What are the four key behaviors you should focus on when evaluating someone?


People say a lot of things that aren’t true.

Most body langauge is contextual and can be misinterpreted.

What signals can and should you trust when trying to get a “read” on someone? They need to be unconscious behaviors that are not easily controlled and convey a clear message.

  • Speech mimicry
  • Behavioral mimicry
  • Activity level
  • Consistency of emphasis and timing

Via Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World:

We need to look for signals that are processed unconsciously, or that are otherwise uncontrollable, before we can count them as honest.

If we watch the give-and-take of conversational turn taking and gesturing, and carefully measure the timing, energy, and variability of the interaction, we can find several examples of honest signals. Four that we will concentrate on here are:

Influence – The amount of influence each person has on another in a social interaction. Influence is measured by the extent to which one person causes the other person’s pattern of speaking to match their own pattern.

Mimicry – The reflexive copying of one person by another during a conversation, resulting in an unconscious back-and-forth trading of smiles, interjections, and head nodding during a conversation.

ActivityIncreased activity levels normally indicate interest and excitement, as seen in the connection between the activity level and excitement in children, or when male orangutans shake branches in order to impress potential mates.

Consistency – When there are many different thoughts or emotions going on in your mind at the same time, your speech and even your movements become jerky, unevenly accented and paced. The consistency of emphasis and timing is a signal of mental focus, while greater variability may signal an openness to influence from others.

Each of these signals has its roots in our brain structure and biology. This may be why they are such reliable signals of our behavioral tendencies.

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