Expert Q&A With

Mark Edgar Stephens is a Body Language Specialist and Clinical Hypnotherapist who offers his services to individuals, couples, groups, businesses, organizations, and in the media as a Personal & Professional Development Coach (C.Ht., HMI). His earliest clients were from the Performing Arts/Broadway community in New York City, including Tony-winning actors and Emmy-nominated actresses.

Mark's work soon garnered attention in the media when he began working on TLC's relationship and dating series, Date Patrol as a Communication and Body Language Coach. Oprah Winfrey called him an "authority on love" when she invited him to be a guest expert helping Oprah Winfrey show to select a deserving couple for a million dollar wedding giveaway. For two seasons, Mark helped families in conflict as the Host and Life Coach on HGTV's, under 1 roof. He aided contestants on NBC's game show, Identity to win up to a half million dollars by using body language cues to correctly identify the hobbies and professions of covert participants.

Currently, Mark appears as a recurring contributor on The Dr. Drew Show on Headline News. Mark has also been featured on NBC, Lifetime, VH1, Style Network, MTV, and Access Hollywood.

What services does your website provide?

When you visit my website you’ll find a lot of useful information about body language, hypnotherapy, and personal and professional development coaching. My work has primarily focused on behavior modification through awareness and changes in body language, mental perception, and emotional transformation. Individuals, couples, groups, businesses, and other organizations use my services for media training, executive coaching, improving public speaking, relationship and dating consultations, performance enhancement, facilitating workshops and retreats, and, of course, body language assessments on both a personal and professional level.

Featured on my home page are a couple of new service offerings. The first is “Body Talkin’ with Mark Edgar Stephens,” a fun, interactive 90-minute conversation, demonstration, on-site analysis, and question/answer experience about Body Language available for any size group in any venue. The second is a “Personalized Mini-Hypnosis Recording” based on my work and experience as a Clinical Hypnotherapist that includes a few basics of hypnosis, such as a progressive relaxation, suggestion work, and deepening techniques. There are also voice recordings and video throughout my website, and links to my books, articles, and other offerings of interest.

What was the inspiration behind your book ‘Who are you choosing to be?’

This question really has a two-part answer. My book, “Who Are You Choosing To Be?,” is primarily inspired by my early clients. However, in truth, it became my own personal reminder for how to keep myself in alignment with the principles I was using in my one-on-one coaching practice. So, I am really thankful to my clients who asked for me to put something down in the written form that eventually became the book.

In my first couple of years working with individuals in the world of body language, communication, and personal growth, I saw the same issues coming up over and again. The form of the issues was different from client to client, but the questions were the same. My intention was to create a manual that would be extremely simple, yet comprehensive, to be used by my clients. However, as I stated above, I use the information and exercises found in the book on a daily basis, so I really consider myself the greatest beneficiary of the written work.

Please take note that though it is not a book about Body Language, in my opinion, the greatest tool in the book is an exercise from chapter one called, “Deliberate Breathing,” designed to create powerful change on a physical, mental, and emotional level.

Can body language play a role in emotional wellbeing?

Fake it til you make it

I strongly believe and have experienced that conscious changes in body language can powerfully and positively affect a person’s well-being. Your emotional and mental states can be stimulated by associative muscle memory. When you stand tall, pull your shoulders back, lift the chin slightly, broaden your lips into a smile, and wrinkle up the little lines around your eyes, you send a signal to the brain that says, “Oh, this is what happiness feels like.” The brain then starts having thoughts that sound like, “Hey, we’re feeling good right now. Not sure why, but we are.” If you practice this physical state of being and even walk it around the room for a few minutes, you notice that you really do start to feel your best.

It is often called, “Fake it, til’ you make it.” Simply put, if you adopt the body language of a desired feeling - happiness, confidence, excitement, joy, or sensuality - for a few minutes or more, your emotional state begins to correspond and be in alignment with the adopted physical cues. Sincere physical imitation of a desired state of being leads to a genuine emotional well-being. Don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself. It works and it feels great!

Could you tell us something about NexAim?

Ah, Nexaim is the brainchild of my collaboration with corporate consultant and good friend, Mike Amado. Essentially, NexAim is an offering for organizations that realize that we as a society are at a moment in which it is necessary to balance head and heart, logic and feeling, and business prosperity with human integrity.

Mike and I each work from our perspective disciplines to analyze the communication and management styles within an organization, determine what is of great benefit and what is not, and then implement transformative changes based on that information to create a more noble prosperity within the organization. Mike is the left-brained, logical thinker and I am the right-brained, creative feeler. We are a most interesting pairing. If you visit the NexAim website, there are several articles that people can download for free, which provide some interesting perspectives and useful suggestions for approaching business from a balanced point of view.

Who influenced you to pursue a career in body language?

I have always been aware of body language, even before I knew the term “body language.” As a child, I was conscious that a person’s words were not always congruent with what the person really meant or felt. I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision to become a body language specialist. Like many of the best things in life, it came about through a series of synchronistic events. First, I studied acting and a particular part of that study included, “Meisner Technique.” The technique includes a listening and responding exercise in which you keep all focus on your partner, only changing your verbal response when you notice a change in your partner. That change is almost always detectable by a change in body language on a subtle level. I found that I was exceptionally good at this exercise. Later, I studied improvisation with several training programs including The Groundlings. This amazing and fun work extended the listening and responding work I had learned from Meisner Technique.

During those days of study, I worked teaching acting, public speaking, and auditioning techniques. To become a better teacher, I discovered books about body language and began to devour whatever I could find. Years later, I’d find myself back in school at The Behavior Science Center (aka, HMI) studying NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), Hypnotherapy, Communication Techniques, and Body Language. I excelled at the Body Language portion of the curriculum. I began to take any ancillary workshops, seminars, and courses in body language. Eventually, when I started my practice and began working with clients, body language and hypnosis were my two primary tools for implementing behavioral change.

Fast forward a couple of years and I was working on television helping individuals and couples with relationships using body language and communication on TLC. There I met and worked with the UK’s Body Language Expert and “Flirt Queen,” Tracey Cox. Tracey is still a dear, dear friend and trusted colleague. I’ve never had so much fun doing body language analyses as I did during my two years working with Tracey.

Somewhere during all of this working, training, and fun, I found myself being “the Body Language Guy” in the media and my television career continued from there. Today, I still read everything that comes out on body language and I regularly work with information and online programs associated with and created by Dr. Paul Ekman. Facial micro-expressions as related to human emotions are still one of my top areas of interest and study in the world of body language.

How does having an adept understanding of body language affect your private life?

Okay, here we go. People always ask me, “Can you turn it off?” The answer is no. I am always aware of body language. However, I have made a conscious distinction between when I am working as a hired consultant, leader, or coach, and when I am on personal time. The difference is that I will offer up my thoughts, observations and opinions in work situations without hesitation. With family and friends, I don’t mention anything I notice unless I am asked. Even then, I always follow up with, “Are you sure you really want to know?” I think the reasons behind this are obvious.

How can a group or business benefit from your services?

I really enjoy working with groups and businesses. I have had the pleasure to work with non-profit organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Upward Bound House. I have also worked in the corporate world with Bloomingdales and Paul Mitchell the School. Whether I am facilitating a retreat with a specific intention, coaching an upper management or executive team, or hired to appear as a keynote speaker, the organization always receives inspiration, compassion, reliable knowledge, trusted experience, humanity, humor, and fun.

Usually an organization will contact me about an upcoming event or a particular issue happening within the group. By telephone or skype, I find out as much as I can to tailor my expertise to their needs and to their culture without ever sacrificing the heart of what I do. Authenticity is not easily taught. My intention with each and every thing I do is to be authentic, true, real, and human, and to have fun while doing it.

What have you got planned for the rest of 2012?

2012 is a great year. I continue to work with my clients in person in my offices in Los Angeles and clients around the world by phone or Skype. I continue to coach and speak with businesses and organizations. I regularly appear alongside Dr. Drew on Headline News as a body language correspondent analyzing persons of interest. I have a lot of travel coming up both foreign and domestic during the summer. I am recording my book in audio format for a holiday release.

The most exciting thing is the new documentary I am working on with ACIM student and teacher, Craig Villarrubia ( titled, “A Course In Miracles: Enlightenment or Bust!” This is a very passionate project for me as it really puts me back into the student seat. It is from this position that I learn the most. I have no idea when we will wrap shooting or when it will be released, but we are having a lot of fun with the process. I will be posting on my website and facebook page about the project. For more on this, visit Craig’s page. It is enlightening and funny! That’s a great combination.

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Body Language from the Heart Part 1.

Body Language from the Heart Part 2.

Essential Reading

Who Are You Choosing To be

Book Details:

Anything Is Possible!

This book is designed to be a personal coaching tool that assists you in exploring and proving the above statement to be true for you by awakening conscious choice and inspiring deliberate action. Through the questions, perspectives, and exercises found in this book, you are led through a practical, easy to follow, step-by-step journey into rediscovering, recovering, and revitalizing your ability to "create without boundaries" and believe that "anything is possible."

Click Here for full details.

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