The First Body Part I Look At

body languageWhen I speak about body language, I often ask the room, “Which body part should you look at first? Please keep it clean.”

Predictably, people will start shouting out guesses (invariably, in the following order):

  • Eyes – NO
  • Hands – NO
  • Face/Mouth – NO
  • Shoulders/Posture – NO

And eventually, when they run out of body parts, someone will guess “Feet?”

Yup.

Your feet tell me how you’re really feeling. Without fail.

You know how to maintain a poker face, or put on a happy face even when you’re sad, but you have no idea how to fake it with your feet. (Seriously, what do “good feet” look like?)

That’s one reason why I consider your feet to be your most “honest” body part.

In addition, there are only five neurons between your sense of hearing (your fastest sense) and your feet moving. What’s more interesting, is it takes the rest of your brain about a half a second to begin the framework for cognition.

In other words, your feet are moving before “you” (the conscious you) even realize you heard a sound.

That’s a pretty authentic reaction and I want to know about it.

RULE OF THUMB: Where your feet are pointing is where you want to go.

All body language is rooted in survival. This is why it is a universally human thing. Reading body language does not vary depending on culture. For example, showing palm will indicate confidence no matter where you go. However, you might not want to project as much confidence or assertiveness in Asian countries as you would in America.

I’d say your feet are fairly crucial to your survival, wouldn’t you? If you are being pursued by a predator, you need to move or die. Your feet are going to carry you to safety, or they’ll help you defend yourself. Either way, they’re important to keeping you alive and therefore your brain PRIORITIZES them and where they should be positioned.

So when communicating with others, if you want them to feel as though they have your attention, point your feet directly at them. Conversely, if they are pointing their feet away from you and towards the door…let them leave. You’ve already lost them anyway.

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Do you ever wonder what people think about you? Have you ever accidentally given the wrong impression? Do people sometimes not take you seriously? Or perhaps walk on eggshells around you? Or maybe they’re just flat-out mean to you?

Is it possible that they are just sub-consciously reacting to your body language habits?

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