August 22, 2008
News & Opinion: Honest Feet and Other Non-Verbal Cues
Kai Ryssdal over at Marketplace recently interviewed Carol Kinsey Goman, who wrote The Nonverbal Advantage.
One discussed position is the comfort pose of crossing our arms and legs simultaneously. Carol pointed out that, while "it sends a signal of resistance or 'I don't like what you just said.' It also, by the way, cuts your retention down to about 38 percent." And clarified that it means, "How much you're retaining of what you've heard in the meeting. So you really need to be aware that your body and mind, or brain, are not on separate planets, that what you do with your body affects your brain, but it also, right or wrong, it sends a signal to the rest of the people in your group."
And of course, there's that our feet give off the most honest cues. (Perhaps, we should direct our attention to people's feet, rather than their eyes?) Why's this true?
Goman: Because they are the least trained part of the body. So feet are probably the most honest part of the body. They will bounce when you're nervous or happy, they will cross, they will do that ankle lock and pull back when you feel not included in a conversation or a meeting, your toes will turn up if you're seated and you get great news.
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About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.