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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Working With Non-Verbal Communication

No matter if it is body language:
· A look
· A touch
· A posture

Or unexpected communication:
· Lack of response
· Type of response
· Way of response

Whatever the case, if the communication you have received is not what you expected to receive seeking further communication is normally recommended.

I received a call from what I thought was an unwanted solicitor the other day.

I was busy writing and didn’t want to be disturbed. He called first on my wife’s phone, which was not answered. Then he called on my phone and I told him to have a nice day while I promptly hung-up.

He called back.

That’s different.

I started the second call by saying, “you have the gall to call back after I just hung up on you?”

He responded by explaining that in so many words I had requested this call. Truth is, he was right. We then had a very positive conversation as I proceeded to wipe the egg of embarrassment off my face.

Had he not chosen to try again it would have been a lose-lose proposition.

Similarly, when we see someone respond nonverbally in an unexpected way one of the best things to do is to seek clarification, which would look like this:

· When you did “X” I felt like “X”, was I correct in my feelings?
· Why haven’t I received a return call? I’ve left two messages.

Whatever you do, try not to come across as accusatory but rather inquisitive. If a person feels like they are being put in a position of having to defend their actions, in most cases they will. As such you may never find the real meaning behind the message you thought you received.

Asking people to explain their nonverbal behaviors is normally better for everyone in the long run. Not doing so can lead to hurt feelings and broken relationships. Neither of which would have had to happen had more information been requested.

Unfortunately, you will sometimes hear a verbal response that directly matches what you felt from a non-verbal action. In such cases there are at least a couple of options.

You can seek reconciliation and greater understanding with one another. Many times this can lead to deeper friendships with stronger ties and commitments.

You can choose to move in directions that fit the communication received. After all, not all relationships are worth the time and commitment required to make them succeeded through harder times of struggle.

Whatever you decide, doing it from a position of clear understanding rather than misunderstood hurt feelings is always an excellent idea when attempting to work with non-verbal communication you are receiving from others correctly.

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