#TheMemo-7 Understanding Body Language

It is no exaggeration to say that communication is at the heart of human existence. In fact we live in communication. Without communication there is no possibility of social interaction, political and economic activities.

In other words we can say that, it is a capacity to communicate which made social cohesion and hence the growth of civilisation possible.

A substantial portion of our communication is non-verbal. Every day, we respond to thousands on non-verbal cues and behaviours including postures, facial expression, eye gazes, gestures, and tone of voice. From our handshakes to our hairstyles, non-verbal details reveal who we are and impact how we relate to other people.

With so much different forms of communication known, body language is still usually the most misunderstood form of communication which is the essence of writing this article and I’m sure it’ll help in a way or two increase your emotional intelligence.

Maybe you have ever thought of the need or the essence to understand why and how a grand knowledge of BODY LANGUAGE can be of tremendous transformation both in personal relationship and in the workplace (professional reasons). In understanding this you should discover overtime what to look for, what to do with it, how much attention to give to it, and how and when to respond.

It’s not helpful to attach a ‘fixed meaning’ to any particular movements as a ‘sign’ of something. Reading body language can be a complicated business, even though we all have a natural ability to do it whilst we’re on the subject of caution – while reading this, remind yourself of any texts or emails you have sent recently.

How would the meaning of a text or email have changed if you had ‘said’ it with a smile or with a cheeky sense of humour? What would it have meant if you said it in an angry voice, still using the same words? How would it have sounded in a gently challenging tone of voice, or if you had delivered in a ‘straight to the point- no nonsense’ kind of way?

The meaning of a face-to-face communication depends to a large extend on your body language and how you use your voice. You do have control over your part of the ‘electronic’ communication… but the receiver may read your message in a way you did not intend!

Here’s a list of a few body language signs you might want to take notice of, they are within your field of vision when you’re having a conversation: General movement in facial muscles – involuntary or deliberate, for example grimacing, twitching, smiling or frowning. Lifting or dropping of the eyebrows may indicate surprise, questioning, wondering or disbelief.

» Frowning can mean discomfort, physical pain (why exactly at that moment, you might ask) anger, suspicion or listening intently.

» Smiling – but notice which facial muscles are moving, Is it a real smile that involves all the facial muscles? An artificial smile would involve only the muscles around the mouth. It leaves no trace of any pleasure and it could be an attempt to hide displeasure, disagreement and/or discomfort.

» Nodding – this can mean all kinds of things.  It could simply be an encouragement for you to say more, or an agreement. It could also be masking negative feelings, even though you might think it implies agreement. It could even be an automatic movement – implying ‘I am listening’, but the listener has really switched off.

» Eye contact and movement of the eyes – avoiding your gaze at one end of the scale and staring at the other. Both could mean the same: “I am uncomfortable, but I don’t want to let on”.

» Looking away can be a way of discouraging communication. It’s well-known, though, that couples in love maintain eye contact for longer than average. We all know about the lifting of eyes to the ceiling too: “Oh for goodness sake” – usually with along with a bit of ‘tutting’

» Winking – which is sometimes hardly noticeable. Winking may simply be a habit someone has developed to communicate comfort or kindness. It can also mean “you and I know what’s going on” or “I like you”

» Size of the pupils – abnormally large may mean shock or absolute terror.  It can also be associated with medication or drug use.

» Neck – you’ll see someone swallowing when they are anxious. What you can’t see is that it’s because their mouth is dry. When someone is feeling uncomfortable they may stroke their neck to soothe themselves.

» Covering the windpipe can be seen as a defensive movement, implying protection of the self….

Ability to notice, understand, interpret and make the most use of these signs in our communication processes to keep our relationships with people alive both in the work place and in our personal lives.

A life of peace ensues when we are able to understand these pointers and emotional intelligence level increases as we are able to manage our emotions and respond to even other peoples emotions.

So I therefore charge us to take it upon ourselves to begin to study those around us, work on what they mean when they do different things and how possible it is to always grow our relationships through the understanding of these signs.

For questions and comments, they are all welcome click here

Do have a blessed week.


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