Communication Skills Blog

If you want to know what people are thinking, seconds count–actually, fractions of seconds. Scientists have proven that even people who can effectively mask their emotions often use give-away cues like flinching, blinking, or smiling. The problem is they only last for as little as 1/20th of a second.

The good news is that in studies people are really good at picking up these non-verbal cues–if they know to watch for them. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • These signals are universal–a flinch is a flinch is a flinch, seemingly anywhere in the world.
  • The more familiar you are with your customers, the easier it is to read these signals.
  • You have to be watching for them, which means making eye contact when you deliver a piece of information or ask a question.
  • The more different ways you ask a question, the more consistent the response is.

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