Many years ago, a drama teacher, exasperated at my bad acting in a college play, shouted, No! No! Your body is belying your words. Every tiny movement, every body position, he howled, divulges your private thoughts. Your face can make seven thousand diffeent expressions, and each exposes precisely who you are and what you are thinking at any particular moment. Then he said somthing I’ll never forget: And your body! The way you move is your autobiography in motion.
How right he was! On the stage of real life, every physical move you make subliminally tells everyone in eyeshot the story of your life. Dogs hear sounds our ears cant detect. Bats see shapes in the darkness that elude our eyes. And people make moves that are beneath human consciousness but have tremendous power to attract or repel. Every smile, every frown, every syllable you utter, or every arbitrary choice of word that passes between your lips can draw others toward you or make them want to run away.
Mendid your gut feeling ever tell you to jump ship on a deal? Womendid your womens intuition make you accept or reject an offer? On a conscious level, we may not be aware of what the hunch is. But like the ear of the dog or the eye of the bat, the elements that make up subliminal sentiments are very real.
Imagine, please, two humans in a complex box wired with cicuits to record all the signals flowing between the two. As many as ten thousand units of information flow per second. Probably the lifetime efforts of roughly half the adult population of the United States would be required to sort the units in one hours interaction between two subjects, a University of Pennsylvania communications authority estimates.
With the zillions of subtle actions and reactions zapping back and forth between two human beings, can we come up with cocrete techniques to make our every communication clear, confdent, credible, and charismatic? Determined to find the answer, I read practically every book written on communications skills, charisma, and chemistry between people. I explored hundreds of studies conducted around the world on what qualities made up leadership and credibility. Intrepid social scientists left no stone unturned in their quest to find the formula. For example, optimistic Chinese researchers, hoping charisma might be in the diet, went so far as to compare the relationship of personality type to the catecholamine level in subjects urine.