When you are having a verbal conversation with someone, you can generally tell how they feel about the subject you’re discussing by listening to the tone and pitch of their voice and the passion (or lack thereof) in their presentation. But did you know it’s what you don’t say in a conversation that can often speak louder than your words?
The way we communicate with our bodies can be a dead giveaway as to how we actually feel about a particular subject or discussion. The research shows that more than half of half of all human communication is non verbal. Our body language is the unspoken element of communication that we use to reveal our true feelings and emotions. This includes our facial expressions, gestures and posture.
Let’s say you are in a meeting at work and you don’t happen to agree with what is being said. You don’t have to say a word but, subconsciously, you may be sitting with your arms folded, rolling your eyes (or constantly looking around the room or down to the floor). You could also have a scowl on your face without even being conscious of it. It will be perceived as negative body language and could have repercussions for you.
The same goes for a classroom setting where the teacher will just assume you’re bored and not paying attention if you display non verbal behavior such slumping in your seat, staring off into space, fidgeting with your hair, clothes or doodling with a pencil.
The most important non verbal communication component is, in my expert opinion, eye contact. Looking someone in the eye when you are talking to them builds an instant rapport and signals to them that you are interested in engaging with them in dialogue. Absence of eye contact shows a lack of interest and understanding.
So the next time you’re having a conversation with someone, watch how they interact with you. Are they looking at you directly or are they staring off into space as if they’re not interested in what you have to say. Are they smiling or frowning? Understanding non verbal communication can go a long way to helping you better communicate with others and interpreting what others might be trying to convey.
Non verbal Communication Matters.