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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.

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


[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.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Practical and useful right after you watch him...! Great class.

This class helped me look at communication differently. I look forward to applying the lessons learned in business and life.

I first came across Chris Voss in 2016 when I picked up his book in an airport book store. I have used his techniques in every business interaction I have had since. This masterclass has given me the opportunity to grow and reinforce those skills. Great course. Thank you Chris.

Very well taught and drives concepts home that are counter-intuitive and therefore very thought provoking.


A fellow student

Not sure about the lying body language. My dog's first name is not a passionate or emotional question. When people feel uncomfortable, they will reflect that. You want a real baseline, ask them if they get along with their mother.

Sibel A.

When Chris talks about lying, it is not really about for personal gain. But there are cases where people lie for personal gain, like for stealing. Once I was working on a project where my client’s inhouse contractor was lying about the work he did so that he could charge more. On the call he lied about his work, made up things that did not exists so that he could charge 8 hours for a job that he spent only 5 minutes . I was the subject expert that was brought to the project and he expected me to approve his LIE. It was a very hard situation because his manager trusted him and had no idea about our subject. On the conference call, I kept asking him what kind of work did he do in those 8 hours and he made up stuff and i am the only one who knows he made it up, and I had to tell him that whatever he is doing DO NOT REALLY EXIST. This was technical software project, so i really can’t approve things that are wrong or things can be broken but I could not find a way to bring out his lie , he kept lying, his manager kept believing him and i was put in an impossible situation.I had to leave the project. I would really love feedback in situations like this where LIAR LIE on purpose to gain personal advantage.


Thats weird because i get worried and start over explaining when i think someone think i'm lying when i'm not.


Un petit résumé en français au cas où il y a un Frenchy qui passe par là ;) l'essentiel dans cette leçon est d'apprendre l'habileté à avoir une bonne lecture concernant la situation afin de pouvoir concentrer notre attention sur la manière dont l'interlocuteur réagit, de sorte à s'imprègne des informations qu'il communique et qui nous sont utiles. Pour ce faire la règle du 7/38/55, permet de diviser la communication d'un individu à travers trois éléments, les 7% représentent les mots employés, les 38% représentent le ton de la voix et les 55% représentent le langage corporel. Ainsi il faudra faire attention sur la manière avec laquelle le ton est employé car, il peut vouloir signifier tout le contraire de ce qu'on pense, de même le langage corporel prend une plus grande importance dans notre communication il faudra si nécessaire faire émerger le ressenti de l'interlocuteur dans le cas ou notre intuition nous faire dire qu'il pense le contraire de ce qu'il dit et ce dans le but de faire émerger ses sentiments les plus profonds au regard de la discussion. De plus, dans le cas où il y aurait d'autres personnes qui accompagnent notre interlocuteur et que ces derniers ne s'expriment pas verbalement il est intéressant d'observer leurs réactions physiques car, ils auront tendance à communiquer davantage via leur langage corporel et du coup communiqué une réaction plus sincère de ce qu'ils pensent. Dans le cas où on aurait l'impression qu'une personne est en train de mentir, il faut toujours faire émerger son réel ressenti, par exemple en employant une phrase commençant par « j'ai l'impression que... » avec un ton curieux et collaboratif. A rappelé que toutes ces méthodes ne garantissent pas à coup sûr que nous allons obtenir les informations que nous souhaitons, mais cela permet de mettre en place un environnement où l'interlocuteur se sent en sécurité et permet ainsi de baisser sa garde, car dans la plupart des cas un interlocuteur qui ne nous dit pas la vérité a tendance à nous percevoir comme une menace. Prochain résumé à la vidéo suivante ^^

Daniel R.

BTW: there is no one who can say "I can spot" lies. If that was the case, the Justice system would work just fine. Sometimes people react differently because they are afraid that you don´t believe them. This lesson is making me really think about a refund, because if he talks like this about something I know a little, how can I trust the rest?

Daniel R.

The 7-38-55 rule refers only to the emotions we project. For more info:

Bernardo F.

What if you come up with a poker-face? This class is great, but there surely are people who know how to face these situations, we are in the best case scenario in which you are the most prepared, what if you're not? How to deal with someone who know all this and more?

Fellow S.

Chris said that, in business, if people use plural pronouns "we, they, us" and refer to "the team, the board, etc" versus referring to their own individual power (I, me, mine, my, etc) – it means they really have influence. How do you convince someone of what you want who uses the power of plural pronouns in business to make it seem like they don't have power, even though they really do?

A fellow student

What if somebody is telling the truth but they are worried that you will not believe them?

Héctor L.

4:07 in the subtitles: he said unguarded, not unguardable, it changes the meaning of the sentence and i was going crazy with that hahahah