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Micro Expressions and Body Language

Updated: Jan 25

A micro expression is an involuntary facial display of one's true emotion that is much harder to see because it only lasts for a fraction of a second, sometimes as fast as 1/25th of a second. The person who has expressed a micro expression typically is not aware that they have displayed that emotion through a micro expression, and may even wish to conceal it.


Learning to read micro expressions can boost ones social skills dramatically. But more importantly, while on the mission field, it can help you assess if you are in a safe or dangerous environment. A person's smile could appear to be friendly, but unless you know the signs of a real smile, you might find yourself in a situation that you were not prepared for.


Seven Universal Facial and Emotional Expressions


Facial expressions of emotion, including macro-, micro-, and subtle expressions, are universal and independent of race, culture, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, religion, or any other demographic variable. All people express emotions on their faces in exactly the same ways. Moreover, they are immediate, automatic, and unconscious reactions.


These are incredible characteristics of facial expressions because learning to read them means that someone can have a bigger window into the soul of almost anyone. It is a powerful tool for investigators because facial expressions of emotion are the closest thing humans have to a universal language.


Body Language

Negotiation experts typically advise individuals to meet their counterparts in person whenever possible rather than over the phone. As convenient as electronic media may be, they lack the visual cues offered by body language in negotiation help convey valuable information and forge connections in face-to-face talks. Without access to gestures and facial expressions, those who negotiate at a distance have trouble accurately reading each other’s tone and building rapport.


Body language provides an amazing amount of information on what other people are thinking if you know what to look for. You already pick up on more body language cues than you're consciously aware of. UCLA research has shown that only 7% of communication is based on the actual words we say. As for the rest, 38% comes from tone of voice and the remaining 55% comes from body language. Learning how to become aware of and to interpret that 55% can give you a leg up with other people.


When reading other people's body language, you need to see what isn't being said.


What are the individuals body language displaying in the three photos below ?



TalentSmart has tested more than a million people and found that the upper echelons of top performance are filled with people who are high in emotional intelligence (90% of top performers, to be exact). These people know the power that unspoken signals have in communication, and they monitor body language accordingly.


How Can 3LS Global Help



Microexpressions and Body Language

  • Read micro expressions

  • Understand microexpressions

  • Discover the 7 universal microexpressions

  • Assess body language differences between cultures

  • Detect when someone is lying

  • Determine true emotion

  • Understand the difference between deception and lying


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