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You Say More Than You Think

Written by: Janine Driver
Published: February 16, 2010


You Say More Than You Think" by Janine Driver, with Mariska van Aalst, is a guide to using the new body language to get what you want. Janine Driver is a renowned body language expert who has trained law enforcement personnel and others in the art of reading body language to uncover the truth. In her book, she shares techniques and insights to help readers become more adept at reading others' body language and using their own to communicate effectively and positively influence situations.

Driver introduces readers to her system known as the "New Body Language," which is a method of communication that involves more than just interpreting signals. It's an approach that encompasses using one’s own body language to convey confidence and credibility and to read others' intentions and feelings accurately. The book is structured around a seven-day plan, each day focusing on a different aspect of understanding and employing body language effectively.

The first part of the book deals with the myths surrounding body language and provides a foundation for understanding its principles. Driver emphasizes the importance of context in reading body language. For example, a single gesture such as crossed arms might mean different things in different situations. She encourages readers to look for clusters of gestures rather than relying on one isolated signal.

Subsequent sections of the book delve into the specifics of reading and utilizing body language. Driver discusses how to make a great first impression, how to gauge someone's trustworthiness, and how to tell if someone is truly engaged in a conversation. She also tackles the subtleties of body language in various parts of the body, from the feet to the head, and explains what these movements and positions can reveal about a person's thoughts and feelings.

Driver provides practical advice for using body language to enhance personal and professional relationships. She discusses ways to exude confidence, such as through posture and handshakes, and how to use mirroring to create rapport. The book also covers more nuanced aspects of communication like spatial relations, the use of touch, and the interpretation of facial expressions.

Throughout "You Say More Than You Think," Driver shares anecdotes from her professional experience, offers exercises for practicing the New Body Language techniques, and includes photographs and diagrams to illustrate her points. Her writing style is conversational and engaging, making the subject matter approachable and relatable.

Final Thoughts

The book concludes with an encouragement to practice the New Body Language consistently, reminding readers that skills in reading and projecting body language can be honed over time. "You Say More Than You Think" serves as both a practical guide and a resource for those interested in the subtleties of non-verbal communication and its impact on daily interactions.

10 Big Ideas

1. The Power of Context

Context is crucial in interpreting body language correctly. One must consider the situation, cultural norms, and individual baseline behaviors to read signals accurately.

2. Congruence Between Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication

Alignment between what a person says and their body language is key to gauging sincerity and truthfulness.

3. Importance of Clusters

Look for clusters of gestures rather than isolated signals to get a more accurate read on someone's feelings or intentions.

4. The Feet Don’t Lie

Feet often reveal true emotions. They point towards what we desire and can indicate comfort or discomfort with a situation or person.

5. Mastering the First Impression

First impressions are vital. Use open body language, a firm handshake, and direct eye contact to establish a positive initial connection.

6. Building Rapport Through Mirroring

Mirroring someone's body language can build rapport and make the other person feel understood and connected.

7. Spatial Relations Speak Volumes

How we position ourselves in relation to others tells a lot about our comfort level, status, and relationship dynamics.

8. Facial Expressions as Emotional Signals

Facial expressions are powerful indicators of emotions. Learning to read these subtle cues can provide insights into what others are truly feeling.

9. The Subtleties of Touch

Touch can communicate a range of messages, from support and compassion to dominance and aggression. Its use should be mindful and appropriate to the context.

10. Using Body Language to Exude Confidence

Adopting poses and postures that project confidence can not only influence how others perceive us but also how we feel about ourselves.

5 Exercises

1. Non-Verbal Communication Awareness

Objective: To become more aware of your own body language and how it may be perceived by others.

  • Throughout the day, periodically check in with your body—note your posture, facial expressions, and gestures.
  • At the end of the day, reflect on moments when your body language was open and inviting versus closed and distant. Consider what emotions or thoughts prompted these stances.
  • Practice adjusting your posture to be more open and grounded to project confidence and approachability.
2. The Foot Focus

Objective: To practice reading the often-overlooked body language of feet.

  • Observe people’s feet in different settings—meetings, social gatherings, public places—and note where their feet are pointing, especially during conversations.
  • Reflect on what the orientation of their feet might indicate about their interest and engagement in the situation.
  • Apply this observation to yourself and become mindful of where your feet are pointing during interactions.
3. Mirroring Practice

Objective: To build rapport with others through subtle mirroring of body language.

  • In a conversation, subtly mirror the body language of the person you are speaking with, such as their posture or hand movements.
  • Be mindful not to mimic but to reflect their body language naturally, creating a feeling of empathy and understanding.
  • Afterward, assess the interaction to see if the mirroring helped create a more connected dialogue.
4. Facial Expression Journal

Objective: To enhance your ability to read and understand facial expressions in others.

  • For one week, observe and jot down the facial expressions of others in various situations. Note the context and your interpretation of their emotions.
  • Compare your notes with their verbal communication to see if they align, and reflect on any discrepancies.
  • Practice controlling your own facial expressions to ensure they match the message you wish to convey.
5. Confidence Pose Routine

Objective: To use body language to boost your own confidence and the perception others have of your confidence.

  • Each morning, stand in a power pose—feet apart, hands on hips, chin up—for two minutes to cultivate a sense of strength and self-assurance.
  • Before entering a meeting or social event, pause to adjust your posture, relax your shoulders, and take a few deep breaths.
  • After the event, reflect on how adopting confident body language affected your performance and feelings of self-assurance.

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