Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Negotiation Body Language Secret # 921:
Spotting Giants' Sincerity

Can you spot sincerity? Are you sure? Most experienced, educated and financially successful people cannot. One common nonverbal component of sincerity is a true smile. Insincere smiles are exceedingly common. Pictured here, Steve Tisch, Chairman and Executive VP of the New York Giants and Eli Manning, their quarterback, both show us sincere smiles after their recent victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship Game - although Eli is suppressing his joy slightly. 

The key to detecting a sincere smile is looking at the eyelids - they MUST be partially closed. Yet, it is not as simple as this - for the eyelids may be partially closed in different ways. The characteristic closure must involve the outer portions of the Orbicularis Oculi Muscles (the pars orbitalis component) - which pull the eyebrows and the skin beneath them slightly DOWNWARD - while simultaneously (along with the zygomaticus major muscle of the cheeks) "bunch-up" the skin of the lower eyelids creating the highly characteristic concave-up creases (best exemplified here on Mr. Tisch's lower eyelids).

There are many characteristics to sincerity, and the ability to detect the subtle body language changes of true, felt smiles (or false smiles) are obviously a very important skill to learn and refine. Remember, if an insincere smile is displayed, it does not necessarily mean that the person as a whole is insincere all the time - but it does mean that in that moment, the emotion of joy-happiness is having to be forced/acted. If chronic insincerity is displayed however - this is a completely different issue, as there may very well be sociopathy present. Insincerity is not as clearly defined as lying, however those who are insincere, will eventually lie to you - probably sooner than later, and probably very often.