Flying Solo Banner

Monday, 03 April 2017 01:11

I'm good at reading people's non verbal behavior, but it all goes away during a conversation. How can I improve this?

Written by

I’m going to make the assumption that when you say ‘I'm good at reading people's non verbal behavior’ you are referring to reading them from a distance.

It would appear that you are experiencing some challenges with the 1 to 1 conversation where you lose your ability to read other people.

By way of an example that I use to teach public speaking skills, most North Americans speak at 125 to 150 words a minute. We can pick up our speed to 250 if we are really excited, but we risk losing our audience. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. We tend to think in pictures not words.

Using public speaking as an example, when you are delivering your speech you are likely delivering it at the 125 to 150 words per minute rate (WPM). As you become more experienced you will become aware of many other things or factors. This is where you pump your thinking rate up to 1000 wpm or even more. Examples: the room temperature, if the heating/cooling system cycles on or off, if an audience member looks confused, perplexed etc.

The same thing applies to a conversation. On one level you are aware of the discussion going on. You should be listening more than speaking. The advice to listen to understand and not to form a response is good.

At the same time, you can factor in your body language skills. Perhaps trying a few of them in your conversation, then building upon them.

The thing to remember about your body language reading skills is that they are your interpretation of what somebody is really broadcasting. You don’t know for sure until you validate with the individual.

When you are ‘reading’ somebody from afar, it is a one-sided process. Doing it while in conversation can be challenging. You have to decide what the hidden message is. Then you have to decide what you are going to do about it or not.

Question originally answered on 

Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANEI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic. He is a long-time member of Kelowna Flying Solo Toastmasters and is the driving force behind its long-term success. 

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books:

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: Tips & Techniques for Moving from Shy to Sly!

PROtect Yourself!PROtect Yourself! Empowering Tips & Techniques for Personal Safety: A Practical Violence Prevention Manual for Healthcare Workers.

E=Emcee SquaredE=Emcee SquaredTips & Techniques to Becoming a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of PromotionPower of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth


Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or

Rae’s social … are you?


Linkedin? Rae is

Copyright 2015 & 2016 Rae Stonehouse. The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.

To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at http://raestonehouse.com

From our friends & sponsors.
Click on an ad for more details.