What are you silently telling everyone?
Your non-verbal body language speaks loud and clear. From the driver who aggressively flipped the bird at the car in front of me, to the very subtle tweak of an eyebrow by the person eavesdropping on a conversation… What are you silently telling everyone?
I might even suggest that non-verbal communication is more effective than verbal communication.
Our non-verbal, autistic, 9-year old grandson has recently learned very directive pointing. He can’t say what he wants but he points and then looks at you intently. Even if you were not looking at him, the intensity of his eyes on you would get you to feel as though someone were looking at you, or trying to get your attention, and you would look around to see who was looking at you. Then you could see wat he was pointing at. Silent, but effective.
The guy flipping the bird and the pointing finger of our grandson are both very obvious body language clues.
The subtle eyebrow tweak, may have been done without the “tweaker’s” knowledge.
I often tell people I would never be good at playing poker. My thoughts are all over my face. We recently had a contractor over to give us ideas on a different master bathroom setup. At one suggestion, the guy said, “judging by the look on your wife’s face, I’m guessing that’s a no.” HA HA! I had not meant to convey that opinion, but I thought it, and my face, obviously, showed it.
Let’s think about some obvious non-verbal communications…
• Making the gagging action
• Crossed arms
• Open arms
• Thumbs up
• High five
• Shaking your head yes or no
• Making eye contact, or not
• Waving (a gentle “hi” or a frantic “HELP”)
• Sign Language
There are many body motions and/or facial expressions that can silently tell everyone what you’re thinking.
We have to be careful how our actions are seen. I once made a motion with my hand crossing in front of my throat – the one that I believe typically means “cut” (meaning “stop”) and one little boy frantically asked if I was going to cut his throat. AH! No, that was not what I meant. Guess he’d been watching scary movies.
Like many of you, I need to be more aware of what my body language is telling people. And, like many of you, I am a work in progress. Let’s all work on being more aware of what we are silently telling everyone.
*Pam Horton is a Board Certified Advanced Christian Life Coach, in the Raleigh area.*