Conversation Tips – Are They Interested?

Posted: March 8, 2010 in Mentalism

Conversation Tips

During conversation do you ever wonder whether someone really is as interesting as you think they are? When you’re sitting there listening to someone talking about something they did the other night, or that they’re interested in and you really couldn’t care less what they did, I expect you’ll add in the occasional nod and “yeah”, but how can we really tell whether someone is genuinely interested in what we’re talking about by observing their body language?

To do this, we have to look at three key things. The eyes, facial expressions and the way a person is standing/sitting. When someone is interested their pupils will dilate (grow wider) automatically, this is something that we have very little control over, although with some practice we can make our pupils grow wider, although that’ll be discussed in another article during the next couple of weeks. So next time you’re talking to someone look at their eyes although try not to stare, and see whether their pupils are dilated, if they’re not, then it might be time to change the conversation.

A word of warning on this, our pupils dilate and contract when light conditions change, so if you’re standing in a very brightly lit area, their pupils maybe contracted (small) to stop the amount of light getting into the eyes. Someone who is on medication may also have dilated or constricted eyes, which is why this should be used in conjunction with what’s written below before deciding whether they’re interested or not.

The next thing we’ll move onto is facial expressions. Its fairly easy to see by looking at facial expressions to see whether someone is bored or not, and this can be a big clue to whether they’re interested in what you’re talking about. The three main things to look at here are;

  1. Half Open Eyelids
  2. Raised Eyebrows, a sign of trying to stay awake
  3. Sometimes there is a slightly puckered mouth or side placement of the mouth.

So, they’re the main facial expressions to look out for to see whether a person is growing bored. Again, this is just one of the signs and doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not interested, someone who has had a rough nights sleep may also show these expressions.

Click to Enlarge

The third thing, is probably one of the most important along with Pupil Dilation and that’s the body language side of things. It helps if you know the person well on this occasion because you should already know their baseline.( a baseline is how a person would normally act) When someone is interested in a conversation they will stand with both feet pointing towards you, this indicates that they’re ready, and happy to interact with you. The picture on the left is an example to show you what I mean (click the picture to enlarge)

If they’re no longer interested in what you’re saying, then they are likely to take more of a closed stance, they may cross their arms, and one of their feet may turn to point towards a door, or another area of the room. When someones foot points away, they’re usually pointing in the direction that they’d like to walk in and when this happens, its usually best to change the conversation because it’s no longer satisfying for them.

Click to Enlarge

The picture on the right shows what I mean by one foot pointing away, you’ll have to excuse it’s cartoonyness, it’s the best picture that I could find which demonstrates what I mean perfectly.

I find that its best to look for all three of the things I have talked about above before deciding whether someone is interested or not, it may seem like a lot to do whilst in the middle of talking, however with a little practice it’ll very quickly become second nature to you, this is a fantastic way to stay interesting when talking to friends and even people that you’ve just met, as soon as you can see that they’re losing interested simply change the topic to something else, until you get a hit with something they’d enjoy talking about, if you’re having no luck then simply ask questions about themselves. People love to talk about themselves, so you’re very unlikely to go wrong by doing that.

  1. […] Photography « Conversation Tips – Are They Interested? […]

  2. ross says:

    Well a very good post Mr Danny, spot on too, i always look at the feet nowadays and face but as the feet are the most honest part of the body it gives me a very good indication on a few things.
    1) If they want to be somewhere else?
    2) If they want to chat too you?
    3) How comfortable they feel also?

    I find these can be answered just by there feet and unlocked legs or locked legs. I started watching out for this very quickly and as u say it ‘becomes second nature to you’ very fast indeed, Hurricane x

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