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Home » Reading Minds Through Body Language: Lynne Franklin (Transcript)

Reading Minds Through Body Language: Lynne Franklin (Transcript)

Lynne Franklin

Here is the full transcript and summary of author Lynne Franklin’s talk: Reading Minds Through Body Language @ TEDxNaperville conference. This event happened on November 10, 2017.

Listen to the MP3 Audio:


Lynne Franklin – Persuasive Communicator

Hi, I’m Lynne Franklin. I have one question for you. How would you like to be a mind reader?

Because part of me is thinking I bet your mind’s thinking that’s not going to happen.

Here’s the truth. People’s brains process information they think in three different ways. And their body language will tell you all day long what their primary style is. You just need to know what to look for and what to do when you see it.

And it’s not one of those where she’s leaning back, her arms across, she’s frowning so she must be unhappy. It’s actually understanding how their brains work and then presenting your information in a way that people can see it, hear it, and feel it, and increase the chances that they’ll say yes to whatever you’re proposing, and also decrease the chances that you’ll do something stupid. Like this!

Back in my 20s, before I knew any of this stuff, I had a client who was a corporate controller. And he would sit across from me in meetings and he was always looking down with the occasional glance up.

And I thought, “Okay. Well, he’s a numbers guy. He just feels comfortable looking at the numbers.”

And then as time went on, I thought, well, you know he’s just socially inept and he doesn’t know how to give me eye contact.

And finally because I was young and stupid, I thought every time he’s looking up, he’s looking at my chest and I’m offended. And there was one point I actually went to meeting and went, “Excuse me. I’m up here.”

Ooh! Yeah talk about judgmental.

Here’s the scoop. This guy’s brain worked in a way that he was never going to give me eye contact. And no matter how many times I modeled the behavior I wanted him to use, all that did was make both of us feel uncomfortable.

So how can you tell — how can you read people’s body language to read your minds?

We’re going to show you right now, and that means I’m going to bring out our first body language model: James. Thank you James.


James represents 75% of the world. You didn’t know this about James but James is a looker. What that means is that James’s brain thinks in pictures and images — in pictures and images.

And here’s how we can tell that James is a looker from his body language. First thing, he stands up tall. He has good posture.

Second, he’s dressed well because appearance is important to lookers.

The next thing you’ll notice about James is that he holds a little stress in his shoulders. Lift up your shoulders a little bit. Yeah, keeps all the stress there.

Next thing you’ll notice he has wrinkles in his forehead, because James looks up when he remembers something he has seen and he looks up more often than most of us do.

Next thing you notice about James is that he has thin lips, suck them in. And you know this is a chicken and egg thing. We’re not quite sure why lookers have thin lips but most of them do.

And the other thing about lookers is they give you lots of eye contact. Look at him, look at him, look at him. All of them. Look at all of them. Thanks James.

Okay now that you know that James is a looker, here are the two things you do to build rapport with him.

The first is that you give him lots of eye contact, because he literally believes if you do not look at him, you are not paying attention to him and you are ignoring him.

The second thing you do with lookers is you give them words that have a visual component to it. I see what you mean, or look at this. Or let’s picture working together this way.

So you use the type of language that is going on in James’s brain. Those are Lookers. 75% of people in the world.


Our next body language model is Marge. And Marge represents 20% of the people in the world. Marge is a listener. What this means is that Marge’s brain thinks in words and sounds, in words and sounds. And this is the body language that you will see in a listener.

First, Marge, not as well dressed as James, because appearance is not as important to her. Sorry Marge.

Next, Marge has a tendency to look down into the left because that’s where you look when you are remembering something you have heard.

Next thing, you notice about Marge is that a lot of times she’ll put her head in her hand. It’s called telephone posture.

Other things you’ll notice about Marge is that she has a tendency to mumble to herself. Go ahead mumble. And it’s not that she’s crazy; it’s that she thinks in words and sounds, so she’s literally talking to herself.

Another thing you’ll notice about Marge – yep, she’s the pen clicker and the banger on the pen on the table.

These are listeners. 20% of the people in the world. Thanks Marge.

You want to appeal to listeners? You do two things.

First thing: you do not give them lots of eye contact, it freaks them out. That’s exactly what was going on with that corporate controller. So what you do is, with them when they’re speaking you look at them and then you look away. And when you’re speaking you look at them and then look away.

The second thing you do with listeners is that you use words that are auditory. That sounds good to me. Or let’s talk this over. That’s the type of language their brain uses so you’re using that to appeal with them. Listeners 20% of the people in the world.


And our final body language model is Marina and Marina represents 5% of the people in the world. Give a round of applause.

Marina is a toucher, not what you think. What that means is that Marina’s brain thinks in feelings and tactile, in feelings and tactile and here’s the kind of body language you will see in a toucher.

First thing and the biggest talent touchers is whether or not they’ve ever met you before in their lives, they are ready to hug you.

Second thing, you’ll notice about touchers is that they are dressed for comfort rather than style.

Next thing is that they have full lip, skin big lips. Same thing, I know – touchers have full lips.

Next thing you’ll notice about touchers is that they have a tendency to lean in, because they are trying to decrease the amount of physical space between you and them and build rapport that way.

Touchers also have a tendency to reach out and touch your arm and when they’re in conversation with you.

And touchers also have a tendency to look down because that’s where you look when you’re remembering something you have felt. Thanks Marina.

All right. You want to build rapport with touchers, 5% of the people in the world, here are the two things you do.

If you feel comfortable, let them touch you. Appropriately please. But if you don’t feel comfortable, because a lot of us if you’ve never met somebody before and they’re ready to give you a bear hug, you know the last thing you want to do is go — because we’ve all done that and it does not build rapport.

So if a toucher is coming at you and you don’t feel comfortable, stick your hand out. Give these people a point of contact with you. That’s what they’re looking for.

The second thing you do with touchers is you use language that either has a feeling to it or is tactile. So I want to hear how you’re feeling about this. Let’s get in touch, reach out and tell me what you think. That’s the kind of language that appeals to touchers, people who process information in feelings and tactile.

So I’m going to read your mind again and you’re probably thinking, so which one of these three am I. Let’s figure that out right now.

What I want you to do is close your eyes and remember an important memory. Now this could be something from your childhood maybe your 10th birthday party; it could be something that happened to you last week. So an important memory.

Now I want you to pay attention to how you’re remembering it. Are you remembering it like a movie or a series of pictures and images? Are you remembering it by hearing what people said or describing what happened? Or are you remembering it how you felt or how things felt to you?

Okay. Open up your eyes. How many remembered it like a movie? Right, most of you.

How many of you were describing it to yourself remembering what people said? Right, listeners.

And finally, how many of you remember how you felt or how things felt to you? Right. Now you know who you are. That’s the good news.

Here’s the bad news. You’re going to treat everybody else as though they think the same way and you’ve already seen how awful that can be when you’re working with a corporate controller who has a different way of thinking.

Here’s my invitation to you. I want you to start paying attention to other people’s body language to figure out how they think, because here’s the magic part of it.

Once you start presenting your ideas in a way that they get them, they will say yes to you more often.

But here’s the scoop too. I’m not asking you to become somebody else, because you can’t change how your brain works. It’s true you think in all three ways but just the way you have a dominant hand you have a dominant style, you can’t change that.

But what you can do is accommodate your language, both body and verbal, with the people you’re with in order to build rapport which allows you to reach the full spectrum of people that you’re hanging out with.

And here’s the other magic thing. You don’t even have to be in somebody’s presence to figure out how their brains work. Interested? Right. All you need to do is listen to or look at the words they’re using. So if you’re in a phone conversation, listen for the words. If you’re reading an email look at the words.

People who are lookers will use more visual language. People who are listeners will use more auditory words, and people who are touchers will use more feeling and kinesthetic words. You don’t have to be in that same space to know where they are.

So here’s my challenge to you. Go back and read some of the emails that you have sent and you will notice now that you know who you are, the kind of language that you’re using and it’ll back that up. It happens with everybody.

So 10 minutes ago you didn’t think you could read people’s body language to read their minds. And now you know what to do.

So practice the stuff on the people at home, or the people at work and when you do this and when you use these tools to build rapport with all kinds of different people, you’ll become the most persuasive person in the room.

Thank you.

Want a summary of this talk? Here it is.


In this TEDx Talk, Lynne Franklin discusses how to read people’s body language to gain insights into their thought processes and effectively communicate with them based on their primary cognitive style. She introduces three primary styles: Lookers, Listeners, and Touchers, each representing different ways people think and process information.

1. Lookers (75% of the population): People who think in pictures and images.

   – Look for good posture, well-dressed individuals.

   – May exhibit stress in their shoulders.

   – Often have wrinkles in their forehead from looking up.

   – Tend to have thin lips.

   – Give lots of eye contact.

   To build rapport with Lookers, provide plenty of eye contact and use visual language like “I see what you mean” or “Let’s picture working together this way.”

2. Listeners (20% of the population): People who think in words and sounds.

   – May not be as concerned with their appearance.

   – Tend to look down and to the left when recalling auditory information.

   – May put their head in their hand (telephone posture).

   – Sometimes mumble to themselves.

   – May click pens or tap objects.

   To connect with Listeners, avoid excessive eye contact. Instead, look at them when they’re speaking and then look away. Use auditory language such as “That sounds good to me” or “Let’s talk this over.”

3. Touchers (5% of the population): People who think in feelings and tactile sensations.

   – Ready to hug and value comfort over style.

   – Often have full lips.

   – Tend to lean in to reduce physical distance.

   – May touch your arm during conversation.

   – Look down when recalling tactile sensations.

   To establish rapport with Touchers, allow appropriate physical contact if you feel comfortable. Alternatively, offer a handshake to provide a point of contact. Use language with a tactile or emotional component, like “I want to hear how you’re feeling about this” or “Let’s get in touch.”

Lynne Franklin emphasizes the importance of recognizing these cognitive styles in others and adjusting your communication style accordingly. By doing so, you can increase your chances of persuading and connecting with people effectively. Additionally, she suggests that you can identify these styles by paying attention to the language individuals use, whether in spoken conversations or written communication, even when not in their physical presence.

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