Category Archives: Nonverbal Communication

Mirroring, Imitating, and Mimicking: How Others See Themselves In You

The dictionary defines a mirror as a reflecting surface, something that gives a minutely faithful representation, image, or idea of something else.

When used in the psychological sense, mirroring is the replication of another individual’s nonverbal signals. We mirror others’ expressions and gestures when we like them and feel connected to them, usually without anyone noticing. Imagine you are talking to a friend and he leans forward and smiles; without consciously realizing what you are doing, you will likely smile and lean forward as well.

friends

Mirroring creates rapport between people. Most psychologists agree the person who is mirroring the behavior is demonstrating empathy: the person who is mirroring feels a connection to the other person when making the same expressions or gestures and they person being mirrored tends to believe the other individual shares their thoughts and feelings.

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Anatomy of a False Smile

Most people smile every day. It is an automatic reflex and a deliberate one, so in many cases it does not indicate joy. Scientists say smiles can be an evolutionary behavior, designed to let others know that we’re not being threatening. They point to chimps who might smile because they are happy or smile to show they have no wish to challenge another animal. Sometimes people mistake an animal’s open mouth or display of teeth as “smiling” or “laughing”, to their own peril.

It might look like this chimp is laughing, but mistaking his aggression for playfulness would be no joke

This chimp isn’t laughing; his expression is aggressive 

There are many reasons people display an insincere smile, including nervousness, manipulation, confusion, embarrassment, and many others. It’s worth knowing if someone’s smile is sincere, but often it’s difficult to tell a real expression from a feigned one. There are a few tell-tale signs you can easily distinguish though, so let’s examine a few smiles that are definitely not authentic.

Exhibit A is Rick Perry, the governor of Texas. After being indicted, Governor Perry posed for his mug shot. Hs expression is technically a smile, but it hardly exudes happiness. The two giveaways in this picture are his mouth and his forehead. A real smile is somewhat loose, but the muscles around Governor Perry’s mouth are tightened. When you’re happy, your eyebrows naturally lift a little. Perry’s forehead is even, or possibly even lowered, which is a sign of anger.

Governor Rick Perry

Governor Rick Perry

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Invest in Your Success: Tips for Upgrading Your Wardrobe on a Budget

Your appearance is a critical part of how others perceive you, and more importantly, how they react to you. A professional, polished appearance does more than give you an advantage at work – it builds your self-confidence!

And of course, January 1 is always a great time to make a change. No matter when you read this, though, this post will provide some tips to help you achieve your goals and look your best!

How to Change Your Look Without Breaking the Bank
Maybe your wardrobe is a little outdated, or you’ve gained or lost some weight and your clothes don’t fit. Or maybe you’re just ready for a change. In any case, most of us don’t have unlimited finances, so let’s go over a few tips to make your wardrobe upgrade more affordable.

bags

First things first, abandon what is not working, whether that is revealing tops, gaudy earrings, large belt buckles, or clothes that look faded and worn. This is an easy tip because it doesn’t cost any money to stop doing something, and you’ll soon see it pay off.

TIP: Avoid fads.
Trendy items have a brief shelf life and are often expensive.

Second, begin replacing your older clothes with an updated look. As you look to invest in yourself and your future, a good way to start is by purchasing a few classic items that can be mixed and matched. You can start with a few staples and slowly build around those items.

shirt

A white oxford button-down shirt is a great choice for men or women. So are dark pants or skirts.

TIP: Scarves and ties are a great way to dress up a simple outfit. 

Other items to consider are one or two sweaters, vests, or cardigans in versatile colors like red, blue, or gray. Invest in a pair of plain dress shoes (black or dark gray).

Tailored Slim-Fit Black Nailhead Wool Dress Pant - Black

TIP: If you’re on a limited budget, buy solid colors.
They’re much more versatile than prints.

How to Guide Your Clothing Choices 
Take your surroundings and goals into consideration. If you work at a greenhouse, dressing for success does not involve a suit and a tie. If you work at a corporate office, wearing casual clothing can be a career-limiting decision.

What are your goals? If your goal is to move into a different field, observe the people already working there. If you have a desk job but you want a role that requires physical activity,  look for clothes that would be acceptable in either role.

Still not sure what to purchase? Look around you. What does success look like at your company? Ask yourself what clothing or accessories would help you look the part.

Armani suits may not be in the budget, but you can use a picture of one and ask for help finding a similar, less expensive option

That isn’t to suggest that you purchase a Rolex so you can check the time just like the CEO of your company. Stay within your budget and use your observations to guide those choices.

TIP: Buy the highest quality classic items you can afford.  

The bottom line is that it is human nature to make assumptions based on appearance. Too often, this works against people who are bright and qualified. However, you can make this work in your favor by being thoughtful and selective with the clothing, shoes, and accessories you buy.