Expert Q&A With Eric Goulard

Eric Goulard is a non-verbal and body language expert based in Lille, France. He undertakes consulting work for projects requiring behavioral observation, emotional recognition and analysis (verbal and non-verbal).

He specializes in the detection of deception and persuasion techniques and is the first person in France to be certified as “Master” in the field of micro expression recognition with Elite Humintell training (A Dr. David Matsumoto Company).

What does your website offer it’s visitors?

My professional website has been designed to provide information about the consultancy and training services I provide in France and Belgium. I also have a blog which contains lots of interesting facts and information about non-verbal communication.

What is the most accurate way of ascertaining the truth from someone?

That's the sixty-four thousand dollar question. It’s very difficult to know if someone is telling the truth or is lying. It’s important to keep in mind that there is always a risk of misinterpretation. When accusing someone of lying the key is not to rush to judgment or interperet things too quickly and you must make sure that you have a large body of evidence to draw upon.

The behavioral solution to test credibility consists of deep observation of non-verbal behavior and listening to verbal speech patterns. The first step is to establish a baseline. It’s important to know how a person behaves in a normal situation as there will be no verbal and nonverbal indicators of discomfort. In contrast, however, when a person feels discomfort they will automatically produce pacifying gestures. In this context we need to relax our mind and indicate to the primitive part of our brain that we are still alive. Auto contact gestures help us feel better in this respect.

When someone is telling a lie, negative emotions elicit involuntary reactions and gestures. When you see facial micro-expressions, you can be sure that something is happening in the person’s head. The question is what? You have to investigate to know more. Ask the person some questions and listen to what he or she answers, meanwhile observe the body language as a whole and look our for variations in style, size of gestures, etc. That’s why it’s important to establish a baseline!

Where is the best place to watch body language?

Any place is a good place to watch body language. Non-verbal behavior is everywhere and can be observed all the time. If I had to pick the best places to watch body language in action, I would say job interviews are a really good place, as good a poker game! Also police interrogations and human courtship provide fertile ground.

One interesting fact about job interviews, is that it's quite “normal” for people to exaggerate somewhat in order to be seen in a positive light; and some people don’t hesitate in being very creative! Everything is false (resume, references, etc)! The difference say compared to police interrogatories is that people in job interviews lie and exaggerate facts because they think that they will be believed.

Who influenced you to pursue a career in body language?

I had a great teacher in psychology 20 years ago! She really gave me the virus to learn as much as I can about non-verbal communication. With my first jobs as a salesman and later as a manager, I completely understood the importance of mastering non-verbal communication. The more I read, the more I wanted to learn. This is really a virus!

What services do you provide to your customers?

I’m a trainer and a consultant so I provide courses in body language, communication, customer relations and management across many industries. All training sessions include non-verbal communication in order to improve relationships and to increase sales and business success.

As a consultant, I undertake projects requiring behavioral observation, emotional recognition and analysis (verbal and non-verbal). I specialize in the detection of deception and persuasion techniques.

In a human resources context, I observe micro-expressions and body language signals to recognize attempts at deception. I also teach sales people to use particular verbal & non-verbal techniques with their clients to help boost sales.

How does being adept in reading body language affect your private life?

That’s an interesting question. The positive side is that it improves the quality of communication and relationships. It’s also useful to be able anticipate reactions. The negative side is that I really have difficulty relaxing and turning my brain off. Even when I watch a TV show it becomes a good excuse analyze the behavior on show. It's the same when I watch a film, I automatically start to analyse things, so, I have to tell myself “stop it, this is a just movie and they are actors.”

Can body language improve your confidence?

Of course! When you know where the keys are to open the door, you will find the keys to close it. If you know how to read body language, you know what attitudes, gestures and expressions will create comfort and discomfort for your audience. You know how to convince people to follow you and to accept your ideas. You feel much more comfortable in any situation with any people.

What have you got planned for the rest of 2012?

I am finalising a new book about how to detect deception. It should be available on the French market at the beginning of 2013. I’m also currently writing a second book about how to master non-verbal communication and emotions to persuade people and get what you want. I also have lots of training sessions lined-up towards the end of the year, so plenty of work to do.

Learn More

Click Here to visit Eric Goulard's blog.

Click Here to connect with Eric on Twitter.

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