Your Communication Advantage: Watch What You Don't Say

Watch what you don’t say.

I have heard people talk about ‘finding their voice.” But, what do you do if you can’t use words?

It was 2 a.m. and we had just arrived at the Bangkok, Thailand airport. We needed to find a cab to our hotel.  We discovered how dependant we were on words to communicate.  At the same time, we realized the power of gestures and facial expressions.

While words are an important part of communication, there is great value in understanding how rich our communication systems are.

We generally think of communication in two categories - verbal and nonverbal. We are very aware of verbal communication, but did you know that there are at least nine distinct categories of nonverbal communication? We try to choose our words carefully, but might be unaware of our nonverbal signals and yet, these speak loudly to our listeners.

Each one plays a major role in your presentations, speeches and general communication.

This is an important part of Emotional Wisdom and becomes a powerful part of communication.

In a series of upcoming posts we will look at these categories in more detail. Here is the first category and some comments on how this might help or hinder your communication:

Facial Expressions

This is probably the most easily recognized of the nonverbal communication categories. Within this category are over twenty distinct expressions. It is also helpful to know that many facial expressions are universal in nature. This makes it possible to understand across linguistic boundaries. Facial expressions are responsible for a large part of nonverbal communication.The look on a person's face is often the first thing we see, even before we hear what they have to say.

The challenge with wearing masks is that we loose about 50% of what is being communicated through facial expressions.

Due to the design of the human eye, we can easily identify precisely where people are looking. Watch an audience as you are being introduced. The eyes of the audience will shift. They are watching you before you arrive at the podium. Your facial expressions, body language and general posture are already communicating to the audience before you speak a word.

Watch what you don’t say.

By the way, we did arrive at our hotel…eventually.

If you are interested in finding out more about how to increase your effectiveness as a communicator, presenter or public speaker let us know.

We are here to help you succeed.