What if I told you there’s a way to get almost anything you want? Things like:

  • secretly knowing what someone’s thinking
  • getting a raise without working any harder
  • having your date never forget you and wanting more

No, I’m not talking about some magic superpower… although some might call it that. I’m talking about body language.

Body language is the closest thing to mindreading and a skill ANYONE can learn.

In this article, I’m going to teach you exactly why body language is important. More specifically, you will learn:

  • How even the most awkward individual can turn into a nonverbal master
  • Why the rule “93% of all communication is nonverbal” is wrong
  • A powerful trick to instantly feel confident, in almost any situation
  • The #1 most important thing to do before you start new learning on body language

Before You Start

Before we go any further, I want to give you an honest disclaimer.

Once you know the secrets of body language, you start seeing the “dark” side of people. You might find consistent closed signals from someone you thought was your “friend.” You might find contempt signs from your partner who’s fed up and wants to move on. You might see a coworker leak a subtle happy microexpression when they find out you’re leaving.

In all these cases, you might feel hurt. So if you’re sensitive to emotions and prefer to remain in blissful ignorance instead…

Then this guide is NOT for you. I wrote this Ultimate Guide for those of you who are willing to face the truth.

On the bright side, becoming a body language expert will bring out your untapped abilities to maximize ANY social encounter you’re in. Essentially, you’ll know the 90% of what lies beneath the iceberg in ANY social encounter.

Why is body language important? Body language is like an iceberg

No, this isn’t manipulation, pseudoscience, or a scam.

This guide is the result of over 13 years of research and experience teaching thousands of students as a certified body language trainer.

Everything you read in this guide will be given to you 100% free because I want to help YOU maximize your social skills. However, the information you learn may last you a lifetime. 

Basically, this isn’t your average lazy “how-to” guide, because what you find in this guide might surprise you.

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#1: Reading Body Language is a Super Skill

Superman has super strength, the Flash can run thousands of miles per hour, and Aquaman can breathe underwater.

And humans can… well, does this count?

But if there’s any superpower we have, it’s reading body language.

And it’s not quite a superpower.

I prefer to call reading body language a SuperSkill, because it is a skill we can all learn.

Now the truth is, ANYONE can learn to read body language. Even the old granny who can’t see well (hint: body language exists in vocal variations, too).

A Case of the Runs

High school was a time full of awkwardness and regret—as I’m sure many of you can relate to. In particular, I remember one time when my high school crush, Shaun, sat at our lunch table one day. 

I was terrified.

We normally sat in our own little group; we weren’t the “popular” ones, but at least we had some common interests like reading books and gossiping about oh-so-cute boys—it was odd for a popular kid like Shaun to sit with us.

He sat down and talked a bit with his friend, and then turned to me and asked, “So what’s going on with you?”

I could feel my face flush red with embarrassment. Immediately, my throat dried up and my mind blanked out.

So I did the only thing my rational brain thought of at the time. I excused myself and scurried to the bathroom.

And I hid there. I hid there while sweating bullets and didn’t come out until lunch was over.

The next day, Shaun didn’t show up. And when my friends asked, I told them it was just a bad case of the runs.

Phew! Okay, now that I’m done reliving one of my most embarrassing high school memories (there’s more where that came from!), I want to tell you that no matter who you are—whether you’re a shy introvert looking to look more natural, or you’re already pretty good at socializing and want to get a better edge—you, too, can master body language skills.

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#2: Nonverbals are More Important than Words

You may have heard something like, “93% of communication is nonverbal!” However, this number is wrong and outdated.

Famous silent characters like Charles Chaplin, Silent Bob, Teller from Penn & Teller, Wall-E, and Courage the Cowardly Dog can portray the entire human spectrum of emotion—and tell compelling stories from their nonverbals—without having to use words at all.

So while there might not be a real percentage, we do know that nonverbal behaviors tell a much more comprehensive story than words do.

Try This: “I Love You” Exercise

We all know the power of love. But how you say it certainly makes a huge difference. For instance, try saying “I love you” in different ways:

– Emotionless
– Happy
– Sad
– Angry
– Confused

Can you imagine saying these 5 phrases in different scenarios? You certainly wouldn’t want to shout angrily to your lover, “I love you!” during a romantic candlelit dinner!

Now, most people can carefully choose their words, but they can’t choose their body language (unless they’re a politician, that is).

There are only 3 situations where people really pay attention to their body language:

  • when they’re trying to get away with something
  • when being filmed or in front of an audience, and
  • when they’re trying to impress others, such as a cocktail party or date

Most of the time, people aren’t aware they’re giving away cues that show their true feelings.

In fact, a lot of body language cues are genetic or inherited. And they become automatic responses to stress or the environment.

For example, today I went to a nearby coffee shop and saw a woman twirling her hair while talking to a guy, a man discussing a business deal on the phone suddenly bouncing his feet up and down, and even a guy on his laptop nervously biting his nails off—all without a thought of their nonverbal behavior!

With body language knowledge, you can assume that the woman is attracted to the guy, the business man is excited about a deal, and the guy on his laptop is nervous about something.

This much info speaks volumes—all without them uttering a single word!

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#3: Develop a “6th Sense” In Your Interactions

Have you ever asked someone how their day was, and they say something like, “It was great!”

But then you see their fatigued eyes as they literally drag their feet to walk past you? This might be a dangerous sign of toxic positivity, but more importantly it’s something that even the most oblivious person can catch on to.

But what about other scenarios?

  • the boss with a Resting Bitch Face who’s hard to read
  • the date who’s giving you mixed signals
  • the car salesman who says it’s the “best deal” they can give you

In these cases, how do you really tell what people are saying? True, it might be a little harder at first… but even the most botoxed faces will give away a hint into the deeper feelings that lie beneath the surface.

Even the most professional liars often leak subtle cues that give them away.

Body language analysis works for almost every situation you will find yourself in, regardless of who you’re talking to. There are even universal body language cues that are found across cultures, and even in the most remote of tribes.

However, most people don’t pick up on these cues, even though the other person displays them in plain sight. Traditional schools don’t teach you body language, either. That’s why learning body language is like unlocking your 6th sense of intuition.

With body language skills, these “subtle displays” become obvious. You’ll be shocked how you’ll instinctively know someone is angry by observing their nostrils flare, cheeks turn pale, and torso shift away slightly, while your clueless friend turns to you and says, “I have a strange feeling about him, but I don’t know why.”

I’ve been able to use my skills from simply knowing how to talk to my partner, to negotiating with big business clients like Amazon and Microsoft.

And with your newfound skills, you can, too.

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#4: Take Command of Your Relationships, Negotiations, and Career

So what are the best ways to rake in the gold from all this juicy knowledge? Besides working on your own nonverbals (more on that next), the big trinity I found that most people using their body language skills with are:

  • Relationships
  • Negotiations
  • Career
Relationships Negotiations Career triangle explaining why is body language important

Relationships

I want you to feel confident in your relationships. And that goes for both romantic and friendly ones. Knowing where to stand, how to come across as open, and even how to appear welcoming so others approach you is key to making meaningful relationships that last.

How to Be More Attractive

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Negotiations

Every interaction you have in life is a negotiation. A negotiation for power, money, status. No matter how you view it, we are always in a negotiation—and whether you win that negotiation or not can greatly influence how much you get back in life.

How to Negotiate (With 12 Science-Backed Strategies to Win)

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Career

Having trouble opening up a difficult employee? Want to learn how to talk to a difficult boss who just won’t listen? Whether it’s in the office or during a meeting, we’ve got you covered:

13 Career Training Strategies for Greater Success

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#5: Become The Most Powerful Person in the Room

This sounds a bit cheesy, but with body language you can really become who you want to be.

Let me explain.

Many people who undergo one of my many body language programs and courses say to me they feel “held back” or “restricted” in their lives. Perhaps because it’s societal conditioning, an overly-strict household, or xxx—whatever the case, they want to break free from these emotional chains.

With body language knowledge, you can catch yourself using negative body language cues and replace them with positive, confident ones.

“But I don’t want to just appear confident! I actually want to BE confident!”

I totally understand! I’ve heard this many times before, but many people don’t realize that your body comes first, and the brain follows. 

Fake it ‘Till You Make it

In a groundbreaking study published inPsychological Science, Harvard professor Amy J.C. Cuddy found amazing benefits of the “power pose.” In her experiment, 42 male and female participants were assigned to either a high-power pose group (such as putting their feet on the desk with hands behind their head) or low-power pose group (such as sitting in a chair with arms held close and hands folded).

The big surprise is that power poses were found to reduce cortisol and increase testosterone…in as little as 2 minutes (25% reduction and 19% increase, respectively). They also felt more powerful and had higher risk-taking behavior. 

The reason this works is because of your mirror neurons.

What are mirror neurons?

Mirror neurons are neurons in the brain that activate whenever we see or perform a behavior. Different mirror neurons fire off depending on the behavior. And depending on the “feeling” of the behavior, you can also directly change your mood as well. These are one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.

You can even activate your mirror neurons right now! Try a confident power pose. Lean back in your chair with arms behind your head, expanding your chest outward. Or, if you’re standing, you can widen your stance and put your hands on your hips (aka the Superhero pose).

Do you feel more confident and powerful? You may notice an immediate effect, but true, permanent changes take practice, practice, practice until your knowledge becomes solidified into your personality.

Which leads me to your first exercise…

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Record Your “Before Video”

Before you continue with the rest of the guide, I want you to record yourself for at least 10 minutes. Simply grab your phone or camera, hit record, sit in front of a mirror, and talk about your favorite subject.

Why?

Because this video recording will be your own baseline—a starting point to look back at and see your progress over the course of your body language journey.

Often, my body language students will look back at their own progress videos and will be astonished at how much more confident they look, or how their vocal fluency has gained a depth that they never had before.

For some, a huge transformation can be seen in just minutes by simply changing one simple gesture!

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What Others are Saying…

Still not convinced? Back in my days of doing live in-person trainings and through my body language courses, I received a ton of positive feedback. Here are a handful of comments from real people, so you can get an idea just how powerful body language really is…

“I get all of my body language information from this amazing person. We use it all the time in our work! LOVE.” – Shane Martin

“Why did they not have this course when I attended school? In a very engaging and entertaining way Vanessa Van Edwards opens the door to human facial communication that is applicable worldwide, everyday and in all situations of life. While progressing in a calm pace her vivid and engaging personality keeps your interest during short bursts of human insights of facial expressions and theys meaning/ As she states, all insights are scientifically proven and not opinions of the instructor. I only wish this course ghad been available to me thirty years ago. It would have saved me a lot of frustration. I can only hope Vanessa Van Edwars comes out with more courses of this kind, she truly has a gift for it.” – Carl Spira

“Simply Awesome! I have been studying body language and non-verbal communication for years and always attempt to gain more knowledge on this valuable subject.
Vanessa Van Edwards is ‘Simply Awesome’ at breaking down the lessons in this class. She is easy to understand and her Video Examples are some of the BEST I have seen.
I look forward to referring back to this lesson plan often and more real life video example of reading micro-expressions and body language.
This course is worth 10 times the price she is charging! :)” – Mark Call

“Really enjoyed your course today and learned so many new things to help decode body language and connect better with others.” – Michelle

“Took a body language course from Vanessa Van Edwards. Good to have in your pocket working in a male-dominated industry.” – Michelle Vasicek

“This is the second course I have taken by Vanessa, and I am finding that I am getting better at noticing the cues she describes. It is very interesting and really starts to explain a lot of the people I am associated with. Great course.” – Steve Beal

These are only a handful of the thousands of testimonials I received from past students.

In this new master guide, my goal was to create the most comprehensive, complete guide on body language on the internet. And now that it is finished, I hope it serves you well and helps you accomplish your personal and professional goals.

How did I do? Feel free to leave a comment down below with your own body language experience!

About Science of People

Our mission is to help you achieve your social and professional goals faster using science backed, practical advice. Our team curates the best communication, relationship and social skills research; turning into actionable and relatable life skills. Science of People was founded by Vanessa Van Edwards, bestselling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People. As a recovering awkward person, Vanessa helps millions find their inner charisma.

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