Our facial expressions can tell others a great deal about what we are thinking. Although some people have mastered what is referred to as a “poker face”, meaning they are not giving away anything via their facial expressions about what they are thinking. This takes practice to accomplish, and in certain instances can be a great skill to have.
Since most people have not mastered the art of perfecting a “poker face”, it can be important for them to be aware of what their facial expressions are revealing about them. This is especially true in situations involving a negotiation. What people may not be aware of is how much their facial expressions, or aspects of their body language involving even their neck and hand movements can work in their favor, or against them.
Have you ever been interviewing someone and noticed how red their neck and face turns? This is typically a reaction to being nervous, and this does not happen to everyone. However, for those who it happens to, it can work against them, even if they are fully confident with the conversation they are having. Unfortunately, those who have this happen to them may not be aware of the fact this is occurring, and it’s unlikely their interviewer will share this fact with them.
Is it possible to know if your face and neck turn red, and give away the fact you are nervous? Yes, it is. I’m also certain that others who know you well have potentially seen this occur before when you have been in a conversation with them that invoked a feeling of insecurity. If this happens to you, can you do anything about stopping this from happening? Potentially. However, you will need to practice being aware of situations which make you nervous.
When you feel nervous, your breathing pattern starts to change, and this is one of the factors which can cause your skin to turn red. This may sound elementary, but if you want to avoid giving your nervousness away from your red and blotchy facial and neck areas, you are going to have to practice relaxing breathing techniques. There are many places on the internet you can look to find out how to do this.
Another common facial expression that people do not realize they are projecting is looking concerned, or potentially upset. One way to see if you come across with these common facial expressions, is to look in a mirror to see what your face looks like. For instance, conjure an instance when you are thinking of being concerned, or potentially upset or mad at someone. Now, think of how your facial muscles are feeling, and take note of this. You will need to know this muscle combination to realize you might be making these facial expressions when you are talking to someone.
If others have told you that you often look either distracted or uninterested, you will need to work on making sure you are not having these expressions working against you. Again, a way to see what these facial looks are is to mimic what you think your facial expression is projecting when you are feeling these emotions. When you falsely come across with either being disinterested or distracted, this can work against you in both negotiation scenarios, or anytime you are trying to express you are fully engaged and actually interested in the conversation you are having. Those who have ADHD or focus challenges will need to work harder at making sure these lack of focus tendencies is not working against them.
When you are able to fully master the art of both understanding how to control your own facial expressions and properly interpret those of others, you will be moving towards a new level of being able to communicate with others. There are significant benefits of mastering and interpreting and managing your own facial expressions. Several of them are that you will become a stronger negotiator, appear to be a better listener, and you will gain a perceivably heightened sense of communication command.
Leaders in particular need to understand the nuances of facial communications, how to interpret them, and how to master the ability to showcase the proper facial expressions, and mask those which do not serve them or others well.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.
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