In his book, On Becoming a Person, psychologist Carl Rogers wrote, "The whole task of psychotherapy is the task of dealing with a failure in communication . . . Real communication occurs when we listen with understanding - to see the idea and attitude from the other person's point of view, to sense how it feels to them, to achieve their frame of reference in regard to the thing they are talking about."
Good communication skills can help you in both your personal and professional life. While verbal and written communication skills are important, social psychologists have suggested that nonverbal behaviors make up a large percentage of our daily interpersonal communication. How can you improve your nonverbal communication skills? These top ten nonverbal communication tips can help you learn to read the nonverbal signals of other people and enhance your own ability to communicate effectively.
Photo courtesy Luc Sessell
I read about other keys to communication on the blog at Goodtherapy.org. What most people fail to realize it the importance of listening and observing (ears and eyes). Most people think communication is purely speak.
Inside the atmosphere of a club, bar, concert, it is very hard for a person to engage in verbal communication. The loud noises, and large group of people between you and the person trying to communicate makes it harder for a person to introduce themselves to new people in the form of conversation. This is when we turn to the art of Non-verbal Communication, to help us engage in communication.
Non- verbal communication consists of being able to advance in communication with someone with out speech. Such messages can be communicated through gesture; body language or posture; facial expression and eye contact to name a few. Also object communication such as clothing, hairstyles or even architecture, and symbols, can fall under the case of non-verbal communication. While verbal communication is the the clearest form of communication, non-verbal communication can take its turn for the worse, as it is hard for others to recognzie what is being interpreted from the action/gesture.
I can remember a personal experience where I found myself misinterpreting non-verbal communication. My pals and I got together for the night and went out to a club to party it up for a birthday of one our friends. In the enviroment of the nightclub, there is loud music, very dark room, with random bursts of flashing lights to keep the place lit enough to walk and dance. You have alcohol flowing deterating a person state of mind, allowing the people to accept and invite in situations they wouldnít normaly be apart of. So overall the object communication of the atmosphere is already a bad situation to be in.
As the night persues a buddy and I straggle away from the crowd of friends and go grab a separate drink at the bar on the left side of dance floor. At the bar we have practically yell at the bartender what our order is, because of how loud it is in the place an sheís litterally 3 feet away. As my pal and I stand along the bar side with our drinks, I catch the eye of a girl dancing on the dance floor with a group of people. Thinking the girl is good looking I think to myself I should approach her for a dance. I wait a little to see if she notices me but nothing comes of it. As my pal I talk by the bar I continue to look at this girl. She finally makes eyes contact with me and gives a small gesture of a smile. With that I think to myself alright weíve noticed each other but still do I initiate. It maybe a smile to her friends while she just happened to have her head up looking at me.
A few more moments pass my pal is now smoking a cigarette so we still are waiting by the bar. As I talk to him I still keep looking around at girls to dance with, but can not help but get drawn back to same girl from before. Her group is starting to get closer to us, but still dancing on the dance floor. We make eye contact again but its more clear this time so Iím waiting for my friend to finish so he can take on the group of friends while dance with this girl. But as Iím waiting another guy goes to dance with my girl. The one giving me the signals, at this point Iím like I waited to long and shouldíve took the oppurtunity when I had the chance.
Just as my chances were shot down, the largest non-verbal communication signal is given. The look and head gesture to come over. She was signalling me to come dance with her and take the guy off her because he was a fool and she wanted me. So, I put my drink down tell my buddy later and go in for the dance.
Iím dancing with her now, and the other guy gets the hint. He pulls off and Iím dancing alone with her now. When I get hit with what just happened moment. She stops dancing with me and pulls my friend on the dance floor.
Thatís where I realized my taller friend who was standing to my side and abit behind me along the bar as we watched the dance floor and chatted was getting the eye contact. I assumed the eye contact was with me while truly it was going right passed. I was reading all the signs right but the direction of who they were being pointed at was the wrong one.
In conlcusion, I learned the affects of being in an enviroment unable to verbally communicate is hard to judge and react to the people trying to give off information to you. Non- verbal communication is a great tool once mastered and if you know the person you are communicating with. Trying to understand a complete stranger can be hard to understand as you donít know there habits and have the connection.
I agree! Non verbal communication is huge! I am not surprised by that at all. Any therapist could tell you so. It?s amazing how much interaction there is in a conversation with body language alone.
I think just being more aware of your body language can help dramatically in your ability to convey the emotions you mean to. Ive never been a great communicator (Ive been to counseling for it) and awareness really has really helped me. Thanks!
I think rick is right, an honest awareness or rather becoming honestly aware of the self is one of the first and most important steps to therapy. Great post!