Skip to main content

money & life

The Power of Body Language

Lesson 5 of 27

Microexpressions Continued

Vanessa Van Edwards

The Power of Body Language

Vanessa Van Edwards

most popular money & life

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

5. Microexpressions Continued

Lesson Info

Microexpressions Continued

We're going to continue with our micro expressions. So, very briefly, so we can remember what we learned about the micro expressions. So a micro expression is a very brief, involuntary facial expression we make when we feel an intense emotion. So I thought I would ask for your help, so pull out your micro expression chart. Those of you watching, that's included in the free bonuses. We're going to go through the four that we learned just briefly review them. And then we're going to learn the last three. So, I ask you, what do you remember about the fear micro expression? So help me out. What happens in fear when we feel afraid, with the face? Right. Open mouth. Open mouth. What happens with the eyebrows? Eyebrows go up. Up and eyelids up, right? So we can see what's happening in front of us, absolutely. So fear, the brows are raised and drawn up. Our eyelids open so we can take in what's happening. Our mouth opens in a fight or flight response so it looks like this. Right, that ...

fearful and if you have trouble figuring that out at home you can always think about something your afraid of and then it will come to you. Anger, so help me out. What happens in anger on your face? Oh I saw it, perfect. Pulling the eyebrows down, what's it that were looking for those for the line in between our eyebrows. That is the classic indicator of anger. So we pull our eyebrows down our face, we have that vertical line between our forehead and we press our mouth into hard line. Looks like that, soon as we can open it up as if we're yelling. Sometimes we see a chin jut with anger, so in a bar fight, you'll see men go like that, with their anger micro expression you always want to watch out for that angry one. Third. Happiness, one of my favorites. So what's the only true indicator of happiness? Cheeks. Absolutely, so we had the pencil activity where and you can see, you can try this at home, you put the pencil in between your teeth and that engages these muscles up here. Just like that. So at home, a smile is not a true indicator of happiness. A true indicator is those cheeks, right? So when those cheeks raise up we know that someone is feeling genuinely happy for us. And with happiness, it's more important when you don't see it. Especially in business. If your with a client and they say they're really happy with the website you did for them, they're really thrilled, really happy, right? That will be a cue to you that something is not right. That's when, down the line, they dispute the cost or they come back and say, "Actually, I'm not really sure about that website." so in business it's very important to note when you don't see it. And that's when you want to go into information gathering mode. Right, so you can say, "You know let's walk just through. What do you think of the colors? What do you think of the fonts? So you can pin point what about it is not exactly making them happy. That makes your job easier later. Alright, so lets talk about contempt, which is the fourth micro expression we learned. Contempt, hatred, disdain. One of the most powerful micro expressions. And remind me, how do we do contempt? Right, one sided mouth raise. That smirk, one sided. People often confuse this for happiness but it one of the most dangerous micro expressions. 'Cause it's a sign of deep inner disrespect or hate. And its really important to watch out for. Especially in your social media profile pictures, or your resume pictures, make sure that you don't show that contempt micro expression. Okay, lets do surprise. So this the next micro expression. On your micro expression chart, in the first collum you can see the picture and in the second collum I want you to write exactly what happens in the face with surprise. In the third collum, what to do with micro expression, we're going to talk about in a little bit. So surprise, also the eyebrows and the eyelids lift. So they go up the face and the mouth drops down. So it looks like this. The difference here, people always confuse fear and surprise. The easiest way to tell the difference is in fear the eyebrows are flat across the forehead and in surprise they're upside down U's. So watch the difference. This is fear. Where this is surprise. Right? Immediately you can see the difference in the eyebrows. This is a huge distinction. If you are a parent and you ask your kid, "So did you know about the big party last night?" and you see fear, it's a very very different expression than if you see surprise. So that is why surprise is so important. It's a distinguisher in honesty, when we're doing lie detection. This is a big one I'm going to have you look out for, of when you ask someone do you know about blank. They should show surprise. Honest people didn't know. Where as fear is an indicator that there is something else that's happening there. Does that make sense with fear and surprise? So let's practice it. So if you can pull out your smart phones please. At home, if you have a webcam or a mirror, what we're doing is we're building your own micro expression guide. So I'm going to help you make the face and then you'll have an image of your own face. So your going to, pull your eyebrows up your forehead and drop your mouth nice and loose, perfect Jonmarie, that's perfect. And your gonna, on the camera app, take a picture of you. Right, oh that's perfect, yeah I love it. Remember, life those eyebrows up and loose, like upside down U's so. Yup, exactly. So that's how you make that micro expression guide. The hard thing about surprise is actually it's very hard to force surprise. Because once we're surprised, it's the most fleeting emotion. Right, surprise is the fastest emotion. Once you realize something you don't stay surprised so it's actually very hard to get people to keep that surprise on their face because once you learn something it immediately disappears. It's the fastest of all the emotions. And it's easiest to recognize by when those eyebrows shoot up into upside down U's. Alright, we're going to go onto the next one. Are everyone good with that one? Alright. Disgust. So disgust is when we feel revulsion at something. Its when we crinkle our nose, so we lift our nose up. We see these wrinkles in the upper area of our nose. And the upper teeth show, so it looks like this. It's that face you make when you smell something disgusting. That is the face of disgust. Now a lot of people ask me, especially in business, "Why do I need to know disgust?" Unless your chef, you know why is disgust important? Here's why. Disgust, is often shown on people's faces when your asking them about preferences. So any time you ask someone, "What do you think about?" or "Do you like?" People will often show disgust when they're pretending they like something. So you've seen this all the time, if you ask someone, "So what do you think about the new guy?" "oh yeah, he's great." Right, and they're actually making that disgust face with their true preference. So if you could pull out your phones, pull out your webcam, we're going to make your disgust facial expression, right now. And while we're doing that cause Leanna was asking this earlier on, I was saying, because I didn't understand it at the time, but I do now, they were saying when they wrinkle the side of their nose or up, raise it, in other words, calling it a snarl, is that the same as... I've lost the word. Disgust? Disgust. No, no. Disdain. Anger. Anger. Anger, Okay. Disdain, yes, I'm sorry. It's a good distinction, so disgust and scorn are very close, like in the O.J. Simpson trial, Kato Kaelin, when he was on the stand, they asked him a question about a book deal. They were like, "So, Kato," highly recommend you watch the video online. "So, Kato, tell us about this book deal that you got." They were basically accusing him of doing all this for publicity. And he went... Like that at her. And that's an expression of scorn or disgust. Like he was disgusted with the question. So anger and disgust are quite similar, usually things that make people angry, they also get disgusted by them. So it's very often you see them but the nose crinkle is always disgust. Disgust, so it's that wrinkled nose. So did we get the picture, sorry I missed it. So yeah you crinkle your nose up, think of something that you hate to eat. That's the best way to get that micro expression. Yeah, exactly, and Jonmarie, if you want to li, yeah exactly. Show those upper teeth. It's like something you hate. Oh, that's perfect Shasheet. Right, that's how you make that facial expression. And that nose crinkling, very rarely appears in other facial expressions. So when someone says that to you, especially when they're thinking, it usually means they're trying to think of a better way to say it. So if you ask someone, "So what do you think of the work we did?" They go into that kind a like uh... And they're trying to figure it out. They're trying to figure out a way to say nicely what they actually think. So watch out for that disgust with clients. And that's when you want to say, "You know, really be honest with me. I want this to work for you. I want to talk about works for you." So that's a way to get on the same side. More repro building behavior can help take down their anxiety about telling you the truth. Alright are we good on disgust? Does that feel good? Vanessa. Yes? We have a question in here for a little clarification on the term micro expressions. There seems to be an understand in the chat room that it's something that last for a split second. Is that true? Yes, So very good. So a micro expression is a brief, under a second, involuntary facial expression. Facial expressions obviously can be longer but genuine micro expressions, the one that we can not suppress, appear on our face very very quickly. So I am holding them for you longer and that's probably why they're confusing it's longer. I'm holding the expression for you longer. In the video that we're about to watch, you'll see how quickly they happen on a real person's face. And then I'm going to slow down the video so you can actually see the micro expression in the video. So yeah, I'm holding it for you. Prolonged facial expressions, actually this is a good note for lie detection, people who hold the surprise micro expression on their face usually mean it's feigned. Right, so if they're like, "Oh, my gosh, I had no idea, I'm so surprised." It usually means they're forcing that surprise. So yes, the genuine facial expression is when it happens very very quickly. And again, we're going to see that in action. Yeah? These pictures are rather entertaining. Yes (laughs) But they seem a little exaggerated, so my question is, is there a scale on the levels of these micro expressions? Yes, so these are the peak of the expression, right? These are, people actually make this face, in real life. This extreme of a face, and we're going to actually see it extreme in video. But you can have a softer version of it. So for example, in sadness, which we're about to learn, someone might just do that sadness in their eyebrows and not pull down their face as much. That would still be a softer sadness micro expression. But often, it is this extreme. You'd be surprised how often it is actually the full extent of the micro expression, which is amazing. Sadness, are we ready? This is the last micro expression. So the reason why I saved this for last is because it is the hardest micro expression to fake. It's incredibly difficult to access these muscles. In fact when you take the picture, I really need you to tap into something that your genuinely sad about 'cause it is very hard to engage those muscles. Heres what your going to do, your going to pull your eyebrows down, your going to pinch them together into this little pinch line. And then your going to pull the corners of your mouth down into a frown, so it looks like this. Right, it even makes you sad watching me do it. People's eyes often water when they make this expression really genuinely, so perfect, Jonmarie, that's perfect. What are you think of? It's so sad. I was just doing the facial part. Great, your good. Oh and you act. Actually, I have a lot of actor clients who take, 'cause they need to be able to access those emotions very very quickly on their face, so it's perfect. So think of something that's really sad. Pull your eyebrows down. Let's see. Yep, Meg that's good, pull those eyebrows together and down, your laughing, it's so hard to make them genuine. This is why I save it for last. Sadness is the hardest micro expression to fake. And if you can't find that facial expression its totally okay you can use one of mine. It is that hard. You know how people always say, "Oh I have an ugly cry." It's because we rarely make that facial expression, that genuine sadness. Those muscles aren't activated that very much. It took me months, to be able to look in the mirror and pull those eyebrows together and into a frown. Yes, it is a very weird thing to do. Luckily, I have no shame about making my face into weird into weird shapes. So are we okay on sadness? And that frowny face is just like an emoticon. Emoticons are actually aren't that wrong, in this. That frown is actually what we make when we feel sad. I think the emoticon for anger is also the brows like that. Which is kind of funny, because that is what are eyebrows do when we're feeling angry. So it's kind of funny that emoticons actually aren't all that long. (laughter) Alright. So let's talk about some examples. So as I talked about, when I teach a body language or a non verbal cue, first we start with the science then we go into theoretical examples and then I show you real life examples. And then we actually activate them in person. That's how we are going to do it. So now we're on the theoretical examples. When would you see micro expressions? So here's a couple of examples. The ones I see the most often in business situations. With clients, you always see anger around price. So you mention what you do, you mention how much it cost, and you'll see people will pull their eyebrows down into that. Little, angry micro expression. Or they'll chin jut at you. So they'll be like, "Mm, interesting." Right, and they chin jut a little bit at you. What's important is when you see that anger you immediately explain what makes up your price. Right, so explanation mode can often disengage that anger because then they have understanding of where it comes from. Right, so anger is a big one you see with clients. On interviews, so if your talking to colleagues, your interviewing a new client, your interviewing new employees, fear. "Talk to me a little bit about your previous job history." So those of you who are interviewing, you have to get really comfortable with your answers on the topics that make you nervous. So people often practice their interviews. Maybe they practice interviewing with a friend. Have your friend ask you about the things that make you the most afraid. So you can get confident with your answer. How you dealt with it. What you did. So that your not showing all of this fear. Which to interviewers is a little red flag of "Mm, something's off here. Something is not right. The confidence isn't there." People can read that on our face. Does that make sense? Perfect. Alright, let's talk about a couple photographer examples. And I added some photographer examples in 'cause I know that a lot of the creative live audience are photographers and I wanted to show a couple of ways that photographers see these micro expressions in action. So in photos, accidentally having someone do contempt. Right, if someone's at a photo shoot, their mouth gets really tired, right? So they end up going into these sort of half smiles because they're tired, they don't know what to do with their face, really having a hawk eye for that contempt and telling them, "Move your face. Get your face loose. What's something that makes you happy?" Corny jokes work really well, right? Having a whole cache of corny jokes to use. Just to get them out of that fake contempt and into real genuine happiness. With clients. So if your talking to clients as a photographer about their preferences, if it's about wedding or events, they can often show disgust about certain kinds of things. So how you work, you want to watch out for "Oh, I don't know if that would work for me." Right, and you can say, "Tell me about that. What makes you uncomfortable about that?" Because they showed that little disgust, you want to get into information mode. What about that made them uncomfortable. The other thing that can happen is with clients, at fear, when there is a price or an idea. So same with what we talked about earlier. An idea is another thing that sometimes photographers have fear with. So for example, "We're going to do an on spot photo shoot and I'm going to have you real causal in jeans." and you see that fear flash you, it means their a little uncomfortable with what you just said. So to be hyper aware, I mean a photographer's job is to make your client feel as comfortable as possible so you get the best possible shot. So if you can identify the fear before you even get into a studio, you can see what they're already going to be uncomfortable with and I often will tell photography students to interview clients about potential poses ahead of time. So just say, "So when you come into the studio, I'm going to have you come in, we're going to start with the professional shots, head shots, does that sound okay to you? Okay then we're going to do more casual shots, we're going to have you sitting on the couch, I might have you do some jumping shots." Right, and look for those preferences right there so you don't get into the studio and all a sudden they're like "Oh, no, I don't do this, I won't do this." Or they're really stiff. So doing those pre-interviews and by the way, in business this works too. If you have a client before you even start working together, going through the process and watching their face for the emotions that are happening, can preview any misunderstandings that might happen later. Does that make sense? Okay, cool. Let's looks at fake happy and real happy. So I was talking about this difference and I wanted to line up the pictures for you so you can see really clearly the difference between real happiness and fake happiness. The biggest thing is in those cheeks and you see a lot of this fake happiness with photography students. So if your taking pictures of someone or your using social media pictures, look and see if those cheeks are activated. That's the most important thing that you'll want to look out for with photography examples. So we are going to watch a video of a woman talking and I would like you to try to identify the micro expressions that you hear. We're doing... Yes, in the bottom of the micro expression chart is where I want you to take notes. So we're going to watch the video. Regular speed. I want you to watch her face and see how many micro expressions you can spot. Then we're going to watch the video again, slow it down, and see how many we missed or how many we got. Are we ready? Okay. So a client walked in and he said he wants to end the relationship. Apparently he wasn't really happy with our deliverables. Um, I don't know what to do. I guess he's going to leave. I just really hope he doesn't leave a negative review on our site. Okay, so do you want to watch it one more time? Would that be helpful? Okay, so how many do we spot? What did we see so far? (audience gives out answers) Sadness, contempt, surprise. A little bit of anger. Okay, alright, so we're on the right track. Let's watch it one more time and see how it goes. So a client walked in and he said he wants to end the relationship. Apparently he wasn't really happy with our deliverables. Um, I don't know what to do. I guess he's going to leave. I just really hope he doesn't leave a negative review on our site. Okay, any others that we missed or anything else? Some fear. Fear, very good. That was the one that we missed, absolutely. Okay, so now we're going to watch the video again and hopefully those of you at home are also getting some of these micro expressions and what I'm going to do is slow down the video, I'm going to put up the picture of the micro expression next to the video. So you can actually see how that comes up when she's in action. Okay, are we ready, we're going to do it one more time. So a client walked in and he said he wants to end the relationship. Apparently he wasn't really happy with our deliverables. Um, I don't know what to do. I guess he's going to leave. I just really hope he doesn't leave a negative review on our site. Okay, so watch, here's that anger. Watch, she goes right into that angry furrowed brow with the tight lips. We see the lines right in her face. Than she goes into contempt. That one sided mouth raise, have no idea why he left. There's that one sided lift. And then we have sadness. Watch her eyebrows pull down right there. And you start to see those, those sides droop. Right, that little sadness and then she briefly flashes you fear. Right, when she talks about him leaving a bad review on the site. Okay so that's how it looks. That's how fast it happens. Once you train your brain to know what to look for. Those micro expressions become more and more obvious. By the way, reality television is so fun when you know how to read micro expressions. Because you actually can see, I loved watching The Bachelor this season, it just ended, I loved watching it because your able to see, their expressions right on their face. Before they vote anyone off. Usually you can predict and have a bachelor fantasy league. Where we pick pick who we thinks going to leave on the first episode. I'm not a big football fan so that's my sports. And its great great with micro expressions, so yeah? I thought that was fascinating, I mean to see how how they last for a millisecond. You wouldn't really never see them and only your expertise is really to guide there. But I was very interested in the thing you called squelched expressions. Yes. 'Cause when I watched the video at first, I thought this is a person trying not to display anything of what she's really feeling. So that's exactly right. This video, I chose it, because it's a tough topic, right? It's a tough topic. When someone's talking about something that's difficult, which I exactly where you want to try to spot lies and hidden emotions. People are trying to hold back what they're doing. But you can see, they can not hold back the micro expression on their face. So remember how earlier I talked about assymetry or squelched micro expression? This is what happens when people are trying to hold back the genuine emotions. So you saw, we saw anger, we saw contempt, we're going to watch it one more time. We saw anger, contempt, and then you see she tries to control her face before she hits sadness. She's trying to like, literally it's like stopping yourself from crying, that's what happens, that kind of, that weird, and I'm going to let you watch it again, that weird asymmetry that happens in the face. That's because she's trying to hold back the genuine emotion. So let's watch it one more time so you can see them how they go in action, okay? So, a client walked in and he said he wants to end the relationship. Apparently he wasn't really happy with our deliverables. Um, I don't know what to do. I guess he's going to leave. I just really hope he doesn't leave a negative review on our site. Right, so lets slow it down. Hopefully it's slowed down. No it didn't, weird. So a client walked in and he said he wants to end the relationship. Apparently he wasn't really happy with our deliverables. Um, I don't know what to do. I guess he's going to leave. I just really hope he doesn't leave a negative review on our site. Okay so one more time, freeze frame, pulling into that furrowed brow. That anger micro expression, lips tightened. Then we see that she goes right into contempt when talking about why he left. That one sided mouth raise, yup. On lips you can see that easily with her dimple. And then we see that little sadness as she pulls her eyebrows down and together, that anguish, that's what she was trying to squelch. And then lastly we see that brief flash of fear. Right as she thinks about leaving a review on the website. Okay, yeah. In the contempt part, you we're talking about earlier, trying to figure out who the target of the contempt is for, in this case, she says apparently the client wasn't happy with the deliverables, do you think that in your opinion she has contempt for the work that was done or for the client not being happy. I think not understanding why the client is leaving. Whether that's about from the deliverables or not. I think it's about the situation, right? 'Cause she says, "I can't believe why he left." It's like, the confusion, remember how we talked about confusion earlier, that confusion can sometimes bring contempt, that's a really good example. Of like she just doesn't understand. She doesn't like why the client left. Was it the deliverables? Right, it's that kind of confusion that comes out and that's how quickly they happen. How was this? How did this feel for the brain? For you? It's a completely... I... am very um, cerebral I guess. I do a lot of, sort of like, processing in words and so it's very very hard for me to look. I completely miss it. Right, so, that is why we are going to build that back area of your brain right? So especially for our audio learners who are like "Oh my gosh, I don't even look at people's facial expressions." We're literally just training our brain to notice. And luckily there's seven that we've discovered and it's pretty easy to keep those seven in your brain. Even if you get one, that's better than none. And what I say is, the most important part of hunting for micro expressions, 'cause that's what we're doing, right? We're sitting with people, we're doing business, we're hunting for their true emotions. Is what your really doing is listening to them with your whole self. And that's never bad. Right, if you sitting with a client and you were trying to understand everything that they are saying to you. Even just trying to listen that closely makes you a better provider for them. So just the act of trying to listen and really pay attention to our face is so different than what we normally do. Normally, we're thinking about what we're going to say. We're thinking about our preconceived notions. We're trying to put a label on them. When you do this, when you switch into the observational mode, not judgment, just observing, you really become a better provider and a better person. And that's about building connections. So I think that it will defiantly, defiantly get better. And just even trying is going to improve your relationship with you client tremendously, even if you just get one, that's better than none, yeah. How are the chat rooms doing, are they?... Yeah, lot's of good questions. Connie Mom is asking, "Can you explain the difference between the eyebrows, between sadness and anger." Sure. Yes, so anger is when you always see those vertical lines, right? That is the true expression of anger. Up here. Sadness, those lines do not appear. Sadness is when you pull your eyebrows down. So you see that they kind of make that weird shape? That's the difference. So its those vertical lines. The absence of, means your probably seeing sadness, especially if they're down. Right so they both go down, but anger has those vertical lines. Very hard one to detect. That's why I try to often pair the mouth with it. Typical in anger the lips tighten, into that, or the chin juts out, yeah. Any other questions? Yes, Jolly Walter, says "The fear at the end kind of looked to me like helplessness. Is that a near expression?" I understood this, because I kind of, when I first watched it I kind of saw her as being like complacent? I mean obviously what wasn't what was happening. I picked that up too. I was kind of thinking, it was almost like she was trying so hard to cover her real feelings, she was trying to project she didn't care. Okay, so helplessness. If you notice, in puppy pictures, where the puppy is like helplessly looking up. Usually their eyes are wide like that. That is because, helplessness usually means someone is afraid that they can't fend for themselves. Right, that helplessness is actually like a secondary emotion to fear. Right, so also, do we, had just come off of sadness. So as a normal person, our emotions aren't necessarily totally separate. So if she's sad and worried about this person posting, it can be a combination of sadness into the fear, of like, I hope he doesn't post a bad review. And that's why it can end up looking like helplessness or hopelessness. Because you have that underlying examination of fear. And by the way, as humans, we are hyper aware, hyper coded to see fear. Because if someone else is afraid like, this is horrible, whenever I'm in New York and I'm on the subway, if you read people's faces, you can tell a lot about what's happening behind you. So for example, if I were facing a whole subway car and I went (gasps) like that, everyone in the car, would make a fear facial expression and turn around and look what's happening. Because as humans, we are behaviorally encoded to notice fear as I need to do something. Or their helpless and therefor I need to help them. Because it's a survival mechanism. If we can recognize fear in others that's a pre-warning of something that's dangerous that's happening around us. So that's why you might say, "Oh she needs help." She's showing fear. That shows you that. So that's a really really good question. Any other questions we should take? I was curious about something like, when we're with a client and we're trying to observe them, what happens on our face? 'Cause I tend to like to go like this. Which the client will start thinking that I'm getting angry or whatever. So if you hold that facial expression that means, it's not very very brief, so we we're talking about facial punctuators earlier. Those are the facial expressions that people make at rest. So it can be their contemplation face. Luckily, intuitively, we can tell the difference, right? If someone constantly like, "Oh, interesting." And they're always holding their brows like that, for them that is a normal facial expression. We're going to learn about that in the base lining area. About how that would be your base line. Okay, so that is how you contemplate. That is how you think. My facial punctuator is surprise. So I typically will, "Oh, yes, very interesting." which is actually just the way I process. I tend to show surprise on my face. That is my facial punctuator, I'm not permanently surprised. So everyone has a different one. What's interesting is, you can typically tell what predominant emotion someone feels by their wrinkle patterns on their face. That is a very deep discussion but there are some beautiful pictures that were just posted of soldiers before, during and after the Iraq war. And their wrinkle patterns are totally different. You can see the emotions they felt in those times because they actually got ingrained on their face. So I can usually tell by looking at someone if they feel a lot of sadness because they have very very pronounced sadness wrinkles. I can usually tell if someone is had a very happy life 'cause they have wonderful smile lines. So it really does become embedded on our face. That is a totally different issues, the wrinkle maps, but it's very exciting, and the basis is here in micro expressions. I love that this is fear because to me that would be surprise. Because actually a friend of mine last night, bought me this ghastly green smoothie looking thing and I think that's what I did. And he said, "Oh, don't you like it?" And I thought about giving it away already. You did disgust, you were probably like, "Oh, yeah." No, I think I did that but to me that was surprise but now I'm recognizing maybe that was fear. Yeah I didn't want to drink it, Exactly. Exactly, that surprise and fear differentiation is so important. They are so closely aligned. Alright, so I have a little tip for you here. Let's say your in a meeting and your client is making a face that you do not recognize. They are doing something and your like, "I don't remember this, I don't remember all seven of the micro expressions." Or, "What are they doing?" What you can do is you can actually mimic the facial expression and tap into what you feel. I do this all the time and I do this with friends and family as well. If they are showing an expression on their face that I don't quite get. It doesn't fit into the seven. Maybe I didn't remember. I will make it and then tap into, oh I'm feeling aggravated. Or oh I'm like I'm really like this person is like getting geared up for something. Our bodies do work that way. Remember the facial feed back hypothesis. The facial feedback hypothesis says that not only do our emotions make us our facial expressions but our facial expressions also cause us to have emotions. So because of empathy when we mirror someone we also begin to feel it. So that can also work during a client session is if your really not getting what they're saying to you, you can try doing that and that can help you tap into what they're talking about, what they're feeling. So the other question that I get for people who do a lot of phone calls, remember I always encourage you to do Skype, video chat, and Google Hangout. Video helps you do your job so much better. But if you have to do the phone. The question is can you hear facial expressions? And a fascinating study said that yes in fact you can hear facial expressions that our voice tone and our voice tension, the tension in our vocal chords does actually change with our emotions. In fact the next wave of lie detection is going to be in vocal analysis. They've already started doing this. They've built a away to test the vocal tension in our vocal chords to see the emotions behind someone's words and they're getting very advanced. That's my, I'm so excited for that, to come out as sort of the next polygraph and that will be all based on the voice tone. So you can actually hear facial expressions. And they found that people could identify by voice tone alone, over 16 different types of smiles. People on the phone could hear, over excited smile, contemptuous smile, happy, they could hear actually different kinds of smiles depending on the smile that someone was making. So we can also hear this. Now this is a much much harder science. Its much deeper to learn. I only very briefly talk about it in this course 'cause it would probably take a week to do. But I did want to mention it for my audio learners. That if your on the phone, your very attune and you think, "Gosh, I feel like I can hear that she's angry." Follow your gut. You are right with that gut instinct. So for audio people who have that really fine ear, a musicians. You are right when you hear those things. That's fascinating that you bring that up 'cause MP has just asked the question, she's saying, "Are emotions generated from the brain or the body?" Because they've recently heard it's the intuition in the mind but she always felt it was her gut. It's so hard, it's so hard to differentiate. Is it the mind or the gut? They are very very closely tied, right? And I think that your intuition is the best part of body language. In fact, most people, have an intuition but they ignore it. So they'll meet with someone and they'll be like, "Ugh, I just didn't feel good about that person. No, no, it's fine. Their qualifications were good." and they ignore their gut. So I'm hoping that over the next few days, by talking about this, I'm teaching you to listen to your gut. I'm teaching you how to listen and go "Oh, I did see anger." That's why it rubbed me the wrong way. I can teach you to listen to that. Interesting little story about smiling and hearing things, my very first job in college, I went to Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. My very fist job was a telemarketer for their alumni fund. And it was a great job, it was horrible job, but it was a great job, because very first thing, they put you on the phones and they make you ask for money. It is horrible. If you ever work as a telemarketer, it is horrible. But it was really great experience 'cause I had to bond to people on the phone. And one of the things they made us do, is they actually put mirrors at our desk and they said watch your face while your pitching. If your afraid, as you pitch, that shakiness, that fear comes right through your voice and people are going to feel much more confident saying, "No, thanks." Or hanging up. Or if your angry and frustrated because people aren't picking up, they hear that anger, frustration, and impatience and they're much less likely to donate. So if your on the phone a lot, I actually do recommend keeping a little mirror at your desk and watching your own facial expressions while your on the phone. First of all, it's a fascinating learning experience. It's amazing what we look like when we're talking to people. You'll be surprised what face your making and then you can start to hear your own voice. What kind of face you make when your doing certain things. So that's a little side tip for you, if you can put a mirror at your desk if your doing a lot of phone stuff. That will help you be more persuasive on your calls. Also, talking about micro expressions. So this is amazing. M.I.T came out with a program, yes, a real program, it is a program for the socially awkward. And what they have done, is created a software, this is real, this is absolutely real. They have come out with a software, where they have someone speaking to a student and the person on the screen makes positive facial expressions and then mirrors the facial expressions of the student they're talking with. So it's like a virtual coach or a virtual therapist. There are videos of this on my website that I have, you can watch them do these sample sessions. So, if you have a little bit of trouble reading facial expressions or your not a very visual learner, another way you can do these, you can actually use their program to see what kind of facial expressions your making and how they work with this virtual coach. I just love this program, I can't believe, of course M.I.T. students came up with a facial program for socially awkward. They're also coming out with apps, there's a start up in Portland where I'm from. They're developing apps for children who fall in the Asperger's or autism spectrum. So children and adults who are on the Asperger's Autism spectrum, have a much harder time reading facial expressions. That part of their brain has a hard time comprehending. So what they've done is this start up has created an app to help to not only learn the facial expressions of others but how I had you take pictures of yourself, they also encourage them to take pictures of themselves, so they know what they look like to others. So it's a very interesting aspect of facial learning. I'm hoping that this work will also go into schools for all kids. That they can all start learning facial expressions in their curriculum. I was talking to a teacher and he said that what he does in the classroom, he has a classroom where he has a lot of children who fall in the Asperger's autism scale and he says that what happens is, kids will get into a fight, so one kid will, you know, push the other kid or make fun of the other kid and they can't tell that it's escalating quickly. And so what he says is, he gets down on their level, which is a great body language thing, and he says, "Look at her face. Does it look like she likes what you just did? Look at her face." And telling kids to look at the other person's face and say, "Do they look like they like what your doing?" Is actually a great way to get kids to think about their own actions and the repercussions for their actions. So there's a whole bunch of interesting things when we're talking about facial expressions and how they work with kids and how we can learn how to change our actions based on the facial expressions that we're seeing. Hopefully we can start that younger and younger. That's one of my main major goals.

Class Description

How strong is your first impression? In this course, body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards explains how to use non-verbal communication to become the most memorable person in any room.

Vanessa will show you how to:

  • Read people by gauging their visual cues
  • Use body language to your advantage in meetings
  • How to tell if people are lying.
  • Voice modulation so you can impress clients in phone conversations
  • "Statement Analysis" to help you write powerful emails, website copy, and business cards 
This Power of Body Language course will positively affect every part of your professional life.  By the end of the course, you'll be able to identify exactly what impression your verbal and nonverbal language is giving, and how to increase it.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Baseline Coding System Chart

Lying Red Flags

Positive Trait List

The Nonverbal Elevator Pitch

Laws of Body Language Answer Key

The Nonverbal Sales Pitch

Trivia Answer Key

Citation List

Elevator PItch Clinic

Laws of Body Language Worksheet

Self Diagnosis Chart


Body Language - Trivia

The Microexpression Chart

30 Day Action Plan.pdf

Action Steps and Homework


Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


R. P. Getz

I loved this course! I've learned so much and Vanessa did a terrific job making it easy and fun. I loved learning that by paying more attention to body language, I'm becoming a better listener (and picking up on stuff I never caught before). ;) I recommend the class highly to anyone and everyone as all can benefit from being more aware of others and yourself!! My hard earned education $$ well spent here. :) Cheers to Vanessa Van Edwards and Creative Live!


This was an absolutely fantastic course, it would be a huge understatement to say this course was worth the money. Vanessa provided tremendously accessible, highly actionable training useful for both social and professional environments. I couldn't recommend this course highly enough, and am heading now to purchase her next one! Thanks so much Vanessa and Creative Live, this is the course I've been hoping to find for years.

susan kinnel

I just found myself applauding in my bedroom as this program was wrapped up, Vanessa is fabulous! This was money well spent, loved every moment of it! I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the information, and soon felt blown away by how many micro expressions I could spot during the clips she showed. I was so impressed with how easy it was to pick this info up due to Vanessa's enthusiastic delivery. YAY vanessa!