May 1, 2014 6:51 PM by Greg Dingrando
We use body language on a daily basis, and probably don't even realize it.
It's a crucial part of our every day communication, so important the federal government is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to have experts study world leaders, including Vladimir Putin.
That's a lot of money, but body language expert Traci Brown said its not all that surprising considering what you can learn.
"You can look for how they feel about certain topics. You can see if they're speaking the truth, look and see if they're lying, just flat out not telling the truth," said Brown.
And if you can catch it, it puts you a step ahead.
"It's one thing to understand where they are in certain period of time, its whole other to predict what might happen and that's one of the things the Pentagon is spending all this money," said Brown.
But she said Putin, and his culturally stoic ways can be extremely difficult to read.
Brown said he doesn't show any emotion and certainly doesn't show his his cards, but that doesn't mean the efforts are worthless.
"To ignore that you ignore a huge portion of the message being sent," said Brown.
The same is true in our everyday lives, which is why the feds aren't the only ones calling in the pros.
"I know more and more employers are hiring people like me, body language experts, to come in and train staff on what to look for," said Brown.
We set up a mock interview to show the good and bad. We watched everything from smiles and good eye contact, to hand movements, and possibly most important, the connection built between the two.
"They're doing really good job of establishing unconscious rapport. You see how she's following Paul. If he extends hand, she'll extend her hand," said Brown.
Brown said if you can do it well you're body language can do much more than just make you look good.
"What's most fun and most useful is to be able to guide and direct person across from you. To persuade and influence and you can do that through body language," said Brown.
But it can also work against you. News 5's Greg Dingrando stepped in, and it didn't take long for red flags to pop up.
Brown noticed him ringing his hands, getting distracted, and rubbing his legs which she said pacifies nervousness.
So what's the most important and telling part about body language?
We wanted to know what you think so we hit the streets to talk to people about another area body language is critical to, dating.
Three people we spoke with said it was eye contact. Two others said it folded arms, while sixth person said it was a scowl on your face.
All good guesses, but Brown said they're wrong. The answer might surprise you.
"Our feet are the part that we are least in control of and most telling of how we're feeling. If someone is standing at a party facing you, but has one foot facing the door, where do you think they want to go? Out the door," said Brown.
It came as a huge shock to people we spoke with on the street. "O really? I never thought of that," said one woman.
So be thinking about your body language and that includes everything from your head to those ever so important feet.
Here's a list of things to keep in mind when it comes to positive body language, according to Traci Brown.
Positive Body Language
1. DO keep your body in a neutral position. Assume a nice, relaxed posture with nice fluid movements and relaxed shoulders.
2. DON'T cross your arms or legs. While this may seem comfortable, you're sending the message that you're closed or negatively evaluating the situation. And remember where the body goes, the mind will follow. When you cross your arms and/or legs for long enough, eventually you will be closed to what's going on!
3. DO nod your head 'yes' every so often while you're listening. This gesture signals that you're in agreement and want to engage in the conversation.
4. DON'T overdo it on the nodding. They'll think you're nuts if you consistently bob your head!
5. DO keep your hands pretty still
6. DON'T fidget and scratch your neck and face. You'll send the message that you're nervous or even lying!
7. DO match a few of the other person's body language a bit. For example, if they pick up a drink, you pick up a drink. If they lean on their right leg, you lean on your right leg. Make it casual. This sends a deep, unconscious message that you're just alike. Don't worry you won't get caught.
8. DON'T be jerky with your movements when matching. They'll think you're strange..
9. DO move closer or lean closer to whoever you're speaking with.
10. DON'T lean away or angle yourself away from the other person.
11. DO use a 45 degree angle of address
12. DON'T face people straight on. They'll unconsciously thing you're aggressive
13. DO hold their gaze a little longer if you're interested.
14. DON'T look at your feet and expect that they'll know you're interested.
15. DO smile genuinely. When people truly smile, they do with their eyes and appear to be more enthusiastic and positive.
16. DON'T give a fake smile-closed mouth and no smiling eyes.
17. DO keep your hands gently in your lap or assume a neutral position.
18. DON'T put your hands behind your head or on your hips. It's usually seen as a sign of aggression or overconfident and negative.