What? I can’t hear you! Your body is shouting too loud for me to understand anything else!
Body language seldom lies and is rarely subtle. If you watch someone close enough you can learn more than you might want to know. For example, take the couple sitting two rows down and to the left. His shoulders are stiff, his gaze straight ahead. Her head tilts away and her arms are folded tightly against her. Anybody with half a brain can see what’s going on. They're in a fight.
Then there’s the guy on the sidewalk talking on his cell phone. His free hand is in constant motion with animated gestures and a vein sticks out on his reddening neck like an overfilled garden hose. Duh. He's angry. Everywhere you look silent ear-splitting messages reverberate over the noise coming from actual mouths.
Political analysts are even worse than their candidates. They hone their poker faces to perfection as they try to induce people to see the world as they do. But still I spot the grimaces, eye rolling and Cheshire cat grins between the cracks in their veneer. If they could look back at me through the TV it wouldn’t take much for them to read my body language—intermittent clenching of teeth and fists before throwing the remote at them. That’s just the body language… you wouldn’t want to hear the soundtrack.
What if all words caught up with all body language and just for a moment everything we saw and heard were in sync?
Let’s listen in to the couple two rows down and to the left:
Him: She’s so pretty. I hate first dates. I’m so nervous, I hope it doesn’t show.
Her: If I keep my arms folded and don’t look at him he won’t know I want him to hold my hand.
Hmmm…guess I got that one wrong.
Guy on the sidewalk: …That’s how the doctor explained it to me. It doesn’t look good, does it?
Wow, I’m getting worse at this. Let’s try again.
Political analyst: If my candidate win, everything will be hunky dory and I absolutely won’t listen to anything to the contrary. If heaven forbid, your candidate wins, nothing good can possibly come and it will be the end of the country as we know it.
Maybe I don’t always get it right but generally I come close and I bet you do too. Body language is hard to ignore and in most cases speaks much louder than the tongue.