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Book Review: How To Read Body Language and Go To Acting School

by John on 05/07/2012

The book is What Every BODY Is Saying, written by Joe Navarro, a former FBI intelligence officer.  He is also a recognized expert in non-verbal behavior.

It’s a great read – especially for:

  • Anyone who deals with the public or works in an office
  • Anyone who has to negotiate for themselves
  • Anyone who wants to act or write for a living.  More on that later in this post

After you read this, you will see people differently.  I was in an airport just as I finished the book and it was fascinating to watch people either interact or just sit with themselves.

I also find myself watching people’s feet now.  Navarro explains that the feet are the most revealing and honest part of the body.

There is a bit of warning, though, that Navarro points out on a number of occasions.  Spotting certain uncomfortable behavior doesn’t mean someone is lying or deceiving you; they just might be uncomfortable with you or themselves.  So don’t go using these techniques like you’re a mind-reader. 

That goes double for you guys who are going to use this in a bar to pick up chicks.  If anything, you should only use it to understand when a girl “isn’t that into you.”

More importantly, Navarro has some tips on how to make others feel more comfortable around you.

I believe this book can help you in business – especially if you have to negotiate with someone either for a raise or to nail that contract.

The book also reminded me of my days in acting classes at the Chekhov Studios with my good friend and acting coach Lisa Dalton

Yes, I took acting classes but not to be in dramatic or comedy roles.  I wanted to learn how the body affects the performance of someone speaking publicly or on-camera as a TV host or news anchor.  And I wanted to use the lessons for my writing.  Trust me, even if you’re a salesperson, acting lessons can help.

Lisa teaches a method of acting where certain movements trigger a reaction from within the actor that transmits the message or feeling to the audience.  The movements are all archetypal movements from our ancestral and evolutionary past.  What’s great about Lisa’s teaching method is that kids can use it safely; you don’t need a kid to imagine something horrible; rather he or she can learn movements that will create the same effect without causing psychological damage.

For me, Lisa’s work helped me with news sources and people who were telling me their story.  I could get a read if they’re sincere or they had an agenda.  Listen to what they say and does it match with what non-verbal signs they’re showing.   That’s empowering when you need to write or broadcast about the truth. 

Navarro and Lisa could teach a great seminar together.  Much of what Navarro explains in What Every BODY is Saying meshes with Lisa’s techniques.  Either reading this book or taking a session with Lisa will open up new revelations for you about the human psyche — and yourself.

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