Founder of Kinetics as a science of human movement, author of the «Kinetic Image» concept. Author of the video analysis of human behavior method. Founder of the School of Kinetic Image. Author of the book «Alpha Code. Nonverbal language of body movements of the highest status»



Valentin, why does a person need to improve their kinetic image?

In short, to facilitate communication, to increase your influence on others, to raise your status, to make your life more comfortable. Your body movement forms an impression of you. For more than 24 years I have been studying the influence of our postures, silhouettes, movements, gestures on other people and how this impression can be managed. This is my area of professional interest.

What inspired you to research this topic? Tell us more about it.

It was summer, the beginning of school vacation. My mom and I were at the dacha. I had just received a bicycle as a gift, and rushed out of the house to take my first ride. But then my mom stopped me: «Wait. Look how beautifully the cat is lying down!» How does it matter how the cat is lying, when I have a new bike and a whole summer ahead of me? And then my mom told me, «You’re neither here nor there, you’re nowhere. You don’t notice anything around you. Look around, you’re missing the beauty of the moment. Once the moment is gone, it will never come again. If you miss it now, your soul will be impoverished by that beauty, and then you will have nothing to share with the world. If you are here and now, however, you will be able to take that beauty into yourself, and when you socialize with people, you will have something to share. Look how the cat is lying on this side, and on the other side… what grace it has, what curves!» At that moment I realized how important it is to be here and now, to see the situation from different sides and to pay attention to the details. Even the pose of an ordinary cat can delight, create beauty. As Michelangelo Buonarotti said, «Perfection consists of little things, and perfection itself is not a little thing». I believe that these little things determine the quality of our life, relationships, and what we communicate to the world.

Was your mom the first person who gave you that idea?

I’d say it was my grandfather. He was a high school geography teacher for 45 years. He was tall and handsome. The students used to call him The Count. My grandfather told me many interesting things, including the one about a choice: «If you are faced with a choice and do not know what to do, take a step forward. Because by refusing to choose, you will do nothing. You’re here as a result of previous choices you’ve made. And the choice is always the same, the choice to change». In fact, he talked about being adaptive, which is the foundation of our lives. Yes, go ahead, fall down and rise up, challenge yourself and don’t be afraid of anything! If you don’t know what to do, just take a step forward. My whole family are teachers and that was the basis for me to start gathering information, noticing details. There is one expression I particularly like, «The one who sees the invisible can do the impossible». The main thing is to see the invisible, and then the impossible becomes possible. This is what we teach in our School of Kinetic Image – to see what others do not notice.

So you can learn how to manage the way people perceive you? 

Yes, you can. The main thing is the desire to notice seemingly insignificant details. For example, now I’m sitting uptight and clenched. And it feels uncomfortable being around me. But if I relax, you will immediately feel more comfortable. You can instantly change the impression of yourself and create the right atmosphere. The ability to present yourself correctly is a talent that can and should be developed. When you just sit next to a person, it is important to do it correctly. Even in this case we should take into account certain details: the position of legs, the turn of a head, the angle of the body. The secret of the right impression is in the little details. I named this science «Kinetics», from the Greek κινείται (kineitai) that means «to move». The world of movement is amazing, it will surely fascinate you. The only downside of it is that it can’t be unseen. For example, once you realize how a sharp angle affects your body, you can never stop noticing it.

Many people believe that clothes make the man, and if someone wants to be successful, stylish and elegant, they just need to dress in branded clothes. Is this true?

Karl Lagerfeld said: «Elegance is a physical quality. If a naked woman doesn’t have it, she is unlikely to be elegant in her clothes». I remember many years ago I conducted a master class on non-verbal communications for stylists, specialists in gabitar image. I received so much gratitude for this topic from the professionals with the great experience! That’s when the concept of a «dressed-up crocodile» emerged. You can invest a lot of money and effort in dressing up a client, but if the movements do not correspond to the status, the output will be just a dressed-up crocodile. Many of the stylists after that master class joined the training and became ambassadors of the School of Kinetic Image. Then I started getting enquiries from public speakers, psychologists, salespeople to understand how to apply my knowledge in their work and improve results. I began to actively pass on my author’s methodology, so that professionals could use it and raise the quality of people’s lives and make them better.

When some person shows themselves as a bright individual, it is usually called «being charismatic»! What do you think about charisma?

If I direct my thoughts and energy inside myself, there will be no charisma. We as people are like opening buds, we grow outward. Remember, when we start talking about something interesting, we open up, we gesticulate actively, our eyes shine. Our energy wave, our light, and openness create charisma. Sometimes at my individual consultations I see people who are directed inward. As a rule, something is going wrong with them, or they are going through some unpleasant situation. A person immediately goes inward, the charisma disappears, the light goes out, they fold up. I do everything I can to help them start moving in a different way. Within one hour of work I observe how the person’s gaze and their energy are already directed outward. Their eyes glow, they feel happy. Inspiring people to show themselves in the best manner and making them feel happy is the meaning of my work.

But, unfortunately, eyes fade with age anyway, don’t they? Or do you think that even in old age one can shine, be charismatic and remain open to the world?

A person manifests themselves differently in different ages, situations and states of mind. Yes, by old age many people get tired and wind down, trying to occupy less space and spend less energy. Why does this happen? The question «Why?» refers to the past. I am a practitioner, I am interested in the present, and what can be done in a given situation. «What for?», «How can it be better?» are questions about the future. When we evaluate gestures, behavior, and the impression as a whole, we first make a video with the client, and then one second at a time I stop the frame and ask, «How is it for you? Do you like it? What can be changed?» And the person sees his or her own mistakes and the ways to change them.

What is the right behavior? What is definitely not the right thing to do?

There is no right or wrong behavior. There are behaviors that are appropriate or inappropriate in that particular situation. For example, if a person has gestures or behavioral patterns that express threat – these are obvious inaction. Or, for example, if I bite my lip or twitch my leg – these are adaptors that indicate nervousness. There are also sexual signals. For example, when a woman walks in and says hello while tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. If you turn off the sound and leave only gestures, the body immediately sends sexual signals. Consciously looking after the behavior in order to avoid the mistakes doesn’t work in most cases. The changes need to be remembered by the body and exhibit certain behavioral patterns as needed, where it is appropriate.

Do people really read body signals better than words?

Subconsciously, of course. The fact is that people have been communicating with words in existing and dead languages for about 200,000 years. Before that, for millions of years, people communicated without words, like animals. You can go to any country and adopt a threatening attitude, the reaction will be the same for everyone. And if you shut down and behave insecurely, anyone anywhere will feel it. By what your body broadcasts, one can understand your status without any words. A key feature of communication is that your body does not communicate with your mind, but with the other person’s body. What speaks to the body? It communicates with the reptilian brain, the subconscious mind at a deep level, which is responsible for two basic things – survival and continuation of the species. And this kind of communication is 100 million years old. Our ancestors did not have consciousness, but they were able to identify their own kind or a stranger, someone dangerous and someone safe. Dostoevsky has a wonderful phrase: «Is it a trembling creature or does it have a right?» And how do we determine who is «trembling» and who is «entitled»? By confidence! And confidence can be both fake and true. We always trust behavior more than words. It is the feeling that is the «words» of the reptilian area of the brain. Why is it important to meet in person, when it comes to important deals? To see what the body communicates. Why did everyone suffer in the online era when COVID-19 came along? Because there was a lack of non-verbal information.

What is the most important thing in the art of presenting yourself, managing an impression?

Being yourself. Shakespeare wrote an interesting monologue 400 years ago, «Polonius’ Advice to Laertes, Divided into Pieces of Advice». I can agree with every word of it.

«Give thy thoughts no tongue,

Nor any unproportioned thought his act.

Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,

Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;

But do not dull thy palm with entertainment

 Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade.

Beware Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,

Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee.

Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;

Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,

But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;

For the apparel oft proclaims the man,

And they in France of the best rank and station

Are of a most select and generous chief in that.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be;

For loan oft loses both itself and friend,

And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

This above all: to thine ownself be true,

And it must follow, as the night the day,

Thou canst not then be false to any man».

That’s axiomatic to me. Whatever I do, I won’t bend to something I don’t need.

But it’s important to distinguish between 3 factors:

1) do what you want

2) don’t do what you don’t want to do

3) wish for only what is necessary

If people around you are unhappy, you will not be happy either. Learn to create a favorable atmosphere and you will get more out of life. And finally, do not tolerate anything that makes you feel bad. It is better to leave this situation. And you can withdraw to the side, or you withdraw into your own shell. There is nothing worse than the latter. You will curl up, lose your vital energy and thrill. You should not be afraid to move forward, to change something, to open up, to show yourself! I believe we all should live based on this concept.