Words. Most people know “the feel,” which with mothers seems common. As a kid, all you wanted to be that long look from your mom when you were out and getting up to no good, to stop you dead in your tracks. You knew instinctively that when you returned home you would be grounded for about twenty years – and you didn’t even need to utter words! That was the Nonverbal Communication force.
Something similar happens in everyday life whether you realize it or not. And you will be able to build better connections around you, by learning more about it.
Nonverbal communication helps you to express yourself better
The world was shocked when the affair between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky was proven-after he vehemently denied it! And there were other telltale signs that he was lying, including rubbing his nose more than three times that which is natural. This is because blood pressure increases when a person lies due to stress, which in effect causes the nerves around the nose to tingle or feel itchy
“Micro-expressions” are minute facial expressions that differ from other facial expressions and are almost impossible to falsify. Knowing nonverbal gestures will not only allow you to connect and communicate better with others but will also improve your ability to talk.
There are different types of nonverbal communication, and can be easily forgotten
Research on nonverbal communication began in 1872, when Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals was published. Experts have since noticed that, in addition, a large portion of our dialog or experiences are not dependent on words:
Hand movements convey a lot of information
A hand put on the chin’s cheek or stroking suggests that the person is in deep thought. Nail biting or hair-fidgeting suggests nervousness or insecurity.
Facial expressions can be interpreted differently
That makes up a large percentage of nonverbal communication.
Consider how many different kinds of smiles you may have seen; different smiles that translate joy, nostalgia, frustration, or even sadness.
A lower head with a downward-looking face may mean that the person either hides something or is simply shy.
Posture can suggest a person’s attitude
Much is demonstrated by the way a person carries himself while standing or sitting.
Arms crossed at the chest can suggest a feeling of a defensive state. Getting ankles crossed while sitting or standing will make you feel anxious
Eye contact says a lot about what a person is thinking
The eyes are believed to be portals to the soul. There are so many things that the eyes give away-even saying a lot about the inability to make eye contact.
People prefer to look upwards and to the right, when they are not honest, and when they recall something they look upwards to the left. (That can be the reverse for left-handed people.)
Digital expressions and emojis can make text emotional
A new form of nonverbal communication has emerged in the social media. The latest trend varies from the emoticons people use, to intentional status changes or photographs sharing to generate a reaction.
By one simple click of a button, people can be clear about how they feel without words to show either a smiling face or a sad face.
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To interact with others better, try these small communication techniques
To begin with, if you start by becoming more aware of the nonverbal signs around you, your interactions will immediately start to improve.
There are also a lot of little things you can do to help connect without even saying a word.
Be mindful about your small gestures
Remember how your own body language comes through.
For example, do you smile when you meet someone for the first time? If so, then what’s your smile saying? A strong eye contact handshake and a good smile will make you come across more relaxed.
Be aware of any body language inconsistencies
Whether on yourself or the other person, do the words conform to what the body is saying?
When you say “I’m doing well” with a wide smile, or when you say it with a deep sigh, remember the various meanings. Saying it with a warm smile would mean honesty and you truly feel “hot.” If it’s followed by a loud sigh or a feeling of dejection, it’s the opposite.
Don’t misunderstand stress with dishonesty
How many times have you known people who read too much in texts or telephone calls, simply because the person on the other end was having a stressful day and so they found themselves angry?
When tired, it’s easy to misread someone or misinterpret them, so be mindful of this when you’re having a tough day. If you feel particularly stressed next time you receive a text or email, maybe it’s best to delay your response until you’re calmer.
Pay attention to others’ reactions
Greater attention to nonverbal communication in others will help you to more effectively communicate with others.
For instance, if you are with someone whose hands are clasped in front of them, this may indicate that they feel vulnerable or not as comfortable. Then think about what to do to make them feel more comfortable.
Practice these little techniques every day and every time you talk to others and you’re going to be much better at communicating with your body languages too.