Body Language & Speech Patterns

Chris Voss

Lesson time 09:24 min

How people behave and how they say things can be much more insightful in a negotiation than what they say. This lesson is about looking beyond the surface and distinguishing truth from fiction.

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Topics include: Identify Baselines and Spot Deviations • Watch the Sidelines • The Pinocchio Effect • The 7/38/55 Rule • How to Respond to a Lie


[MUSIC PLAYING] - In this chapter, we're going to talk about body language and speech patterns. We're going to take a little bit different approach. We're going to talk about how a lie detector actually works. And you're going to learn how it's more important to get a accurate assessment of what somebody looks like when they're telling the truth as opposed to what they look like when they lie. This is all going to be governed by your ability to read the situation and your ability to shift your focus off of yourself and to actually pay attention to the other side, how they're reacting to you in the situation, how they're reacting to what you say. It's an information gathering process. And your first objective is to be a sponge and soak up as much information as possible. [MUSIC PLAYING] What is the 7/38/55 rule? There's a lot of discussion around this. So let me put it in context. 7 plus 38 plus 55 equals 100. And it originally came up from a study from a UCLA professor back in the 1970s I believe, at least the 1970s, about how much people liked the components of a communication. The three components of a communication are the content, the tonality, and the body language. The 7% represented how much they liked the content, the 38% represented how much they liked the tonality, and the 55% represented how much they liked the body language. What really matters, first of all, is the relative percentages. The tone of voice is five times as important as the words that are spoken. And a simple illustration is this. I could say, what you just said was a really smart observation. Now, you believe that I believe that. Or I could say, what you just said was a really smart observation. And the second way I use the exact same words, I changed the meaning completely. So the first one is, I agree. And the second one is, I think you're an idiot. One great way for getting a sense of whether or not somebody is being genuine ties back to the 7/38/55 rule. Does their delivery and their body language line up with the content of the words that's being spoken. If one of those is out of line, which one am I going to expect to be the most reliable? I'm going to look hard at body language and tone of voice when it's out of line with the words. And then I'm going to use a label to identify that dynamic. And I could say something as clear as, I heard you say yes, but I also heard something in your tone of voice that made you hesitate. You simply just point some things out with some labels that are labeling dynamics that are in front of you. These are fair things to do. [MUSIC PLAYING] In many cases, you're going to be negotiating in a group setting. They're going to have people on the other side of the table that are listening, that are dialed in, especially if they're concealing. And they know they're concealing. And maybe they're concealing out of defensiveness. The people who are going to be ridiculously unguarded are going to b...

About the Instructor

As an FBI hostage negotiator, Chris Voss persuaded terrorists, bank robbers, and kidnappers to see things his way. Now he’s teaching you his field-tested strategies to help you in everyday negotiations, whether you’re aiming to improve your salary, the service you receive, or your relationships. Get stronger communication skills, game-changing insights into human nature, and more of what you want out of life.

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Chris Voss

Former FBI lead hostage negotiator Chris Voss teaches you communication skills and strategies to help you get more of what you want every day.

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