Some experts suggest that over 90% of our communication is demonstrated through body language, facial expressions, and the tone of our voice rather than our words themselves. Non-verbal communication can create a sense of ease or set a tone of discomfort in a room. It can make your partner feel strong and admirable or neglected and weak. These seemingly minor social cues have the power to attract friends and partners, cultivate deeper connections, as well as to increase our consideration and affection for one another.
Unfortunately, many of us are unaware of just what we are silently communicating to others. If you find you have trouble making connections at work or church, it may be that your body language is suggesting a lack of interest. If your partner seems detached, it may be that (s)he senses indifference.
Take time today to examine just what you are communicating to the world.
Consider your usual stance. Do you slump with your arms crossed in front of your chest? Though these are often subconscious choices, body language speaks volumes. Cross-arms suggest that you aren’t interested in conversation or connection. An inward stance demonstrates discomfort, low self-esteem, and social awkwardness. People that might ordinarily be happy to approach you and spark a connection are likely to hesitate at the sight.
If these aren’t the messages you are trying to send, it may be time to practice a new posture.
Whether on your feet or in a chair, try keeping your back tall and demonstrate an awareness of those around you. Keep your shoulders and facial muscles relaxed and avoid appearing too stiff or formal.
Be aware of the placement of your hands. Feeling unsure of where to position your hands in social situations is very common. Try your best not to place your hands in front of yourself, as that is interpreted as a defensive gesture. Gesture openly to encourage discussion. When relaxing, allow your hands to fall at your side, to hold a drink away from your core, or simply keep one hand in a pocket.
Now focus on your breathing patterns. If you find that you take short, shallow breaths when around groups of people, it may be that you have a touch of anxiety. This visual can easily be interpreted as nerves by those around you and discourage conversation. To combat this, try to relax your muscles, from head to toe. Then take a few deep, lingering breaths, purposefully filling up your lungs and engaging the muscles in your abdomen.
Make note of your surroundings, the setting as well as the people. By turning your thoughts inward you may inadvertently shine a spotlight on negative and insecure patterns, and any sense of fearfulness is likely to increase. Rather, by grounding yourself through purposefully acknowledging details of the surrounding environment, you are far more likely to remain calm and mentally present.
Lastly, find a friendly facial expression to rest on. While holding a severe smile in place suggests uneasiness, a small amiable smile with a cheerful gaze is sure to attract friends.
Posture, hand gestures, facial expressions, and tone can have a drastic impact on the connections we make and the quality of relationships we maintain. Make sure your body’s language is conveying your heart’s message!