Mark Bowden is a keynote speaker and world renowned expert in human behaviour, body language, and communication. Mark has done presentation training and communication coaching for Fortune 500 CEOs and G8 Leaders. He is the creator of TRUTHPLANE®, a communication training company for anyone who has to communicate with impact to an audience. Mark is the author of several books, including the bestseller “Winning Body Language,” and his most recent release, “Truth and Lies,” which he co-authored with Tracey Thomson.
In this interview, Mark first discusses the work that he does with business professionals to help them deliver more effective and engaging presentations. He explains how he developed an acute awareness of visual images and how nonverbal factors influence communication. Mark then talks about validation and the need to feel safe and accepted, and reveals some of the evolutionary reasons behind these needs. He also references Dr. Paul Ekman and his work with micro-gestures and emotions.
Next, we ask Mark why body language is such an important part of communication. He talks about the various aspects of body language, and dispels some common misconceptions. Chris discusses why people sometimes send mixed signals. Mark then provides an example of how reading between the lines can bring up biases and feelings. He explains why the power is in what happens around something, such as the environment, context, and meaning, and not the thing itself. Chris also talks about the ease of meeting people depending on where you are and who you’re with.
Mark then offers strategies for making better first impressions and winning the best opportunities to meet people. He explains why the typical advice of “just be yourself” misses the mark. He discusses the balance between understanding the needs of others and satisfying and expressing ourselves. Mark then reveals the two most important social skills: lying and telling the truth. Chris and Mark go on to explain the idea of power and its relation to size and position. They also talk about healthy levels of validation needed in order to connect with people.
We ask Mark how people can become more aware of their body language and make improvements. He explains what rapport is and offers tips on how to gain it. He then discusses how to become more influential by appealing to people’s deep psychological needs. Mark and Chris go more in depth on the need of acceptance, and Mark explains how to let people know that they are accepted. They also talk about how people define themselves, and how personality is a continuum.
Mark offers some practical ways that people can experiment with their personalities. He also discusses additional tools to build rapport besides mirroring, including space and time. Finally, we ask Mark how people can become more adept at reading others, and how to tell when someone is being truthful or deceptive. He describes situations where we should assume positive or negative intent of others. Mark then offers some last tips on how to use the knowledge discussed in this interview to become more successful with making friends, dating, and building relationships.
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