What Every Body Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s guide to speed-reading people by Joe Navarro
Whilst we have learned from the many books on nonverbal language, in most instances we subscribe to the ‘body language as an indicator of something’ school of thought. However this is probably the most extensively field-tested we have come across and is illustrated with lots of demonstration photos. Navarro had, by his own admission, an innate capability in translating facial movements to meaning (slightly raised eyebrow = friendly vs slight squint = unfriendly). Whilst, in NLP, we could put this down to mind reading, he continually honed his skills as an FBI agent and ended up lecturing both the FBI and police on body language.
The book provides background psychology behind many of our unconscious actions, which could be a dry subject. However, this is written so as to be both easy to read and understand. Although it is focused on business interactions, the techniques can easily be translated to any social interaction and specifically to the world of training and practicing NLP.
Due to the focus being on what other people are communicating via body signals, and that many of these signals are unconscious, it does not really help with your own communication skills (in that we don’t know what we don’t know) other than to raise your awareness of the importance of the primary means of communication – your physiology. It does provide excellent information on how to identify physical contradictions or incongruence’s between what is being said versus what the subject is physically projecting.