In The Wall Street Journal, “The Power of Nonverbal Communication”, provides some very interesting information regarding the unconscious and nonverbal ways that humans communicate with one another.
Dr. Alex “Sandy” Pentland, a professor at the MIT Media Lab, has written the book “Honest Signals”, based on studies related to unconscious social signals and patterns in how we interact with other people offering insight into our intentions, goals and values. He claims we can accurately predict the outcomes of situations ranging from job interviews to first dates!
Specific areas of communication included monitoring the levels of nervous energy using a “sociometer“, which indicated excitement, anticipating responses in conversation indicating levels of interest, evidence of mimicry of gestures, correlating with feelings of trust and empathy and finally fluency or consistency in tone or motion, suggesting a level of expertise or of being well practiced.
In studying job interviews, Dr. Pentland says, “We found that if job candidates show confidence and practice, if they’re mirroring the inteviewer’s gestures, if they’re active and helpful, if they act the right way, they’ll get the thumbs up.”
The MIT Press, Honest Signals, How They Shape Our World, says scientific background is presented in this book providing an understanding of this form of communication and shows that by “reading” our social networks we can become more successsful at pitching an idea, getting a job, or closing a deal.