide if it is your problem or something that they really need to know and change.
If your employee comes in late to work and there are set work hours and their being late affects others, you have a valid reason to request they erase their lateness. If you don’t like that your co-worker who sits near you eats at their desk, but it doesn’t seem to bother anyone else it may just be your issue and not worth potentially effecting your working relationship. If your friend is rude to wait staff and it is offensive, you have every right to call them on their behavior but If your friend has diet issues and always talks to the waiter to make sure there is not gluten and it embarrasses you that may be their health issue and more about you changing how you view their need. If your boss raises his or her voice into a yell to give you commands, that may warrant a conversation.  If your teenager doesn't clean his/her room to your standards but it’s not really horrible, and it bothers you because you are embarrassed by what your houseguests might think, it may be your issue and not your teenager's. In other words, would it be OK if they just kept the door shut and kept the mold and fruit flies away?

If you decide to use the ERASER Method, begin by examining the person's behavior. Is there a pattern to it? Look at it as a journalist would a news story or a scientist would view a research study. Take out any emotion you may feel about their behavior in this first step.  Stand away, look objectively, and ask yourself, ``What is the behavior?'' ``When does the behavior occur?'' ``Where does the behavior occur?'' and, ``How often does the behavior occur?''

Exact           Express your concerns in exact terms. Don't use generalizations like, ``Every time you...'' or ``You never...'' or ``You always...'' Also, don't guess at or express an opinion as to why they do what they do. For example, ``If you weren't so busy with           , you would...''

                      Instead answer the following questions
                    What is the behavior?
                    When does it or when has it occurred”
                    Where does it occurred?
                    How often has it occurred?

Below are some examples of constructive ways to word your concerns:

                      ``Five times in the past three weeks, you have been at least 15 minutes late for work.''

                       ``I've noticed that the last four times you have taken a message for me, the full name of the caller and the phone number were not written down.''

Sometimes you may ask for a response back from the person such as
                    ``Is that accurate?'' Be careful about asking someone why they did what they did. It is almost certain to create defensiveness. You need to decide how much dialogue you want. If it's difficult for you to give this kind of message, you may need to ask the other person if you can go straight through the ERASER script and then talk about it.

STEP E Be Exact: Describe the offensive behavior on paper, then answer the ``W'' questions noted above regarding the behavior.

Result         After you've described the behavior, the person may still not understand why they should change their behavior. You may need to give them a result, i.e., tell them what happens as a result of the behavior.

                             ``When you are not at your desk at 9:00 a.m., Ann or Mike must take your calls and they cannot make their sales calls.''

                             ``Because I did not have a last name or phone number, I could not return the call and we lost a $10,000 booking.''

                      Remember when you were little and your mom asked you to do something? Didn't you almost always ask, ``Why, what makes this important?'' When we grow up, we still want to know.

STEP R Know the result. As yourself, ``What is the concrete result of the offending behavior?''

Aware  There are times when it's obvious from the steam escaping from your ears that the person's behavior is upsetting to you. Sometimes it is not so obvious, especially to the offending person. Clue them in. Notice what emotion their behavior arouses in you and communicate it to them.

                             ``When you are late, I feel anxious that the work won't be done.''

                             ``I was frustrated when I did not have a way of returning the call.''

                      Notice these statements are worded carefully. Absent are statements like, ``You made me angry.'' By using an ``I'' statement, you avoid arguments. No one can argue with an ``I'' statement. It's pretty difficult for someone to tell you how you do or don't feel about something. Your feelings are your feelings. There are times when this step is very significant.

                             For example, I once told two friends that I got upset when they teased me about my posture. They individually apologized and said they would stop. They didn't know it was bothering me. So, for them, knowing it bothered me was sufficient motivation for them to stop the behavior.

                      Granted, there are people who only need to know what really aggravates you to be motivated to continue the behavior! Fortunately, those people are rare. You might just as well skip this step with them. Why throw gasoline on the fire? You may need to have other forms of conversation with an individual who fits this mold.

STEP A Create awareness. When appropriate, state how you feel in response to their behavior.

Switch        If you've ever tried to stop a habit, you know how difficult it can be. Something that can make it easier is to replace the old, negative habit with a new, positive habit. This technique makes a return to the old habit less likely. So, why not help the offending person out by giving them a new, less offensive behavior to switch to. Suggest an alternative behavior that would work for you and for them!

                             ``I would like to see you sitting at your desk at 9:00 for the next three weeks.''

                             ``Could you please put the full name and phone number down on the pink slip?''

STEP S Switch the behavior. Suggest and recommend the behavior you would like to see occurring in place of the current offensive behavior.

Evidence    If you're concerned that the person may backslide into an old behavior, or it is critical that they do something a certain way, you may wish to add an evidence step to your script. Outline what will happen or stop happening as a result of the behavior modification. Support it with an expressed agreement as to what the change will look like. Perhaps you can give them a time frame when you will be observing the behavior, or a specific number of times you would like to see the behavior.

                             ``I would like to see you sitting at your desk at 9:00 a.m. for the next three weeks.''

                             ``Please try to completely fill out the pink slips for the next two days. See how people respond to your asking them to give their full name and telephone number?''

                      Remember, you may want to open up some dialogue here and ask them what the evidence would look like.

STEP E Evidence—establish and agree on the behavior change.

Reward      Some people are motivated by rewards; some are persuaded through the prospect of punishment. Think about what motivates the person you are talking to. Would it be helpful to give them a specific reward if they erase the old behavior and switch to a new one? What punishment could you present as a possibility if they don't? Caution—make sure it's something you absolutely, positively will do. If you won't carry through on this step, it's powerless. They must know you mean business.

                             ``If you are 10 minutes early for three weeks, you can leave at 4:00 p.m. the third Friday.''

                             ``If you take complete messages and it results in a booking this week, we'll go out to lunch on me.''

STEP R Reward good behavior.                                 

                      After you've finished your script, look it over and make sure all the necessary steps are included. Edit out any generalizations or ambiguous terms like ``good'' or ``bad.'' If it is difficult for you to give criticism, practice the ERASER script with a friend. Have them respond as the offending person might, and ask them for suggestions. If you're still nervous, it may help to preamble your conversation by telling them you are practicing a new method of communicating and solving problems. Then, do the most important part—deliver the communication! No communication—No result. Go for it and good luck!

                                                      The E.R.A.S.E.R. Method
                                                              Quick Reference

                                                              by Patti A. Wood

              Write out the script as if you were saying it out loud to the person.

Exact           Using exact terms, state the person's behavior as it exists now. Answer the following questions in your statement. Don't use generalizations such as, always, never, every time, and don't guess at why they do what they do.  What is the behavior? When the behavior occurs? Where did the behavior occur? How often did the behavior occur?

                      Example:    ``Seven times in the past three weeks, you have been at least 15 minutes late for work.''

Result         What is the concrete result of that behavior? What happens
                    because they do or don't do something?
                      Example:    ``When you are not at your desk at 9:00 a.m., Ann or Mike must take your calls and they cannot make their sales calls.''

Aware           Make the person aware of the emotion(s) the behaviors

Patti Wood, MA - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at