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Signs of Approval

The Language of NVC

NLP Exercise One

NVC Signs of Approval

Interpreting NVC Signs

NLP Exercise Two

Acts of Rejection

NLP Exercise Three

Other NVC Signs


NLP lessons: rapport

Instant Rapport

NLP Communication

How The Mind Works

NLP & Human Capability

Building Rapport Secrets

12 Golden NLP-3 Rules

NVC PNL Secrets

NLP-3 & The Enneagram

Decoding Personality Types


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secrets of non-verbal communication

In this lesson, some NLP-3 rules are suggested by which you can decipher levels of interest, liking and pleasure that your interlocutors may indicate about your topics of discussion and the quality of your communication.

Some behavioral rules are included in this lesson, which will enable you to carry out effective modeling and mirroring to obtain rapport.

signs of unconscious approval and rejection

Since the majority of communication comes spontaneously from an unconscious level, some interpretations of spontaneous actions and gestures are presented here, these being signs which a person normally sends when enjoying or rejecting a suggested topic.

The aim of this lesson is to translate at a conscious level the unconscious behavior of the people with whom we communicate; using this information to calibrate by NLP-3 our communicative relationships with our children, partners and clients.

the unconscious language of non verbal communication

93% of communication is managed by the unconscious, which uses its own language and which is different from that of our logical side. Understanding the way it expresses itself means to have at hand a mental map of our interlocutor to guide us throughout the interaction. We can thus discover in real time whether what we are doing is the right thing or not. In fact the unconscious expresses itself through messages of approval and rejection. In this section only some non-verbal communication signs will be dealt with, as this topic cannot be discussed thoroughly in one single chapter.

exercise: improve understanding of non-verbal communication

Switch on the television with the sound turned down: try to understand what is happening by only watching non-verbal behaviour! Take down notes about your interpretation processes, jot down your doubts and the new discoveries you make.

After having completed your exercise, go through the following list of non-verbal signs descriptions and compare your findings with them.

non-verbal signs of approval

1. kissing

The subject unconsciously forms a kiss by puckering up his lips slightly, directing it to no one in particular. This act expresses approval towards the topic being discussed or the person they are holding a conversation with.

2. pressing the tongue against the inside of the cheek

This non-verbal gesture generally precedes another approval act, which is the “Lip Licking.” This sign means that your interlocutor is on the way to achieving great empathic potential but hasn’t yet acquired it.

3. touching lips with fingers or the back of the hand

This non-verbal gesture indicates great emotional approval towards the topic being discussed and the person speaking.

4. lip licking

This non-verbal sign consists in rotating the tongue around the lips, or simply exposing it. This represents the greatest sign of approval towards the topic or the person speaking. In general, after this sign has been displayed, you can move towards achieving consensus.

5. lip biting

Our interlocutor is acknowledging the potential for great emotional involvement with us and they are unconsciously inviting us to expand the topic being discussed.

6. finger or object sucking

This non-verbal sign represents utmost fulfilment—with sexual connotations—towards the person speaking or the topic being discussed.

7. playing with the hair

This non-verbal sign too indicates utmost fulfilment towards the person speaking or the topic being discussed but it carries connotations of affection rather than sexual ones.

8. leaning forward of the chest or body

This non-verbal gesture indicates an interest in the topic being discussed by the person we are interacting with.

9. casually moving objects towards oneself

Picking up objects and moving them towards oneself represents an attempt to take ownership of the topic concepts being discussed.

10. the subject touches you in a friendly manner

Such a high level of empathic potential has been reached that the subject unconsciously needs to touch the person speaking.

11. the subject opens his arms and legs

This indicates an opening up towards the person speaking and the topics being discussed.

how to interpret non-verbal communication signs

In order to understand if those we face are expressing approval towards us, or the topic being discussed, just observe if the gestures are being displayed frequently throughout the interaction or only with particular sentences. In fact, if the person is showing us unconscious gestures of approval it is clear that they are being addressed to us. Instead if they are displayed only with particular sentences, the positive signals are only confined to the topic being discussed.

If your interlocutor displays positive signals it means you have prepared well and you have achieved great persuasive potential and the rime is ripe to advance your requests and expect to achieve an agreement—your interlocutor will do everything he can to meet your requirements.

exercise: approval rate evaluation

In this exercise you will be taught how to observe the approval rate shown by the people with whom you currently communicate, as well as your own approval rate that you are giving to others:

  1. When you explain something to someone, for example your partner, what approval rate has your communication got?

  2. When you’re talking to your wife, or to your son, or to your client about a particular subject, are they unconsciously interested in what you’re saying?

  3. When they are talking to you about a particular subject, are you unconsciously interested in what they’re saying?

acts of rejection

1. rubbing the nose with a finger

This sign indicates that the subject is rejecting the topic or the sentence being expressed.

2. leaning the body backwards

This non-verbal gesture symbolically indicates a withdrawal from the topic or from the person speaking.

3. casually moving objects away from oneself

This non-verbal sign indicates a withdrawal from the topics being discussed.

4. brushing away crumbs or dust from clothes or the table

This non-verbal sign represents a desire to be free from topic related problems.

5. throat clearing

This non-verbal sign signifies a rejection of the argument being discussed.

6. crossed legs and folded arms

This non-verbal sign represents closure towards the argument being dealt with or the person speaking. In general, folded arms show that the individual unconsciously wishes that the topic wasn’t brought up. Therefore it does not necessarily indicate closure towards the other person. When someone has a tendency to assume this posture, it means that they have a problem that is external and prefer to be alone in that period.

As far as crossed legs are concerned, they indicate a closure when those whom we face assume a posture that shows the outside of the thigh, symbolizing a sort of barrier towards us. In general the position is inclined to be sideways and not frontal. If any of the above signs are displayed, it means that earlier errors have been made, so you need to stop and understand where you went wrong.

* * *

exercise: rejection rate evaluation

In this NLP-3 exercise you’ll be taught how to observe the rejection rate shown by people with whom you currently communicate, together with the rejection rate you give to others:

  1. When you explain something to someone, for example your partner, what rejection rate does your communication get?

  2. When you’re talking to your wife, your children or with your clients about a particular topic are they unconsciously disinterested in what you’re saying?

  3. When they are talking to you about a particular topic are you unconsciously disinterested in what they’re saying?

other non-verbal communication signs

There are some non-verbal communication signs that express real meaning, which go well beyond simple approval and rejection. It is very important to link signs to words or to the concept that is being expressed, at the time the gesture is being conveyed. In fact I always advise you to make some checks and not take for granted everything that has been displayed. For some of these signs we need to make a distinction between the left side and the right side of the body:

  1. our left side points to the external, to others;

  2. our right side points to ourselves.

Signs of non-verbal communication are communicated through the massaging or scratching of body parts due to vein dilation connected to stress that has overpassed the tolerance limit and therefore gets released. Each sign has got a very precise meaning and it is impossible not to communicate them: they are communicated even in silence.

1. head “scratching”

The sentence or the topic under discussion is creating stress in our interlocutor in that it represents a real headache for him.

2. forehead scratching or massaging

The topic being discussed isn’t very clear. Therefore we are being unconsciously asked to go into more detail.

3. scratching or rubbing the left eye or its corners

The topic being discussed hasn’t been properly understood. This is due to the person who is speaking (external environment) not being clear enough.

4. scratching or rubbing the right eye or its corners

The subject hasn’t understood the topic being discussed, due to his not being able to understand it in that particular moment.

5. scratching or rubbing the left side of the nose

The subject is expressing insecurity arising externally. For example, if we ask one of our friends to lend us his car and we see that he is scratching the left side of his nose, it means that he is not sure he can do us this favour, as maybe there is someone else who is preventing him doing so, (his wife, his mother or someone else who uses the car). Therefore it does not depend on him.

6. scratching or rubbing the right side of the nose

The subject is expressing insecurity arising internally. This means that our friend probably won’t do this favour for us as it bothers him or he has other commitments preventing him from satisfying our needs. Of course, we are talking about unconscious signs and this means that the subject might not be conscious of this difficult situation. In fact, his logical side might make him say that he can lend us his car. Then, afterwards, he will tell us that he can’t do it because he has remembered that he already has a commitment that requires the car.

7. biting the upper lip

We have already examined this sign among those displaying approval, but we need to make a distinction between the upper and the lower lip. The upper lip indicates a lack of sexual fulfilment. Thus the person is unconsciously communicating that the topic being discussed or we ourselves are provoking sexual impulses and that we might be able to compensate them. Therefore, if it is directed towards a person, it means that the subject is unconsciously sexually attracted. Although be careful, don’t blame them as they may not be aware of it from a rational point of view.

In fact here we are talking about the unconscious side and we can’t say that the rational side will accept the recognition of this need. Therefore, don’t jump to conclusions and start charging like a bull just because a person sends you signals of this kind more than once—you might have an ugly surprise. Even if the logical side has only got an importance equal to 7% of communication, it should not be neglected as if it becomes reactive, it can repress unconscious needs. In fact, if we followed our intuition and satisfied nearly all the needs of our emotional side, psychosomatic diseases would no longer exist. Take a look around and you will realise how much the rational side influences.

8. biting the lower lip

The subject is showing a lack of affection and is unconsciously communicating that we might be able to compensate them.

9. scratching or rubbing the ear or the surrounding area

The subject is displaying repressed sexual impulses about the topic under discussion or towards us.

10. playing with a necklace

The subject is expressing a lack of affection and/or sexual fulfilment. The sign becomes stronger if he starts to suck the pendent.

11. playing with a ring or bracelet

We need to make a distinction between simply winding the ring or bracelet around the finger or wrist and playing with it in an up and down motion almost as if trying to remove the object from the limb. The first case displays a strong lack of affection; the second a strong sexual lack: in fact, this unconsciously symbolizes sexual intercourse.

12. touching or playing with a tie

The person is signalling to us that they lack sexual fulfilment. For example, if a man is talking to a woman and repeatedly touches or plays with his tie, he is unconsciously displaying he is sexually attracted to her. Of course, if a woman touches her interlocutor’s tie, it means that she is sexually attracted to him.

13. lifting the left toe up keeping the heel on the ground

Our interlocutor is signalling that they prefer to let us speak.

14. lifting the right toe up keeping the heel on the ground.

Our interlocutor is signalling that they prefer to speak

15. pointing the right foot towards someone

The subject is signalling interest towards the person he is pointing his foot at. Therefore, if while we are talking to a person we observe that he is pointing their right foot towards another person, it means that they would unconsciously prefer to interact with that person. If the foot is pointed at no one in particular or directly at the exit to the room itself, it means they want to leave.