About 93 percent of communication is non-verbal, making your body your most important tool for expression – your communication beyond the spoken word. If you say nothing at all, you still communicate through the language of your body, its stance, gesture and movement. Some body talk is conscious and some unconscious. Some is purposeful, intentional and some we cannot help – a tell.
Distance signals how close we allow others to get. Aggressiveness communicates a need for control. Hesitation conveys doubt, disbelief or a lack of willingness to take action or participate. A head turned away can be a sign of disinterest or discomfort, quite the contrast from looking someone in the eye with a still head and unblinking eyes that convey, “I respect you and am interested in what you have to say”. We know when someone rises, packs up their purse or briefcase and grabs their keys that the meeting is over and they did not have to say a word.
Have your heard someone say, “Just go and have a good time”, and you noticed his or her pursed lips, firmly drawn together telling you something quite a bit different? Have you heard, “It’s fine with me”, and noticed a clenched jaw, biting the bullet? Are you confused when someone says, “Let’s go”, and then hesitates? Do you believe the words or the body? When you feel a body-to- body communication in your gut, listen to it. Go with the body – the truest form of communication and far more reliable than words.
The first impressions we give to others are non-verbal and likewise, we form opinions of others long before we speak with them. We can sense a person’s age, aggressiveness or passiveness, optimism or pessimism, laziness or energy and if they make us feel good or bad. What we think of a person evolves as we compare spoken language to the language of the body. When they are contradictory, trust can become an issue. Trust the body, not the words. The body does not lie.
Diane Whitacre, Structural Anatomist, RT ©2017