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My body is louder than my voice

A picture speaks louder than words, and that's why a movement, expression, or attitude while speaking can overwhelm a well-written speech or cancel out the story we're conveying. Non-verbal communication, experts say, is a supplementary channel for sending messages because it conveys and emphasizes our emotions, moods, thoughts, and attitudes.

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The way we move and hold our bodies, the style of clothing we choose, our facial expressions and gestures, our tone of voice, our gaze, and even our touch are included in non-verbal messages. It is precisely these non-verbal signals of others that are easier to notice or recognize, while we ourselves are not even aware of the messages we are sending with our body, hands, or gaze while we are saying something.

Non-verbal communication emphasizes our emotions, moods, thoughts, and attitudes

And while verbal communication - what we say, we can mostly keep under control and monitor it, non-verbal communication is mostly something we do unconsciously or automatically. And if the non-verbal signs we see are contrary to what we hear, we will believe them more than what is said. One should be aware of how non-verbal communication can complement, strengthen but also cancel or deny what we say.

Knowing the signs of non-verbal communication can help us understand people better and reduce possible misunderstandings in communication, but we can also recognize when people are telling the truth and when they are lying. On the other hand, some of us realize these body signs very well, while for others they are almost invisible. When creating an image, each of us should think about how he communicates and how his speech and performance are consistent with his body, gestures, or how he looks like when he communicates.

The study of non-verbal communication and behavior is a challenge that science has been dealing with since the end of the 19th century and in 1872., when Charles Darwin's book The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals was published.

Since then, many researchers have dedicated themselves to researching the types, consequences, and ways of expressing non-verbal communication. Although these signals are often very subtle and subconscious, nine types of nonverbal communication have been recognized.

Facial expressions are responsible for the most significant part of non-verbal communication. A frown or a smile can convey many messages. A person's facial expression is usually the first thing we notice, long before that person says a word. Although there is a wide variation in the level of behavior and expression of emotions among people in different parts of the world, facial expressions of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear are very similar all over the world.

Gestures - intentional movements and signals are an important way of communicating without words. These include waving, pointing, or using your fingers instead of a number. In some cultures, certain gestures mean different things and this is good to know if you meet people from other parts of the world.

Paralinguistics - which deals with voice communication that is not a real language, includes voice tone, loudness, pitch, and modulation in its research. When we speak in a clear tone, and loudly - listeners can understand this as our agreement with what we are saying and our enthusiasm for what we are saying. When we say the same sentence with hesitation and uncertainty - listeners can assume that we do not agree with that sentence or that we are not interested in it.

A good example of this is what we give in response to the question of how we are. "I'm fine" can convey a very different message depending on how we say the sentence and give the person we're answering an insight into how we feel.

Body language and our posture can tell our listeners a lot about what we are thinking about what we are saying. Although it is often said that crossed arms or legs can represent a defensive position, this does not have to be the case. Body language is much more subtle and less defined than it is usually thought.

People often say that they need to have their personal space, which is an integral part of non-verbal communication. The size of the space we surround ourselves with and the distance of people from us show several things and are influenced by social norms, cultural expectations, the situation, the person's characteristics, and the level of familiarity. The usual distance between two people is half to one meter. On the other hand, the distance from a larger group of people we are talking to is usually between three and four meters.

Eye movements play a very important role in non-verbal communication. Their directionality, focus, and blinking are an important part of non-verbal behavior. When people meet people or things they like, the blink rate increases, and the pupils decrease in size. Looking at another person can show a range of emotions from dislike to interest to attraction. People often use eye movements to determine if someone is telling the truth or being honest. Normal, calm eye contact is usually understood as a sign that the person looking that way is telling the truth and can be trusted. Eyes that constantly jump to the side and do not look at the interlocutor, on the other hand, are often recognized as a clear sign that someone wants to deceive us or is lying to us.

Communication through touch is also one of the non-verbal ways we behave. While touch within the family and growing up is something about which many scientific papers have been written, touching or investing in another person's personal space is less talked about and written about. Some of the scientists who wrote about non-verbal communication through touch point out that people of higher status tend to invest in the personal space of other people much more and more intensely than those who are not.

What a person says together with his facial expression, behavior, appearance, and tone of voice can clarify more precisely what that person wants to tell us.

There are also differences between the sexes regarding the amount of touch and their meaning. Women share care, concern, and tenderness more through touch. On the other hand, men want to send a message of superiority or control over others through touch.

Our choice of colors we wear, our clothes, hairstyles, and other things around us are also one of the non-verbal ways of communicating. Color psychology researchers point out that different colors evoke different feelings. A person's appearance can also change our psychological reactions, evaluations, and interpretations. We can often notice ourselves making quick decisions about someone just based on how they look. Research shows that appearance can have a significant impact on how we see someone, but also on the level of salary they receive or are offered. Handsome and well-dressed, according to research conducted among American lawyers, they earn an average of fifteen percent more than others.

Both objects and images are also tools that can be used for non-verbal communication. On a forum on the Internet, it is possible to choose an avatar that represents you, and in this way, you communicate who you are, that is, what you are like, as well as what you like. People often spend a lot of time creating a certain image and surrounding themselves with different objects that they want to send a message about what is important to them.

Uniforms can convey a lot of information about people and, like policemen, soldiers, or doctors, let others know immediately what that person does.

Nonverbal communication plays an important role in how we convey meaning and information to others, but equally in how we understand what others are doing around us. It is important to remember that in the search for such non-verbal expressions, we also monitor everything else that happens while the person is communicating. What a person says together with his facial expression, behavior, appearance, and tone of voice can clarify more precisely what that person wants to tell us.

And therefore, pay close attention to what and how you say, and how much it is in line with what your body is saying.


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