Body Talk

Can you read people?

Do you know how individuals are going to react based on their expressions and posture?

Many times, the ability to read people, or read a room, often comes from a combination of natural intuition and a general knowledge of the various cultures that make up our global landscape.

According to Digital Body Language author, Steven Woods, and founder of Oracle CRM software, Eloqua,

“The ability to ‘read the room’ and identify the right influencers and coaches depends on the ability to identify and interpret body language – non-verbal communication such as crossed arms, head-nodding, raised eyebrow, shared glances, and other dynamics. Even the most trivial gesture can reveal critical information that a sales professional can use to his [her] advantage.”

Psychologist and Professor Emeritus in Psychology at UCSF, Paul Ekman, is the researcher and author best known for furthering our understanding of nonverbal behavior, encompassing facial expressions and gestures. In his studies, Ekman has gone so far as to catalog over 3,000 significant facial expressions to help his students, and others, develop the ability to detect them.

According to Ekman,

“Micro expressions are very brief facial expressions, lasting only a fraction of a second. They occur when a person either deliberately or unconsciously conceals a feeling. Seven emotions have universal signals: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, contempt, surprise and happiness. You can learn to spot them.” ~Paul Ekman

Many of today’s psychology-based movies and tv-shows including, Lie to Me and Inside Out, are based on Ekman’s research. They help audience viewers become more aware of human emotion and body language, while also being entertained.

Images from television series, Lie to Me

Traditionally, this ability to, “read people”, is all a sales or marketing professional needed in order to do their job well. Today, there’s an added element to the buying process that has totally changed the game; The Internet.

customer_sale_funnelInstead of meeting our customers face-to-face, right off the bat, they are researching and reviewing all the information they can find, thus forming an opinion before we even get to say, “Hello”.  We’re no longer meeting our customers at the traditional start of the sales funnel, customers are coming to us, already aware, and most likely interested.

. . .digital body language is creating a very real shift in the hand-off between marketing and sales. Marketing is moving further into the buying process as the buyer leverages new sources of information instead of relationships with sales professionals. That’s placing a greater premium on the marketer’s ability to create, target, and deliver relevant and credible information. ~Steven Woods, Digital Body Language

Today, much more lies on a company’s marketing department to appeal to potential customers, in the right place, at the right time. Marketers must also create content that encourages further research and time spent by customers that move them along the sales funnel until they come to us, interested and ready for more specific information.

Stay tuned for my next post on creating good, relevant, thoughtful, and creative content!


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Related Reads

Paul Ekman, Official Website

Digital Body Language, Author Blog

Woods, Steven. Digital Body Language. Place of Publication Not Identified: New Year Pub., 2009. Print. See on Amazon.

Scott, David Meerman. The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, & Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly. 3rd ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Print. See on Amazon.  (Updated Edition: 2015)

The Importance of Recognizing Microexpressions in the Work Place


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