Have you ever thought that you would like to discover new ways to connect with people, so you could broaden your network and possibly gain more business? No one wants to work with someone they can’t trust, so it is vital that we show our best selves and foster a bond with people from the start. What better way to do that than by improving the way you present yourself? In this episode, international profile and communications specialist, Alan Stevens, talks about what we need to know about profiling that can help you do just that. Alan will also share with you how not only our body language, but also facial gestures and facial language can build a deeper connection with the people around us and ourselves. Learn how these effective communication strategies can help your business and your personal life.
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How Facial Expressions Help You Connect And Create More Clients with Alan Stevens [Podcast 195]
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’d love to build an instant bond with people… I’d love to be better and have some new ways to connect at a deeper level with people much sooner I’d like to shorten down that the communication cycle or the sales cycle to be able to get more business?” Have you ever heard the idea that people must know you, like you and trust you? Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why is it that some people don’t respond to me a certain way the way I would like them to? I’m a good person.” We’ve got an expert who is uniquely qualified to talk about all of these topics and more. His name is Alan Stevens. He’s an international profile and communication specialist. What that means is he can show you how to use things like body language, facial expressions, facial gestures and facial language. Combined with language patterns to help you build a deeper connection, not only with yourself but also with your potential clients. Even more importantly, where it matters with your kids, with your family and a whole lot more. He’s regularly featured on national TV, radio expert and celebrity to a certain degree as well. He’s profiled the likes of leading politicians, sports stars and Britain’s royalty. He’s a number one bestselling author, coach and trainer. He’s been referred to as the leading authority on reading people globally by the UK Guardian. He’s been called, “The Mentalist meets Dr. Phil,” by The Herald. Welcome to the show, Alan. How are you?
Very good, thank you. Thanks for the invitation to the show.
Get ready to get a lot of powerful, usable and actionable insights from Alan. We’ve got some special bonuses we’ll share with you. If you never want to miss an episode, you can go to GrowthToFreedom.com/Subscribe. If you want to join in the conversation with tens of thousands on Twitter, feel free to join us there, @Dan_Kuschell. I want to dive right into it. You are an international profile expert. What does that mean? What led you to do this? Why are you compelled to be doing what you’re doing?
The thing about profiling is being able to read somebody, to understand their personality so that you can create better relationships with. The facial features will tell me a lot about their personality, but it won’t tell me their character. I had their body language and their expressions when I’m talking to them that now tell me their emotions. If it doesn’t correlate with what I’m seeing in their facial features, personality aside, I know something’s going on. Either they are stressed or I may not be talking to the right person. I will be like, “I shouldn’t be anywhere near it.” What got me into this was at the age of 23, I’d left Sydney and went to Newcastle here in Australia to work with a new group. I was put in charge of men who were all older than me. My second-in-charge was 38 and I was 23 so there’s a fifteen-year difference. I had to get them on site.
In my mid-30s, I joined the surf club and became a lifesaver. In that process, they taught me into first of all being a Patrol Captain with a guy that nobody wanted. We turned that into the Patrol of the Year. The following year, they got me to be the Club Captain looking after that club and three other clubs. In that process, I was then a supervisor. I’m now the same age as everybody else, but as they pointed out to me, I’d only been there five minutes as far as I was concerned and they’d been there since they were kids. With that, I was now the least experienced person there. They put me in that role and I had to tell them what to do. Then in my late 30s, my first wife left and I had three boys to raise on my own. From being the youngest in the business to being the least experienced in the community and right out of my depth raising three boys, all of those things have led me to where I am now. It’s always been working with people. I’ve had to make connections with people as fast as I possibly can. This was the best way to do it.
What do you see is the biggest misunderstanding? When I hear someone say, “People must know you, like you and trust you before they buy from you or become a client,” I feel that that’s a mistruth. I believe that there’s part of it that’s accurate, but there is a lot of it that’s very inaccurate. What do you find is the biggest myth around connecting with people as well as reading or profiling people?
It’s reasonably true as far as that goes because if you don’t trust somebody, you go and buy from somebody else that you do trust. You will buy from somebody, if you have to buy, you’ll buy from somebody you don’t like. We feel a lot more comfortable when we’re with people who are very similar to us or speak to us in a way that we want to be spoken to. That’s where the profiling comes in.
What’s the biggest myth or misunderstanding or it could be even the biggest mistake people make when they are looking to connect and bond with people?
The one that I want to focus on was the myth that where we make our mistake when dealing with other people. The problem is that quite often we look at people and we judge them based on somebody that we’ve met before. If they look like somebody we’ve known from before or the person we met before did the wrong thing by us, we straight away label that person that we’re speaking to with the same background that we had at the first person. We start to behave in a way that other person picks it up because what we all do is everybody profiles. We look at each other. We might judge straight away and we do it in less than 30 milliseconds. We’ve already decided whether we like that person or not.
It was based on the fact at tribal times, whether that person was safe to be around, whether they are a friend or a foe? If they were a friend, what were their emotions on the day? Were they happy or sad? We all profile but we base our profile based on our memories. When I do the profiling, it takes the memories out of it. I can see two people who look very similar. One could be a saint and one could be a sinner. What they’re processing, we don’t know. How they process, the facial features, their personality will tell me that, but it won’t tell me what they are processing and why they are processing it. That’s where character comes in. That’s why it’s important to be able to read both the body language and the expressions as well when you’re talking to them.When people don’t trust you, they can leave you for somebody else. – Alan Stevens Click To Tweet
We’ve got the personality and then we’ve got the emotions and there are more. Those are the two you’ve repeated a few different times. Why is it that some people who may be in power positions, and we don’t have to mention names, either in the past or current in the world that have a huge following. If you look behind the curtain, they’re not doing things correctly. They aren’t somebody you’d like and trust but on the forefront, they still have this ability to amass huge followings of people that do like them, do trust them on the surface. Speak to that a little bit.
That comes back more into the biases that the people have. As you said, they look at somebody and that person will function a little bit the way they do. If they had a similar type of behavior, then they’re going to gravitate to them very quickly simply because of that connection. There are no two people on the planet that are the same. There are a lot of biases different in personalities. There’s going to be that large range of people who don’t like you. At the same time, a vast range of people who do like you. It comes down to personal preference. Being able to read what’s going on underneath, that’s when we start getting a bit more discerning about it. It’s one of the reasons why somebody who we did like all of a sudden, we don’t like anymore and vice versa. Someone we did like all of a sudden, we go, “They’re not so bad after all.” It becomes a similarity in the way that they’re behaving.
Speak to the idea of the similarity in the way they’re behaving. Sometimes when we think of it, people that are too much like us, we actually don’t like sometimes. Speak to that little bit of a contradiction.
There’s always we see in other people ourselves as well. We get a reflection of that. Quite often if there are things that we’re not happy about ourselves and we see that in somebody else, it reminds us of who we are as well. That then pushes that gap between us. We’ve got that, “I don’t want that reminder.” It’s like looking in a mirror. We will walk away from that person when that happens.
Speaking of walking away when that happens, what would happen for you if you were able to become a master of your personality traits combined with your body language, combined with your facial expressions as well as your facial features? How do all of these things tie together to create a bonding experience or a repelling experience? Have you ever been in a scenario where you felt like you were repelling people versus bringing them to you? What if you had strategies? They could uncover why that happens and what you can do about it to be a better connector, a better influencer so you can have a bigger impact reaching contribution? Alan, you’ve worked with celebrities, you’ve been on TV, you’re syndicated. You have a lot of amazing success behind you, track record and story. Let’s go back a little bit. As you think about your business journey, what would you consider your greatest business failure or biggest business mistake? What did you learn from it that our audience can learn from it too?
It’s probably what led me into learning to read people in the first place. I’d had a lot of relationships in business with business partners who I didn’t understand very well when I first started. We connected and I liked them at the time, but then I found out later on that they were the wrong people to be in business with. I had two that emptied the bank accounts. Who would have thought that I would have learned it after the first time? It ended up being the second time that I worked that one out. That’s part of the reason why I’ve decided I needed to understand people more effectively.
I’ve been there too more than I’d like to say happened, these mistakes, these failures. Failure is not failure, it’s an opportunity to learn. Speaking of strategies, as we unpack this we’ve got facial features, facial expression. There’s a distinction between the two. You’ve got body language, we’ve got something that people utilize this term a lot, NLP. The importance of communication patterns. We’ll unpack that as well, but speak to the idea of profiling or reading people from their features combined with their expressions or these emotions. What are one to three strategies that our audience could use to put in place in their relationships?
The facial features, people are probably thinking, “How in the world can facial features describe your personality?” Think about lifting weights. If you’re lifting, doing bicep curls, you’re going to lift the weight. You’re going to build regional and crevices in the muscles. We know that if we work a muscle over and over, it’s going to create a different shape. At the same time, we know that whatever we feel inside is shown outside in our body. We express it through our body language and our expressions. If we’re thinking of a particular way and we’re regularly doing that, we end up creating ridges and crevices in our face. It’s those changes that tell us how that person over a period of time does like to think and process. You’ve now got the personality. When anybody says anything to us or if anything happens around us, we automatically respond unconsciously and then our conscious mind steps in.
Think about the time you walk past a house for instance. As you look down, you get that surprise, a feeling of panic, there’s a snake. Then we notice it and with our conscious minds stepped inside but in that period of time, we give away an expression. Our body language has given away as well. In that, we’ve expressed that. That can be as fast as a fifth of a second down to 125th of a second. The conscious mind steps in and the expression changes. By looking at the personality through the facial features, we had a talk to the person. This is where the NLP comes in. What language do we use to connect with them? What style? Are they a big picture person? Are they more analytical? Are they somebody who need it structured in a formatted way or can you be looser about the way you communicate? Can you be less formal? All of that similar facial features. Once you then speak to them the right way, you’ve got a body language and the expressions. They will now give you the feedback as to whether you’re connected with them, whether you’re building rapport. Is there something going on that they’re not telling you? It all comes together in that format.
In some ways, these are like cues. Being able to read, through experience you learn. It’s like reading a blueprint. It’s like reading an X-ray. When you’re a pro, you can just do it very quickly and assess the cues and be able to ultimately create the right pattern and a quick effect effective way. There’s a learning system to this. What are some of the cues that our audience could easily look at themselves and how they are showing up, cues that they can be looking out for themselves? I’ve heard things if you ask somebody a question and they look up into the right, it means one thing is askew. They look up into the left, it means something else. What would you say if you were starting over, what advice would you give to you that would be like a handful of cues to be aware of not only personally but also in the communication you have that make a difference, that can matter?Focus on the other person and you'll find that your body language will naturally mirror them without even thinking. – Alan Stevens Click To Tweet
One of the first traits I always look at especially when I’m meeting somebody for the first time as they’re walking up to me. You might have been in a situation where either you’ve walked up to somebody and they’ve stepped away from you, or you’re the person who stepped away. The person’s come in and they stood far too close to you, they’ve invaded your space. This one’s easy to see and it correlates to the micro expressions of fear and surprise. Whenever we feel fear or surprise, our eyebrows go up. They go straight up in surprise and in fear they’ll go up and straighten out. There’s a bigger gap between our eye and our eyebrow. The bigger that gap, the more we can see the surprise and fear on that person’s face.
In somebody who has got a naturally high set eyebrow where the gap between the eye and the eyebrow is quite a large, this is somebody who needs more space. If you all got eyebrows that are close to the eyes, don’t walk up to that person and stand where you like to stand when you first go up to them. I did a workshop and somebody came I said, “Can you come out to the front of the room. As you do, I’ll stop and you then greet me in the distance that you like.” I stood way back from you because of the high set eyebrows. The moment I shook hands and then stood into where I feel comfortable, the look of fear on their face and surprise, “You’re in my space,” it was evident to the whole crowd. With that, that’s one trait to remember straight away.
You’ll also find that somebody who has the straight eyebrows where they’re horizontal is somebody that’s all about how it feels inside. They won’t express themselves as much outwardly. If they’re stressed, they pull back into the cave. If you have somebody with the eyebrows angled up, from the inside going outwards, they go up at an angle and quite strikingly that somebody who has a dramatic appreciation, who likes to express outwardly. They’re the ones that will ask you, “What’s going on?” all the time. The person with the horizontal eyebrows will retract and pull back and it’s like, “I’ll fix it. Just leave me alone.” You can imagine with couples, some of the issues that come up there are misunderstandings simply because we don’t understand the other partner’s personality traits. Therefore, we don’t know how to speak to their traits.
I get so fascinated by these types of cues and how subtle they are, but how important and how valuable they are. I’m like Curious George that loves to learn these things because it matters. I grew up as an introvert. I still consider myself an introvert. I’ve learned how to not be an introvert as much, but I’d rather have an individual conversation like this rather than be at a party somewhere engaging and interacting that way. What would be one to three key strategies that our audience could look to take action and put in place that will have an impact for them?
Understanding those traits is important. We can give a little bit of idea here, but it’s a matter of doing a little bit of study, do a course and pick up those traits. Always remember that the other person, if you focus on them, first of all, you’ll find that you’ll naturally build better rapport with them anyway. You’ll find that some people will tell you, “Practice mirroring,” where you copy their body language. The problem with that is if you do it too quickly, every time they make a change, you make a change, it becomes obvious to them because you’re focusing on yourself. Don’t focus on yourself. Focus on the other person and you’ll find that your body language will naturally mirror them without even thinking.
Don’t stress about it. Relax with the person, look at them and go, “How can I build a relationship with this person? How can I talk more effectively with them?” That way you’ll get a much better understanding of them. Things like body language, don’t assume because people will talk about folded arms and they’ll say, “The person’s got their arms folded, they’re blocking you out.” That could be that they’re blocking out the cold. It could be that they’re intimidated by you. They like you. You might be put on a pedestal where they look at you and think, “This person’s better than me, but I want to get to know them.” They fold their arms because they’re giving themselves a warm hug. You need to look at not just one indicator, but what all the indicators are doing.
How many indicators would you estimate there are?
When it comes to facial expressions, luckily they’ve broken it down to seven expressions, which are universal. The face itself has about 43 muscles that can pull over 3,000 expressions that Paul Ekman and his team put together. He created a book called the Facial Action Coding System, FACS. There are 3,000 expressions in there and the muscle actions to create them.
If you’re going, “3,000 expressions and 43 muscles, how do I make sense of this? How do I bring simplicity to this?” We’re going to talk about a simple method for you to put in place, a simple strategy you can put in place to start utilizing this. To build deeper connections, deeper bonds, have more people connect with you so you can have a bigger impact, a bigger reach and a bigger contribution not only in business but in the home too. We were talking about 3,000 possibilities, expressions and 43 muscles. How do you make sense of this? One of my favorite quotes is from Oliver Wendell Holmes and it goes like this, “I wouldn’t give a fig to be on the other side of complexity, but I’d give my life to be on this side of simplicity.” You seem to have taken this complex field and simplified it. We’ve just started to scratch. If someone wanted to simplify this process, if somebody wanted to get on the other side of complexity and take action and use this to connect, to build better collaborations and better teamwork not only at home but in business. How can people reach you to go deeper with what you’re up to?
You’ve got to make it simple. I break it down into small easy bites on how to do it. We do live courses with me or they can do some online courses, but I usually say to people, “Why don’t you get started with a basic understanding first? Test it, trial it. See if you like it and then you know whether to go into it deeper.” The first thing I did was put together the seven secrets to reading people. It’s an email that will give away after I’ll give you those secrets. Over the next ten days after that, there are about three or four more emails that go out that have embedded videos that show you how to read some of those traits, how to measure them and put them in place. That’s where I would start. On the expressions, we have 10,000 expressions but the seven is all I need to read: anger, contempt, disgust, happiness, sadness, fear and surprise. You’ve got those seven expressions, you know what the person’s feeling. Most of the other expressions are made up of combinations of those expressions.The more that we understand the other person, the better the relationship we have. – Alan Stevens Click To Tweet
Where can people go to get this resource, get this tool?
If you’d like to go deeper, to have a methodology to put in place, to use, to take action on, to get that breakthrough so you can connect with people at a deeper level, understand yourself better, then go check out the resource, Seven Secrets to Read People. Go check out what Alan’s up to. He’s doing fascinating work. He can help you. Alan, what were you known for in high school?
Probably being one of the quietest kids. I got bullied a lot at school, which is another reason why I needed to understand people as well. Very much so I spent most of my time on my own. I was an observer. I probably started trying to read people back then. That was the main thing.
As you’ve been on this journey, you mentioned you had three kids, you went through a divorce. What did divorce teach you about building success in business and working with people?
It taught me that in business, it’s the same as people in our private lives and our community lives. If I would to read them in one state, I will read them in all states. The more that we understand the other person, the better the relationship we have. We can hold things together. Where we have misunderstandings, we can remove those misunderstandings. When people have done my courses, they come back and say, “I’m not only using this in my business, but I’m using it with my family. I’m using it in my community.” People are people wherever we go.
How old are your three kids?
My oldest one is about to turn 40. My youngest is about to turn 32 and I’ve got five grandkids.
If you were going to give advice to your grandkids, using some of these strategies, what would be one to three simple takeaways that you would want to give them as tools to put in place?
I always say to them, before you even look at understanding other people, you need to understand yourself. Know your own personality and know why your buttons get pushed. In that way, you can then set your environment up so that you don’t go into those states. The second thing is to be able to read and understand other people so you can connect with them more effectively. Once you understand them, talk to them in the way that they want to be spoken to, not the way you want to be spoken to. You change the way you speak. In that way, you make a better connection with them. People will realize that you’re putting time into them, that you’re focused on them and you’re interested. Very quickly, you’re going to have a better connection. Like I say to people in business for instance, if you’re wanting to give bonuses to your staff, find out something personal about them. Don’t just give them a bottle of wine because they may not like wine. If that person loves playing golf, a subscription to a golfing magazine, they’re going to enjoy that. They’re going to know that you thought about them. They’re also going to think about you every time they get the new edition. You build stronger connections with them. When you focus on other people, it makes your life so much richer because people then want you in it.When you focus on other people, your life becomes so much richer. – Alan Stevens Click To Tweet
That is such great wisdom and if it’s good enough for your grandkids, it’s good enough for you. I want to encourage you to take action with what Alan is sharing with you. Go get his Seven Secrets to Read People. What’s something I should have asked you that I didn’t?
There are probably a lot of different things. You’ve covered it well because we’ve covered the main focus, which to tell people to understand yourself and then understand other people.
I want to encourage you, if you want to connect with people, build deeper bonds at home, in business, understand yourself and learn to understand others. There are some simple tools that can help you master this. This isn’t about just playing the game, it’s about mastery of the game. Alan’s got some tools that he can help you with that. Go check out what he’s up to at AlanStevens.com.au/7Secrets. Alan, I know that you made a huge commitment to be with us. Alan is in overseas. I want to say thank you for making time for our audience. It’s been awesome. Thank you.
Thank you very much. The reason I do these calls at this time in the morning is that the people who are using this we’re using it in education. We’re saving children falling through the cracks. We’re improving relationships with people, cutting down bullying and also reducing domestic violence. Every time I get a chance to speak, it doesn’t matter what time of the day or night it is, I’m there.
You’re doing big things, having a big impact. I appreciate you. Thanks for making us part of your day. I encourage you, take action. That’s the greatest gift that you can give yourself. Take action with what you’ve shared. If you liked this episode, post your comments, post a rating, post a review or share it with someone you care about. It can make a difference. That’s our show for now. Seize the day and I’ll see you next time on GrowthToFreedom.com.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Alan Stevens
- @Dan_Kuschell on Twitter
- Facial Action Coding System
- Alan’s online course
About Alan Stevens
Alan Stevens is an International Profile and Communications Specialist who is regularly featured on National TV, radio and in the World’s Press, profiling the likes of our leading politicians, TV, and sports stars as well as Britain’s Royalty. He is an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author, a Coach, and Trainer. Alan has also been referred to as the leading authority on reading people, globally by the UK Guardian, and “the mentalist meets Dr. Phil” by the Herald.