Friday, February 13, 2009

Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Welcomes the Always Informative Margie Lawson


What’s Your Body Language IQ?
By Margie Lawson

Margie Lawson—psychologist, presenter, and writer—is an expert on body language. A former college professor, she taught psychology and communication courses at the post-graduate level. Margie teaches on-line courses and presents full-day master classes across the U.S., in Canada, and in Australia and New Zealand.

Want to WIN a Lecture Packet?

For every 25 people who post a comment today, I'll draw a name for a Lecture Packet giveaway, a $20 value. Winners may choose a Lecture Packet from one of my on-line courses:

1. Empowering Characters' Emotion, March 2 - 30

2. Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices, and More, May 1 - 30
4. Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist, May 31 - June 13
5. Powering Up Body Language in Real Life: Projecting a Professional Persona When Pitching and Presenting, June 14 – June 27

6. Part 1: Digging Deep into the EDITS System, October 4 – 17

7. Part 2: Digging Deep into the EDITS System, October 18 - 31
8. Defeat Self-Defeating Behaviors, January, 2010

THANK YOU to Debbie Kaufman and all the SWEET & HOT Petit Fours and Hot Tamales for inviting me to join you all today. Ready to dive in?

What’s Your Body Language IQ?
By Margie Lawson

Writers need to become experts on body language. I developed Empowering Characters’ Emotions several years ago to teach writers how to write the full range of body language and write it fresh. In my new course, Writing Body Language and Dialogue Cues Like a Psychologist, we’ll go deeper.

Let’s start with a True/False quiz that I created. How well do you read body language?

1. Ninety-three percent of communication is nonverbal. T F
2. If people say the right words, it doesn’t matter how they say them. T F
3. Some people wait a few seconds before showing their nonverbal response. T F
4. Body language can only be interpreted one way. T F
5. People unconsciously mirror nonverbal behavior of others. T F
6. If the words and body language contradict each other, the listener believes the body language. T F
7. Facial expressions convey 85% of the nonverbal message. T F
8. People can cover up their emotions by keeping their face blank. T F
9. Lips carry more nonverbal messages than eyes. T F
10. When anxious, people touch their face more often. T F

STOP!

Did you take the quiz?

If not – TAKE THE QUIZ NOW!

Ready for the answers?

1. Ninety-three percent of communication is nonverbal. T F

TRUE – It’s a monstrous percentage -- which is why people should monitor their nonverbals. Let’s look at the number one phobia in the U.S. – public speaking.

If you’re nervous you may display a cluster of anxiety flags, e.g., rolling in lips, tightening mouth, evasive eye contact, halting gait, soft voice, modulated voice tones. If your anxiety escalates, your nonverbals become more pronounced: e.g., collapsed chest, shoulders forward, respiration rapid and shallow, pupils dilated, voice pitched high, face tight.

Project more confident body language, and you’ll feel more confident. You’ll teach yourself to extinguish some of these anxiety flags. People will react positively to the new, confident you. Pavlov’s conditioning is a powerful reinforcing agent. Over time, you won’t have to pretend to be confident . You will be confident.

2. If people say the right words, it doesn’t matter how they say them. T F

FALSE -- An easy one. Vocal cues carry qualifying messages that support, tweak, or discount the words. Americans are pros at sarcasm. Watch your voice inflection, rate of speech, volume, and tone. Be sure your vocal cues support your message – unless you’re telling a joke.

3. Some people wait a few seconds before showing their nonverbal response. T F

FALSE -- Nonverbal communication is continuous. It’s on-going. It never stops.

4. Body language can only be interpreted one way. T F

FALSE -- An easy answer, with complex levels of application. Cognitively, people know there are multiple interpretations. Yet, people interpret nonverbals one way at an unconscious level and act on those feelings.

Let’s imagine a wife asks her husband to accompany her to visit her mother, and in the next half-second his gaze shifts away and back, he sighs, and his mouth tightens.

The wife reads his nonverbals, assumes her husband doesn’t want to go, and reacts before he can say anything. She says, “Forget it. I’ll go without you.” Her tone is sharp enough to cut a diamond. Vocal cue and hyperbole!

Her nonverbals -- posture stiffening, eyes flashing, harsh vocal cues -- surprise her husband. He stares at her, his mouth open (confused) or closed tight (agitated).

She turns, grabs the keys, and leaves, punctuating her anger by slamming the door.

The husband stands there wondering what the heck happened. Her question, asking him to go with her, triggered a thought. He recalled the car had a vibration the last time he drove it and he wondered if the tires needed to be balanced. His split-second nonverbal responses – shifting gaze, a sigh, and his mouth tightening – reflected his body responding to his thoughts about the tires.

WHOOPS!

The wife thought his nonverbals communicated that he didn’t want to go
with her to visit her mother. She reacted with anger.

He has no idea why she got angry and left. He probably thinks she’s PMS’y. ;-)))

Situations like that play out too frequently with couples, friends, and coworkers.

People misinterpret nuances of body language and take action. Misreading the
escalating stimulus/response patterns of body language, builds conflict.

Pausing, realizing that body language can be interpreted in a gazillion ways, and getting clarification, can result in fewer slammed doors and more smiles.

5. People unconsciously mirror nonverbal behavior of others. T F

TRUE – and so fun! When you’re in a restaurant, watch couples and friends who like each other. They both lean forward seemingly at the same time. One leads by a nanosecond. They may reach for their beverages and drink at the same time. They mirror posture, gestures, facial expressions, voice patterns. Their body language looks choreographed.

6. If the words and body language contradict each other, the listener believes the body language. T F

TRUE -- When the words are incongruent with the body language and/or how the dialogue is delivered – people always believe the nonverbals. :-)))

7. Facial expressions convey 85% of the nonverbal message. T F

FALSE – Facial expressions are key, but vocal cues, posture, movements, spatial relationships, all contribute to the nonverbal message. Depending on the research, faces carry 30 to 50% of the nonverbal message.

8. People can cover up their emotions by keeping their face blank. T F

FALSE -- Faces are never blank. Lips twitch. Nostrils flare. Eyes narrow or widen almost imperceptibly. Mouths barely open or barely tighten. Pupils dilate. Tips of tongues show when people moisten lips. To a kinesics specialist, these are all diagnostic indicators. To a writer, these are cues to write what I call flicker-face emotions.

9. Lips carry more nonverbal messages than eyes. T F

TRUE – The lips do more. Watch people’s mouths. You’ll have more insight into their reactions.

10. When anxious, people touch their face more often. T F

TRUE – Self-Touch behaviors increase when people are anxious. They touch their face (cheek, eyebrow, lips, nose, ear), or near their face (throat, jaw, back of neck, behind ear, hair), or hands and arms.

Self-touch behaviors accelerate when anxiety is high. They are body language polygraphs. When people are in a job interview, when suspects are interrogated, when a guy proposes to his gal, self-touch behaviors significantly increase. The person who’s anxious may touch their face, throat, hand, or arm every 10 to 20 seconds, sometimes every couple of seconds, unaware of their self-touch behavior.

HOW DID YOU SCORE? Did you make a 100? 90? 80?

Chime in about anything related to body language – in your real world, or in your writing world.

I’ll respond throughout the day and this evening. Check back, I’ll be here.

Body language is fascinating. For those of you who are writers, you get to monitor and moderate your body language when you’re pitching to agents and editors, interacting with booksellers, introducing a speaker, being on a panel, presenting a workshop, and doing a book signing.

PLUS – When you’re capturing nonverbal communication on the page, you get to explore the full range of body language, and challenge yourself to write it fresh. Look at the power you have with body language. You can use body language to complicate scenes and drive plot points. :-)))

Post a comment: YOU COULD WIN A LECTURE PACKET!

Lectures from each of my on-line courses are offered as Lecture Packets through Paypal from my web site. For more information on my courses, lecture packets, master classes, and Immersion Master Class, visit my web site: http://www.margielawson.com/ .

The WINNERS will be drawn at 9PM tonight – and I’ll post the winners on the blog.

Thank you for joining us today!

All smiles…………….Margie

103 comments:

Drue Allen said...

Fun stuff, as usual, Margie. It SEEMS that we get BETTER with body language - - naturally. I know the teenagers I have the pleasure of teaaching during my day job are CLUELESS as to their body language, even more clueless than the husband and wife you describe. It's actually something we work on in class. : ) All good fodder for writing. Thanks for reminding me.

Hugs,
Vannetta
w/a Drue Allen
http://www.drueallen.com/

Sandy Elzie said...

Hi Margie,

First of all, it's good to have you as our guest...again (loved you at M&M). Thenk you for taking time from your busy schedule.

Well, I scored 80%. I missed #7 about the Facial Expressions...therefore, I missed #8 about covering emotions with a blank face. No wonder some people tell me they can read me like a book!

The exciting thing is that I'm currently writing a story and I'm at a part where they're having a huge disagreement. Your post today has already got my head reeling about how I'm going to pump up the emotions with the non-verbal. THANK YOU!!

Thanks again,

Sandy

Lisa Miller said...

Margie, You have the greatest info that fires my writer imagination!! Body language is such a large part of our lives that weaving it into our stories is imperative.
Pat on the back--I got 90%. The %question tripped me up. Number challenged as always.
I have to be most aware in my classroom when my body language exposes my frustration or irritation with a room full of teens. Noting their body language tells me so much more than their words.
Love that Hat girl.

Thanks for keeping us mindful of the FULL range of human behavior.

Walt Mussell said...

Margie,

Got a 90%, but I know I was just guessing well. Can't wait for your class in March. My recently finished rough draft needs you.

Tammy Schubert said...

Margie, thank you for stopping by today. You always have great ideas that spark creativity.

I had to laugh at the point you made about people mirroring body language. The first time I heard it from you, I started paying attention to it in my interactions with people. You are so right. I noticed that they were either mirroring me or I was doing it to them. At one point, I got so self-conscious that I was afraid my friends would think I was mocking them. It is fun to watch other people and incorporate their body language into my characters.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hi Margie,
We're so excited to have you here today! (Guess in comments you'll have to take my word for it since no body language showing :).
I love this topic. I recently started watching two TV shows: Lie to Me and The Mentalist because I like what they teach me about body language and facial cues. But, they only allow me to pick up a limited amount of information which I can only hope is accurate. I think I'm going to have to get the lecture packet from you so I can get the whole picture!

Great post, Margie. Thanks again.

Colleen Shine Phillips said...

Hi, Margie, Colleen here.
I got 80%. What surprised me is that facial expressions don't win as far as body language and that lips project more than eyes.....but it makes total sense when I read your explanation.
Now my question is the best way to project that in my writing without it being stilted. AND to know exactly what he or she is projecting when "She pressed her lips together."
Thanks for letting us know about this blog.
Colleen Shine Phillips

Devon Gray said...

Oh, yay! You have a new packet. As you know, I have studied your previous lecture packets and they have made a huge difference in my writing. I've started studying the body language of others and it is absolutely fascinating. I've also started studying the body language of my husband and it si absolutely frustrating...LOL. Thanks for the great information.

Devon

Anna Steffl said...

Thanks for all the great info. They bring a scene and characters to life.

It really helps to know all these little non-verbal clues when you have a character that mentally suppresses what she feels or won't/ can't speak it.

Sally Kilpatrick said...

This post was fascinating. I especially like the part about how we mirror each others' nonverbal communication and that the mouth is more expressive than the eyes. As writers we tend to give a lot of attention to those eyes, don't we?

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for all of this wonderful food for thought!

Dianna Love said...

Margie -

Great post and nice surprise to find you here today. I love how you share information in a way that relates so easily to writing. I'm really looking forward to your Immersion Master Class in April.

Arkansas Cyndi said...

Great post with terrific info, but then Margie's lecture are always top notch.

I did pretty good on the quiz. I missed one. (I thought 93% in #1 was too high!)

One of the tricks to job interviews is to mimic the body language of the interviewer (subtly of course).

and I loved the example of wife and husband. I am SO GUILTY of this! :)

Molly said...

Got a 90%. I know about mirroring because, as kids, we rode the subways in New York and amused ourselves by getting people to yawn (easy) or to look up or look at someone or even move just by what we did and how we did it. We'd act out little scenarios just to see what would happen.

Of course, this was before I-pods. Maybe we'd have been better behaved if we were more distracted.

Certainly, on the street, body language is everything.

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Drue / Vannetta --

You're so right! A high percentage of teens are clueless re/ nuanced body language like reactive facial expressions.

Smart teacher -- to focus on body language in class!

Great to see you here!

All smiles.........Margie

Edie said...

Hi Margie! Fun test. I got 1 wrong, nr. 7. And I'm guilty of misreading my husband.

I already signed up for your body language class in late May, and I'm looking forward to it. I love this stuff!

Margie Lawson said...

Sandy --

Thanks again for coordinating everything so perfectly for me at the Moonlight & Magnolias conference. I loved the entire weekend--the writers, the workshops, the full conference, the energy, and the camaraderie!

KUDOS to you for your Oct. 2009 release, THE DIPLOMATIC TUTOR. It sounds like a fabulous read. :-))

Glad you'll be pumping up your character's nonverbals. The biggest challenge is writing body language fresh.

Big hugs..........Margie

Ginger D. said...

Hi Margie!

I scored a 90% on the quiz--I had no idea that lips displayed more cues than eyes!

Color me guilty in the wife/husband scenario-LOL!

Fascinating information!

Ginger Duran

Margie Lawson said...

Hey Lisa!

Can't wait to meet you in September! Be prepared for three intense days of deep editing in my Immersion Master Class. ;-))

You and Vannetta know teens and their body language. Have fun capturing it on the page!

All smiles............Margie

Jen McAndrews said...

oh, what a timely post for me, Margie! I'll be totally indiscrete here and share an episode from my real life : )
The other day I accompanied my daughter to her meeting with her therapist (as we, the parents, are required to do periodically). I'd just had an argument with my daughter so was tense to begin with. But for a solid 30 minutes, the therapist sat slouched in her chair, legs outstretched, hands folded loosely over her stomach. There's a teeny voice in my brain telling me 'well, that's just a comfortable posture for her'. But the tense, fresh-from-a-fight mom in me screamed that her posture was the ultimate in uncaring and disinterested. I couldn't shake the feeling that we were all wasting our time and boring the therapist!
I have to really start paying attention to these things since my next writing project is going to rely heavily on them. Thanks for the reminder that my every day life is rich with nonverbal cues and misunderstandings I can use on the page to further the confusion over the MC's motives : )
~Jen McA

Margie Lawson said...

Walt --

Great to know I'll get to see you in Empowering Characters' Emotions in March. Take your vitamins and eat your Wheaties--it's a month-long power-packed learning curve. :-)

All smiles............Margie

Sir John said...

Hi: We meet at M & M conference. I hope you remember the guy in the white suit.
Since I was in sales for a long time I made a 100. Good for me. I went looking for a character in my current work in progress and found her in an outside bar on the beach in Clearwater, Fla. I had my trusty notebook with me and it's amazing how in the course of thirty minutes of observing her she gave me enough non-verbals messages to write a book.
I can only imagine what it would be like to have you with me to study people around me.
you do a great job and I look forward to seeing you again. BTW I'm on twitter now at http://twitter.com/Sirjohn_writer

Johnny ( Sir John) Ray

Joanie said...

Margie, you always have such wonderful information! I learn something every time I read one of your posts. Thank you so much!

JMRhine

Margie Lawson said...

Tammy --

Isn't it fascinating when you analyze body language? Mirroring looks choreographed--and when you're one side of that mirror, it can become unnerving or you can turn it into research. ;-)

I bet you are enjoying applying what you've learned!

All smiles.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Debbie --

THANK YOU for inviting me!

I've watched LIE TO ME once, and hope to catch it again. We watch one to two shows a week. I haven't seen the MENTALIST yet.

LIE TO ME provided a few hints and insights into decoding micro-body language cues. I'll dig deep into micro-cues in my May 31st on-line course: WRITING BODY LANGUAGE AND DIALOGUE CUES LIKE A PSYCHOLOGIST.

Oh -- If any groups are interested in booking a full day Master Class on body language--let me know!

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Colleen-from-Chile!

Most people don't realize the lips convey more messages. Now -- you know.

I teach writers how to write the full range of body language and dialogue cues in Empowering Characters' Emotions -- and how to write them fresh.

I've had the best time adding tons of new examples, and some new Teaching Points to my ECE and Deep Editing courses. The examples of fresh writing are strong creativity triggers. :-)

Great to see you again!

All smiles........Margie

Lisa Hendrix said...

Great, informative post. I know I've changed my experience of certain situations by changing my body language. Even something as simple as the "Whistle a Happy Tune" advice to 'Hold your head erect' and 'Make believe you're brave' can make a huge difference.

And as I writer, I'm constantly using body language to reveal my character's real reaction to things.

But I clearly have much, much more to learn, so I hope I win one of your packets!

Margie Lawson said...

Devon --

I share my how-to-enhance-writing-craft maps. You must have worked hard to apply what you learned. Good for you!

Keep studying your husband's body language. Over time, you'll learn how to read him better -- and use that information to keep your relationship going strong. :-))

Hugs...........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Anna --

You nailed it!

Knowing body language conveys 93% of our communication message--writers realize they need more body language on their pages to add credibility and power.

That's what I'm all about. Teaching writers how to add psychological power to every page and create a page-turning read.

All smiles..........Margie

eaflagg said...

What fascinating information! As a reader, it is interesting to better understand the craft and care writers use in their work. As a human, it is interesting to think how your observations might impact my personal and professional life. Numbers 7 and 8 threw me. Great food for thought.

Nancy said...

Margie, it's always a pleasure to see you! Your posts convey great info, and incredible vibrancy, too!

I'm eager to take your Body Language and Dialogue Cues course, and eventually do the immersion class. Talk about fun!

Happy TGIF!

Light,
Nancy

Margie Lawson said...

Sally --

I had so much fun with you at M & M! Thanks for being the data projector expert and sharing your pizzazz-powered personality. ;-))

Have fun deciding when, where, and how to show mirroring in your WIP. Sometimes, keeping it simple works best. He reaches for X, she reaches for X.

I'm looking forward to connecting with you again!

All smiles..........Margie

stefwithnf said...

Hi Margie!
Great article. I scored an 80%. #7 & #9 tripped me up.

See you in class in March!

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Dianna!

Can't wait to meet you in April. We'll have the best dig-deep-and-work-hard time in the IMMERSION class.

I know you'll have an amazing fast-paced visit to Australia!

You'll love all the Aussie authors. They're as zany as we are. ;-))

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Arkansas Cyndi -

Great to see you again!

So smart to monitor and moderate your body lanugage in a job interview. Slightly cross-channeled mirroring works well. They shift to cross their legs. You shift a nanosecond later and reposition in your chair, but don't cross your legs then. Too obvious.

AND -- You ask yourself: What triggered their shift? If they changed topics, it's good. Those two shifts (cognitive and physical) are congruent and do not connote anything significant.

If they shifted and stayed on the same topic -- they may need more clarity on what you said right before the shift.

Read their facial expressions, specifically their mouth.

Notice any flicker-face emotions? You may not know what emotions flashed. Knowing they had a series of flicker-face emotions is what's important. They're uncomfortable about something.

Pay close attention to their speech cues, speech patterns, additional shifts, and self-touch agitation cues.

This is a great time for you to reach for you coffee or water. Take a sip -- and buy a few more seconds to think. What can you say to clarify a point -- in a casual way?

If they mirror you, and take a sip at the same time -- YAY! They're comfortable with you as a person -- but may still need some clarity.

NOTE: If they are 7, 8, or 9 months pregnant -- disregard their shifts, flicker-face emotions, and most other body language cues!

CYNDI -- I know you didn't ask for this info. My brain shot down this path and I decided to share. ;-))

I'm looking forward to seeing you again sometime!

Hugs............Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Molly --

Loved reading about your body language 'research' on the subways. ;-)))

Too fun!

Thanks for sharing your teen creativity!

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello American Title V Finalist Edie!

Holding your breath until Feb. 16th? I can't wait to see DEAD PEOPLE in print. ;-))

Yay! I'll get to see you in another on-line class starting May 31st!

All smiles..........Margie

Liz Lincoln said...

Margie!

As always, no matter how many posts of yours I read, I learn something new. I got 90% on this. Got #7 wrong. And I think I learned the correct answer to at least 6 or 7 of the others from taking your workshops.

Liz

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Everyone!

Do any of you suffer from triskaidekaphobia?

It's a fear of the number thirteen. When the 13th day of the month falls on Friday, considered an unlucky day since the earlier 1900's, triskaidekaphobiacs are prone to more anxiety.

It's also known as friggatriskaidekaphobia.

Any word that starts with frigga- captures attention!

I think of Friday-the-13ths as lucky, lucky, lucky. Both my parents were born on a Friday-the-13th, they got married on a Friday-the-13th (just for fun!), and my brother was born on a Friday-the-13th.

My parents said his birthdate wasn't planned. ;-))

ENJOY YOUR DAY!

Time for me to focus on work. I'll drop by again mid-afternoon--and I'll be here this evening too.

Thanks for posting. I'm enjoying your comments and connecting with you all.

All smiles.........Margie

LaDonna said...

Margie, you rock! I took the quiz, and missed the one about mirroring. I had no clue! So, I learned something new early today, and that's always a great day. lol.

Have a good one, and I'm crossing my fingers I win!

Kath Calarco said...

I missed one. Whoa!

I think I learned body language without realizing it - I spent a few years in a former life sitting in Family Court. Everything you described in the quiz, I saw a gazillion times over.

Now if I could only transfer that knowledge to my writing I'd have a best seller, or at least, a half-way decent story. :)

Thanks for sharing this one, Margie. I'm going to start watching myself in the mirror now.

Barbara Rae Robinson said...

I guess I'm too fixated on eyes. Got that one wrong. But 90%! I'm cheating though. I'm in your pal Mary Buckham's class on body language right now. I'll have to take your new class.

Barb

Gretchen said...

Great stuff as usual Margie! I had forgotten about that eyes, lips thing. Guess I need a refresher.

Gretchen Jones

Nina Pierce said...

I got the lip question wrong. 90% - not bad. Very interesting. I'm taking your class next month on emotions and I can't wait.

Nina Pierce said...

I got the lip question wrong. 90% - not bad. Very interesting. I'm taking your class next month on emotions and I can't wait.

Nina Pierce said...

Ooops ... say it again Nina. *blushes* not sure why it posted twice. Does that mean I get two entries? *vbg*

Cher Gorman said...

Hi Margie! (waving madly)

Have a fun time blogging! I did well on the quiz. I missed only two.

Cher

Kathy said...

I only missed two numbers 8 & 9 funny because I got number 7 right lol. I took one of your classes last year and I'm taking again this year. Body language is fascinating. Mirroring is odd to see. I once saw it with my husband and his brother. They had been working together daily and I saw them downt he road and watched and was surprised to see them doing the same things with their hands and thought it was funny to watch them. I only missed 2 on the quiz and if I had thought longer I might have answered differently lol. ANyway one of you packets would be very nice to have.
Kathy Crouch
First Place Winner
Southern Heat Contest- 2008
East Texas Chapter -
Romance Writers of America

Anonymous said...

Great stuff! One of my favorite pastimes while dinning out is people watching. Mirrored behavior is every where you look! Thanks for the fun quiz. And also for the 13 post. Growing up with a family so influnenced by the number must have been fun!

Thanks again Margie

Ann

Shelley Munro said...

This was really interesting and certainly made me think about my current WIP. I do use body language but I tend to use the same actions. I need to observe people a bit more and use some more original body language!

Anne said...

Hi, Margie!
I loved your quiz. I did well (100%). My question concerns a set of 7 year old twins in my WIP. The quiet one is an observer, who reads body language well, and the other girl is the “just do it” personality. I want to subtly use this dynamic throughout the novel, but avoid turning them into one dimensional characters. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep it fresh for the reader?
I’ m looking forward to your May class!
Thanks! Anne Parent

Libby said...

Margie, what terrific information. Thanks for dropping by here to teach us!

Libby (a Kaizenwriter)

Theresa Meyers said...

Great insights, as always, Margie!

I did well on the quiz, but only because I have to teach people how to manage their nonverbal communication during media interviews.

The idea that teenagers aren't aware of their cues is a brilliant reminder. I need to make sure my characters are staying...well, in character! Just because I know what a body cue is, doesn't mean they would!

Thanks again for a great post!

Lucinda Gerlitz said...

Hi Margie, thanks for the lesson!

Question: Can people learn to have body language that doesn't go with their emotion? For example, I have a relative who ALWAYS looks angry, even when he's not, and even after all these years, nobody in the family can ever tell when he is kidding and when he isn't. Is there a cue that we can look for?

Thanks,
Lucinda
gerlitz@qwest.net

PS: I'm having trouble with the preview feature, so if this posts more than once I apologize

Linsey Lanier said...

Margie,

We are thrilled to have you today as a "Guest Chef" on PFHT!

I only missed one question, but then I have your Empowering Characters' Emotion lecture packet. (Hoping to win another one today!)

I'm an INFP, so I barely notice a person is in front of me, let alone their body language. Your courses have helped me immensely with that and have made my writing much stronger. Though it was a rejection, I got my first "I like your voice and style" comment from an agent after applying your advice.

Thanks for your workshops!

Linsey

Libby McKinmer said...

Cool quiz -- some I knew, and some were very interesting to find out. I'm signed up for the Empowering Characters' Emotions course and if this is a taste...can hardly wait.

Libby McKinmer
Romance with an edge
www.libbymckinmer.com
libby@libbymckinmer.com

Cari Quinn said...

Margie, wonderful post! I had the privilege of attending your day long workshop on Empowering Characters' Emotion for the CNYRW last March, and still find myself referring to my notes. Thanks so much for the refresher! :)

Georgie L said...

HI Margie!

Georgie here!

That was interesting, and fun.

I got some of the answers right, but a few things stood out for me -- that body language can mean so many different things, and the person is not going to tell you straight off where they are coming from. Even if you ask, they could get defensive -- hmm, a tricky little thing to learn for a writer on a Saturday, and, of course it's already Valentine's day here in Oz.

So.

I wonder what's going to be going on in lots of restaurants around the country -- I hope!!! More fun people watching for writers!!

Thanks Margie, these are little gems!

Cheers,

Georgie

Marilyn Baron said...

Thanks for the great post. I really enjoyed your workshop at Nationals in San Francisco.

I missed two questions, #7 and #9.

Your advice on non verbal cues and body language will be very helpful in the challening task of showing, not telling.

I am going to start implementing your advice right away.

Thanks so much for blogging for us.

Marilyn Baron

Marilyn Baron said...

Ooops. I meant M&M for the workshop.

Marilyn Baron

talia pente said...

I scored a perfect 10! YAY!

I always hear that public speaking is a huge phobia but it's actually one that I have never had. So what does that say about me? Hmmm...

:)

Talia P.

lifepundit said...

My poor husband is a victim of my near-ability to read body language. I have a habit of looking at him and saying, "What's wrong?" because he looks like he's got some kind of problem. And he replies, "Nothing's wrong. I'm just old and ugly."

And it's gotten worse. I asked my daughter the other day, "What's wrong?" because she looked like something was amiss and she said, "Nothing, Mom. I'm just young and ugly."

I guess I need to quit asking people what's wrong other than my asking them what's wrong.

As I said, I can almost read body language. Over-read must be more like it.

Very interesting and potentially useful information. I'll try to apply it to my writing and not my personal life. Thanks!

Anne

Cinthia Hamer said...

OMG, Margie! This is so amazing...I just wish I weren't so happily medicated right now. LOL! I'm going to print it out and save it to read when I'm sober.

Thanks so much for being our guest blogger.

Margie Lawson said...

Ginger --

I bet you're exceptionally talented at reading body language, especially with family members.:-)

The challenge is take the NANOSECOND PAUSE, Stop and Think before responding.

It's tough. But after you start getting the pay-off for assessing the body language and responding to the subtext, not the emotional triggers, you'll be hooked on tuning in to body language.

Gee -- that was a long sentence -- and I don't write literary novels. :-))

OKAY -- I'M BACK FROM A LONG WORK DAY. AND I'M FEELING A LITTLE PUNCHY . . . ALREADY.

HOPE YOU ALL DON'T MIND IF I SHARE MY PUNCHINESS.

NO ALCOHOL INVOLVED!

It's just me when I've been going, going, going, and giving, giving, giving all day. :-))

Ginger -- Thanks for chiming in! It's always so fun to see you.

Hugs.............Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Jen!

Great to see you here!

Thanks for posting -- and being indiscreet. We'll all uphold confidentiality. :-)

Hmm -- The therapist's body language didn't work for me. Given, they could have been striving to appear casual, easy-going, non-threatening.

YET -- They were perceived as tired, low energy, disinterested, bored . . . they failed body language.

And -- you said they maintained the same position for 30 minutes?

No leaning forward to connect with you or your daughter when you said something they wanted to pursue?

No PACING body language?

That's the professional word for mirroring. ;-))

Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope either the therapist changes her ways, or you change therapists!

Big hugs..........Margie

Ana Aragón said...

Hi, Margie,

Piping in here after a wonderful afternoon of college baseball! (Of course, we won!)

You are the best at stirring up creative juices...after reading this post, I'm dying to get back to the WIP and apply some of this knowledge.

Thanks for being here with us...!

Ana Aragón

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Sir John!

I do remember meeting you at the M & M conference. In your white suit, you reminded me of Tom Wolfe. ;-))

Glad you enjoyed the quiz -- and acing it. Sales professionals learn to be experts at reading body language. Capturing it on the page in fresh ways, learning how to use it as a stimulus and repsonse, making it scene-themed, etc. -- those are additional challenges!

I'm not a twitter-er.

Thanks for dropping by!

Best..........Margie
www.MargieLawson.com

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Margie,

Great post. I LOVE the information you gave here. I can't wait to take one of your workshops and from what everyone is saying in the comments, those lecture packets are HOT!!!

Thanks for stopping by PFandHT. You are definitely one HOT TAMALE...

Tami Brothers

Margie Lawson said...

Joanie --

Thank you for stopping by. Glad you always learn something from my posts.

I have a learning opportunity for writers on the last Wednesday of every month. It's my Ask a How-to Author Interview series, offered on www.fivescribes.blogspot.com. On Feb. 25th, I'm interviewing Hallie Ephron. And -- you have a chance to win a lecture packet from me, and a signed how-to book from the featured author.

Thanks again for chiming in!

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Lisa --

Ah - I like your positive self-talk--paired with positive body language. Smart!

For the drawing -- I put names on strips of paper, shake them around in a basket, and draw names. It makes me happy. ;-)))

If you don't win tonight, read my response to Joanie (above) and drop by the Five Scribes blog on Feb. 25th. You may be a winner on the 25th! Plus - you'd get to learn about Hallie Ephron, Nora Ephron's sister.

All smiles...........Margie

Great, informative post. I know I've changed my experience of certain situations by changing my body language. Even something as simple as the "Whistle a Happy Tune" advice to 'Hold your head erect' and 'Make believe you're brave' can make a huge difference.

And as I writer, I'm constantly using body language to reveal my character's real reaction to things.

But I clearly have much, much more to learn, so I hope I win one of your packets!

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Reader -- EAFlagg --

Thanks for being here! Writers do work hard to get a zillion things right. Maybe that's why we're a little zany. Or a lot zany. :-))

Glad you learned something from the quiz!

All smiles..........Margie
www.MargieLawson.com

Margie Lawson said...

Nancy --

Hello! Are you counting the days until book two -- LAST VAMPIRE STANDING is released?

I'm just as excited as you are!

Yay! I'll get to see you on-line on May 31st -- in my Body Language and Dialogue Cues course. I've had the best time loading that course with gems. ;-)

Thanks for stopping by. I always enjoy seeing you.

AND--maybe one of the Immersion Master Class sessions I offer in 2010 will fit your schedule. I offered a second session Sept. 21, 22, 23 -- and I know you have a conflict then too.

We'll shoot for immersing you in my Immersion class in 2010. ;-)

Hugs...........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hey Stef!

By the time you finish my March class, you'll be able to get 100% on any body language quiz. ;-)

Looking forward to seeing you in ECE!

Hugs..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Newlywed Liz!

You're soooo good to me. You and Edie Ramer were so wonderful the whole weekend when I presented at Wis RWA. :-)

Hope to see you at RWA National!

Hugs..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

LaDonna --

I just toured your web site again. So pretty and I'm guessing, so you! I thought I remembered you're from Tennessee! But -- I'm not sure if you're a few hours from Richmond, VA, or a ten hour drive.

I'm presenting in Richmond on April 11th. Just thought I'd see if you wanted to catch a full day Master Class of Deep Editing. :-)

If you'd like specifics, please e-mail me: Margie@MargieLawson.com.

Thanks! It would be so fun if it worked out. Bring a bunch of your writing friends!

Oh -- I saw you have Tracey O'Hara on your friends list. I got to meet Tracey in Australia. I met her the day she got offered her contract! Tracey is such a fun, smart, articulate, and giving person. Glad you know her too!

Hugs.........Margie

Penny Rader said...

I got 90% of the answers right. I missed #7.

I'd love to win one of your lecture packets.

And I'm delighted to see LIE TO ME mentioned. I love that show! Interesting characters. Lots to learn--I'm glad they show reactions, etc in slow motion. Since reactions happen so quickly, I probably miss a lot of cues in real life.

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Kath -

Sounds like you observed, analyzed, and assimilated some rich slices of body language in family court, when emotions ran high and raw.

You're right. The challenge is in capturing body language on the page and making it fresh and compelling.

That's one of my specialties. :-)

Thanks for posting!

All smiles..........Margie
www.MargieLawson.com

Margie Lawson said...

Barb --

Great to see you again!

A lot of people miss the lips/eyes question. NOW you know. Watch people's mouths when they're listening to you, thinking, on the phone. Incredibly informative!

All smiles..........Margie

I guess I'm too fixated on eyes. Got that one wrong. But 90%! I'm cheating though. I'm in your pal Mary Buckham's class on body language right now. I'll have to take your new class.

Barb

Margie Lawson said...

Hey Gretchen!

So fun to connect with you again. ;))

I hope you are writing, writing, writing -- and enjoying life!

Looking forward to connecting again.

Hugs..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Nina --

90% is great!

Yay! I'll get to see you in ECE in March. Hmm - Maybe you'll treat yourself to a set of retractable highlighters. Excellent plan!

Hugs...........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Cher -

Always fabulous to see you!

Thanks for being here. See you in person next week!

Hugs.............Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Kathy Crouch!

Funny about studying your husband's and his brother's body language. Funny -- and useful too. ;-)

I hope you're doing well. Glad I get to see you in another online class!

Big hugs.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Ann --

Mirrored behavior is everywhere! Hope you have one example of it in your WIP.
Yes -- Friday the 13ths are special in my family. Thanks. :-)

All smiles..........Margie
www.MargieLawson.com


Great stuff! One of my favorite pastimes while dinning out is people watching. Mirrored behavior is every where you look! Thanks for the fun quiz. And also for the 13 post. Growing up with a family so influnenced by the number must have been fun!

Thanks again Margie

Ann

Margie Lawson said...

Shelley --

Ah! Sounds like this topic resonated with you. Excellent!

I cover how to write the full range of body language in my Empowering Characters' Emotions course. It's offered on-line in March -- but the registration deadline is Feb. 26th.

If you have questions about the course, please feel free to e-mail me: margie@margielawson.com

Thanks for posting. :-)

Best...........Margie
www.MargieLawson.com

This was really interesting and certainly made me think about my current WIP. I do use body language but I tend to use the same actions. I need to observe people a bit more and use some more original body language!

February 13, 2009 2:42 PM

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Anne!

100%! I'm impressed!

Interesting twins-dynamics question. You're going for the traditional quiet-introspective-sensitive one, reads body language, and the other girl is an impulsive, attention-seeking, just-wants-to-have-fun girl.

Which -- makes sense.

And -- I'd mix up some aspect of their lives so it's not so predictable. Given that they're only age 7, your options are limited. But -- something like having the shy girl have a strength in acting -- or martial arts. Something that may seem out of character -- but it's that she's in character (on stage) or in-the-zone, in the martial arts area, that she can appear outgoing.

Whatever works for your story. ;-)

Thanks for posting!

Yay! I'll see you in DEEP EDITING in May. ;-)

Hugs...........Margie


Hi, Margie!
I loved your quiz. I did well (100%). My question concerns a set of 7 year old twins in my WIP. The quiet one is an observer, who reads body language well, and the other girl is the “just do it” personality. I want to subtly use this dynamic throughout the novel, but avoid turning them into one dimensional characters. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep it fresh for the reader?
I’ m looking forward to your May class!
Thanks! Anne Parent

February 13, 2009 2:49 PM

Margie Lawson said...

Hugs to Kaizenwriter Libby!

Fabulous to see you here! When you have time, I'd love to hear from you and get caught up. ;-))

margie@margielawson.com

Thanks for dropping in!

Hugs..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Theresa --

How fun to see you here!

Glad you picked up the reminder about teens. ;-))

Thanks for posting!

Hugs..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Lucinda -

Good question. Some people have a facial structure that gives them the appearance of being angry. Sometimes it's the mouth that's pulled down or lines around it that emphasize a negative looking expression.

And -- some people may have developed a serious, don't-mess-with-me countenance.

Conversely -- there are people who look like they are smiling 99% of the time, even when they think they are looking neutral. ;-)

Thanks for sharing! Great to see you again.

Hugs.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

KUDOS TO LINSEY!

Loved reading about your rejection! You are getting closer to THE CALL!

Good for you!

Glad the techniques in my ECE class helped.

Hope to see you in another class. I cover my One Sentence Analysis and Five Question Scene Checklist in my Deep Editing class. I teach it in May. ;-))

Hope you celebrated that rejection!

Hugs............Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Libby McK --

Nice to e-meet you! I look forward to connecting in ECE in a couple of weeks!

This is a baby taste. ;-)

Oh -- I recommend treating yourself to retractable highlighters: Pink, Green, Blue, Orange, and Yellow.

You'll use them in ECE for my EDITS System.

We'll cover lots of other material in ECE too. The EDITS System is one component.

Thanks for posting! See you soon.

Hugs..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Libby McK --

Nice to e-meet you! I look forward to connecting in ECE in a couple of weeks!

This is a baby taste. ;-)

Oh -- I recommend treating yourself to retractable highlighters: Pink, Green, Blue, Orange, and Yellow.

You'll use them in ECE for my EDITS System.

We'll cover lots of other material in ECE too. The EDITS System is one component.

Thanks for posting! See you soon.

Hugs..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Cari --

I remember meeting you at my CNYRW master class. Very cool that you are using your notes and handouts as a resource. I had such a great time with all of you -- with Midge and Jen and everyone!

I look forward to seeing you on-line again!

Hugs..........Margie

Cari Quinn said...
Margie, wonderful post! I had the privilege of attending your day long workshop on Empowering Characters' Emotion for the CNYRW last March, and still find myself referring to my notes. Thanks so much for the refresher! :)

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Cari --

I remember meeting you at my CNYRW master class. Very cool that you are using your notes and handouts as a resource. I had such a great time with all of you -- with Midge and Jen and everyone!

I look forward to seeing you on-line again!

Hugs..........Margie

Cari Quinn said...
Margie, wonderful post! I had the privilege of attending your day long workshop on Empowering Characters' Emotion for the CNYRW last March, and still find myself referring to my notes. Thanks so much for the refresher! :)

Emma Sanders said...

What fun! I got #3, #7 and #8 wrong. There's always something to learn about body language. Thanks for your help in teaching this interesting subject.

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Georgie-from-Tasmania!

Your Valentine's Day is most of the way over, and we haven't started ours yet. :-)

Hope you had a fun date night -- and did some body language watching too.

Thanks for chiming in!

Hugs............Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Marilyn --

Thank all the Hot Tamales for hosting me. I appreciate being here.

Glad you enjoyed the taste of body language. ;-))

Hope to see you on-line again sometime!

All smiles........Margie
www.MargieLawson.com

Margie Lawson said...

Talia --

KUDOS TO YOU for your Perfect 10!

You're right -- Public Speaking is the # 1 phobia.

I love public speaking. But I don't love the second phobia on the list: spiders. ;-))

Thanks for posting!

All smiles.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Anne --

Sounds like you could use some help with reading body language.:-)

Thanks for posting! Hope to see you on-line again.

All smiles..........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Happily-medicated Cinthia!

Thanks for sharing your smile!

Hope you're soon feeling, um, not in an altered state. ;-))

All smiles.........Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Ana A --

You're so fun! Have fun empowering body language in your WIP!

Thanks to you and all the Hot Tamales for hosting me today!

Hugs............Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Tami Brothers!

I don't think we've met before. Or -- were you at M & M?

Nice to e-meet you on your blog. ;-))

AH -- Hot Lecture Packets! Thanks for your kind words. Hope to meet you sometime!

All smiles............Margie

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Penny --

I don't believe we've met either! Hello. So fun to e-meet you. I like your positive energy. ;-)

As I mentioned -- I've only seen LIE TO ME once --and I liked it.

And -- I cover that type of material in my body language class. I dig deep into micro-cues.

Thanks for posting!

All smiles.........Margie




Penny Rader said...
I got 90% of the answers right. I missed #7.

I'd love to win one of your lecture packets.

And I'm delighted to see LIE TO ME mentioned. I love that show! Interesting characters. Lots to learn--I'm glad they show reactions, etc in slow motion. Since reactions happen so quickly, I probably miss a lot of cues in real life.

February 13, 2009 10:17 PM

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Emma!

Ah -- You learned some good body language points that you can use with your characters. Excellent!

Looking forward to seeing you on-line again!

Big hugs.........Margie

What fun! I got #3, #7 and #8 wrong. There's always something to learn about body language. Thanks for your help in teaching this interesting subject.

Margie Lawson said...

Hello Everyone!

Thanks for taking the time to share your fun posts today! I enjoyed connecting -- and look forward to seeing you all again.

We have TWO WINNERS!

1. ARKANSAS CYNDI

2. TAMI BROTHERS

Congratulations to Cyndi and Tami!

Please e-mail me and let me know which Lecture Packet you would like. Margie@MargieLawson.com.

If you'd like to have a chance to win a Lecture Packet or a How-to book, check out my high energy Ask A How-to Author Interview Series. It's the last Wednesday of every month -- at www.fivescribes.blogspot.com.

Don't miss this learning opportunity!

If anyone has questions about my courses or Lecture Packets -- or if you think your group might be interested in having me present a full day Master Class, please contact me.

Thanks again to all the HOT, HOT, HOT TAMALES!

All smiles..........Margie
www.MargieLawson.com