Kevin Hogan

International Speaker

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Reading & Interpreting Body Language

Reading, decoding and interpreting body language is art and science! Every action or micro-action takes place within a context and in reaction to other actions that go on around the individual. Body language has meaning that few understand and most mis-interpret. This free article will show you some of the basic and advanced techniques used to interpret body language! Flirting and sexual body language is something you can quickly spot in a woman’s body language as well as a man’s in both business and personal context. Body language revealing lying is easily identified in both business and personal context. Nonverbal communication is the least understood and most important facet of communication. The course from which this article is adapted, will take you through step by step so you will understand body language quickly and accurately.

Whether you want to learn the body language of love, dating or closing the deal, welcome. The analysis I’m going to give you as part of this article includes both “liking” and deception judgments. It is fairly complex to analyze human behavior in snapshots in time. I made judgments on the relationships of these couples (seen below) based solely upon these photographs and the apparent context in which they were taken.

In this article my goal for you is to become aware of a few of the subtle nuances that you are going to begin picking up from now on. Instead of telling you each little nuance in a boring, clinical way, I’m going to let you have some fun and invest just a few minutes into being a body language expert with me. In the course, (which I designed equally with business and personal relationships in mind) I will go into much greater detail, but if you look closely you will learn a great deal today about the nuances of nonverbal communication.

The question I was asked to answer about these specific body language pictures was, “Who is the boss.” “Who rules the family, and are they likely to stay together?” Let’s take a look and see…



Photo 1 – Arnold Schwarzanegger and Maria Shriver.
Arnold has a straight back, thumb up, and focus on someone in the audience. He is engaged with both his wife and fan at the same time. His smile, however, is not his normal limbic smile. It’s forced as you can see by the lines between chin and cheekbone. He is in control of the setting but he is pushing his smile.
Maria Shriver (wife) is also engaged with someone else while completely happily in love and comfortable with her husband. That smile is a genuine limbic smile and she couldn’t be happier with whatever the setting is and her husband. The hand to the heart is a sign that she adores this man when the smile is in place as it is. Her body posture is leaning toward Arnold and it would be tough to do otherwise as it appears that Arnold’s left hand is making sure that she is leaning into him. Nevertheless it is natural and she is brilliantly happy.

These are two people, very much in love who have a different agenda for the day. The mix of business and pleasure is obvious from the body language point of view. Both are going well. She appreciates the crowd more than Arnold and she appreciates Arnold, at this moment more than he does her.

What can you learn? Go back to Maria’s smile. See those two lines that go back to her ears? When the smile is genuine (with the vast majority of people), you see those lines go back to people’s ears and you see two or more. The more the better.

This couple is happy and nothing is likely to get in their way.

Photo 2 – Chelsea Clinton and Ian Klaus.
This is a very interesting picture of the former President’s daughter. Again, a snapshot in time. First the boyfriend. Notice where his hands are. They aren’t up in the air, they are “holding the ceiling up.” Generally when a man does this kind of “Samson” gesture (holding/pushing the pillars) you can read it as an intentional show of strength (which usually actually means quite the opposite!) Next look at his eyes. They are looking right down at his….correct. What he is seeing is anybody’s guess but his facial expression indicates he is pleased with it…
Chelsea is close to this young man…but not as close as you might suspect given the depth perspective of the photo. Her eyes do NOT attend to her boyfriend but something/someone else off to the side. She also (in this snapshot in time) does not actually touch her boyfriend and that is interesting.

She appears happy and yet uncomfortable with the setting. A bit shy for this really now outgoing girl. Perhaps because of the camera in her face? You can’t tell but the overall chemistry plays out like this. Samson and a distant Delilah. There is no talking going on between the bodies and although it appears they have fun together on some levels, this looks short-term from this moment in time forward. A full body shot would have added a great deal to the context. Her smile is genuine. Notice the lines…


Photo 3 – Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar. 
Look at the power Liz Hurley has here. Start with her body position. She is holding him like a man holds a woman. Her right hand cupped tight against his right side. Very masculine. In charge. Her smile is irrelevant. It is only for the audience. There is no sign of anything in the smile that leads you to believe she likes what she is looking at. It is a prefrontal cortex smile. A smooth face with a smile is a sign of polite boredom. Notice where Hurley chooses to put her hand for the photo? Not like Maria Shriver with Arnold right? Correct. Her hand goes to her hip and unconsciously gives the feelings she has deep inside for this man away. I suspect they enjoy their intimacy and little else.
Looking at the boyfriend you see no happiness, not even contentment. Why is he here? I don’t know. Whatever the context, it doesn’t matter. The affection he shows for her is miniscule and forced.

These two have a short life expectancy together based upon only this snapshot in time.


Photo 4 – Nicky Hilton and Boyfriend. 
This is a great photo and you don’t need me to analyze it all that much for you so I’ll let you do this. What is his body posture compared to hers? Is her affection level comparable to his? Do they appear to share the same level of desired connection? Compare facial expressions. Which one appears adoring and admiring?
Right on all accounts. Notice that she gives her cigarette in the right hand far more physical attention than he does from her. She is sitting in the shade but her face squints as if she’s in the sun. This is usually a sign of dislike or annoyance. Difficult to tell without another snapshot in time.

Notice his right leg that he has positioned right into her legs. She has given nothing back. This poor man will be with another woman very soon.


Photo 5 – Tom Arnold and Shelby Roos. 
Does this photo remind you of Nicky Hilton’s and to a lesser extent Liz Hurly’s? It should.
Tom Arnold is being held on a string here. He might actually be married to this woman now, I believe this is the case. Let’s look at affection. You work this out with me:


  • Does her face indicate she is appreciating Tom’s affection?
  • Does her face seem to want to look toward Tom?
  • Does she appear to be grabbing Tom tightly and pulling her close to him?
  • Does she give more attention to the handbag at the end of the arm which appears to have a dead weight attached to it than Tom?

The affectionate touch to the stomach like Maria did is nowhere to be found. Tom clearly is very fond of this lass. Her smile is a combination of the prefrontal and limbic. Only one line usually means that there is some “truth” in the smile but not joy or happiness. The young ladies rear end is far too far back there for her to be feeling intimate toward Tom who appears that he could ignore his outdoor surroundings at any moment and ….well yes.


Now, there is much more that you can glean from each photograph. I’m going to reveal to you how to determine whether everyone you meet likes you or not. I’m going to show you how to read with precision whether they are leaning “yes” or “no.” Like any skill, it simply take a little time investment to learn. The payoff? Enormous. Being able to control every situation you are in.

I’m going to let you participate in the course where we have about 100 candid photos of celebrities in different settings. Working with celebrity photos is the best way to learn because these are people who are taught to control their emotions and feelings. But just like what you have already learned to see, the little nuances like the cigarette in Nicky’s hand, the handbag in Tom’s girlfriend’s hand. They tell quite a story. The story that the unconscious is revealing, but the conscious mind is not.

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