In what position are you sitting? Did you look into your colleague’s eyes when talking to them on the street today? Which gestures did you use when explaining an overwhelming situation at the office? In many cases, words are not enough. Sometimes you don’t even need them. Non-verbal communication will say it for us.
Gestures are relatively authentic manifestations of our minds. Although we can guide them, they usually provide more reliable information about us and our feelings than words, says psychologist Dušan Fábik about our non-verbal communication.
“If we assume that a person does not intentionally misrepresent their non-verbal communication, we could say that the posture, facial expression or look are an accurate and complete reflection of our mind.”
Our body language can sometimes “tell” the other person more than words. On the other hand, the psychologist also mentions that it is not just an external communication. Non-verbal communication can also work for our internal mindset. As Fábik comments, several studies that compared thinking processes and performance in different body positions have clear results. “For example, it has been repeatedly confirmed that an upright body position contributes to greater self-confidence or better performance.” So it is clear that preparing a seminar paper for school or a presentation slouching on the sofa is not best. “An upright and self-confident attitude is not only a popular marketing element, but a proven psychological knowledge.”
Fábik says that a handshake, eye contact, or posture are among the traditional nonverbal communication acts that we perceive. However, gestures gave their particular meaning. “The handshake, for example, reflects personality. A gentle squeeze may indicate a more receptive and sensitive person. With a stronger grip, you seem to have a strong and bold personality.”
Eye contact should be noticed too. Without eye contact during the conversation, the other party probably does not want to create or has trouble making emotional contact. “What is important, however, is that each non-verbal speech must be evaluated within a specific social situation and in the context of all other acts.”
Noemi Zárubová-Pfeffermann, an expert on non-verbal communication, has a similar opinion. “We should perceive the world here and now. We can’t automatically interpret gestures, facial expressions.” At the same time, Noemi reminds us that it is clear that other non-verbal acts belong to the intimate, personal, and social spheres. For example, smell and touch are essential in an intimate relationship.
The expert also thinks interestingly about non-verbal communication between men and women. “Women naturally have more subcutaneous fat. The facial expressions are not so sharp. Women can spread their gaze more. Men are stronger. They also have more sharpness in their facial expressions. Greater targeting can be observed in non-verbal acts .”
Noemi adds a significant fact to the non-verbal acts. It is important for their interpretation. She says we should remember that what is in the mind is in the body. And what is in the body is also in the mind.
Text: Eva Vašková, photo: pexels.com