9 tips for reading people’s faces effectively
1. Get a good coach to teach you how to read both expressions and body language
As I’ve discovered, there are so many misnomers around what different body language signals really mean, and even fewer coaches who can teach micro expressions. It’s why I became a coach.
The more you understand a person, especially their personality, the easier it makes reading the non-verbals. Shifts in their emotions become more obvious.
2. Look for congruency in micro expressions
Timing is important. Micro expressions have to appear at the very moment the event happens. The slightest delay and they are no longer congruent. Someone can try and fake an expression, but it won’t be in that moment between the unconscious response and the point the conscious mind takes over.
3. Consider the context
Are the micro expressions what you expect, or are they out of context? For instance, you tell someone that their friend has just been fired and you get a flash of a smile. If they were friends, you’d expect sadness.
4. Look for cues in clusters and never draw a conclusion from one cue on its own
The first indicator highlights something might be out of place. Ask further questions and see what expressions follow as the situation or discussion continues.
5. Don’t confuse someone’s nervousness for signs of deception
Monitor the shift in their confidence as the conversation progresses. People who believe they are good liars are less likely to show deception.
6. Use open, probing and closed questions to uncover the truth
The style and format of questioning is very important. When you ask open questions, the person will only tell you what they want to tell you. Use this time to benchmark their emotions.
7. Watch for a shift in the emotions
When you ask probing questions – the why, what, when, who and how – watch for the shift in their emotions. This is where they will reluctantly tell you more as they try harder to conceal the truth. This is where they begin to become uncomfortable.
The yes and no questions are where you’ll see the leaking of micro expressions.
8. Keep an open mind
Don’t let others bias your objectivity.
9. Always test and retest what you think you’ve seen
Take your questioning deeper to uncover more and confirm what you think you’ve seen.