His body language said it all. “He knocked my daughter out and now he’s on TV talking about she’s an angel. If looks could kill, he’d be in serious trouble. I wish I was 20 years younger, I’d give him a challenge to knock someone out.”
That was the expression displayed several times by the father of Janay Rice, Ray Rice’s wife, when they were being interviewed by Matt Lauer of the Today Show.
When the TV show Extra requested that I appear on their program to examine and critique the body langue displayed by Ray and Janay Rice, which included Janay’s mother and father, I wondered what insight I might give the show’s viewers. I found a lot of body language gestures to comment on, but since the show’s format is one of moving very quickly, unlike other national shows I’ve appeared on, some of my comments did not make it into the broadcast. So, I decided to give some of my additional insights and comments here.
While Ray Rice was speaking, his father-in-law displayed contempt (lifting his lip on one side), disapproval (when rolling his eyes), and anxiety (when he was thrumming his fingers on the counter top); to the untrained body language eye, those nonverbal clues into Ray’s father-in-law’s mind would have been missed, but I caught them and saw a glimmer of the man’s mind. Based on the father’s body language, I would love to have been a proverbial fly on the wall to eavesdrop on the personal conversation he had with Ray after the interview.
There are so many clues to pick up when you’re aware of what someone is thinking, based on the body language they display. Since someone’s body rarely is deceptive to the trained eye, once you know what to observe, you really gain unfiltered access to that person’s mind. Thus, if you know what they’re thinking, you gain insight into how they think, which can be beneficial in a negotiation, or when accessing if someone is about to go too far; such was the case when Ray hit Janay.
Had Janay or Ray read each other’s body language more accurately and used emotional intelligence to first realize that their emotions were headed for a dangerous area, and then controlled their emotions, the ‘hitting’ situation would most likely not occurred. Hindsight being 20-20, I know both of them wish they’d adopted another course of action to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.
The questions you might ask yourself are:
- How well do I accurately read body language?
- How much more can I achieve in life, if I read body language better?
- What might it cost to read body language and how quickly might I realize a return on my investment?
- How much of an advantage can I gain as the result of having the ability to read body language?
The answers to those questions are immeasurable, because each reader of this information has uniquely different aspects to their lives. The one statement that can be made emphatically is, had the Rice’s been better equipped to read body language, adhere to the emotional intelligence that keeps one out of harm’s way, and talked to one another in a more respectful manner, such actions would have saved them millions of dollars. So that’s the high range. What’s your answer to how much such skills are to you?