We are always communicating, even when we are quiet
We often think communication is all about what we say and how we say it, but in actuality, we are always talking, whether we are doing it with words or not. Our actions, our posture, our gestures speak as loudly as, and often more loudly than words, meaning we are communicating all the time.
Non verbal communication takes many forms. Our gestures, the angle of our heads, the way we are standing, the angle of our mouths and the way we are breathing are all examples of how we use our body to communicate our thoughts and feelings. Doubt, incongruency and lies are often detected through non-verbal communication rather than spoken words too, showing just important non verbal communication is.
Knowing that you cannot not communicate, the question then becomes: What is it that you are communicating to the world? Does the way you stand and the way you walk communicate that you are confident and at ease, or nervous and worried? Does the way you listen to people show interest and complete engagement or that your mind and priorities are elsewhere? Do you display congruence with your words, or are you communicating uncertainty or doubt that shows you do not feel 100% happy with what you are saying?
Being aware of the whole communication package also gives us the power to respond to others in appropriate ways too. For example if we are talking to someone and even though nothing is said, sense that something is wrong, we can choose how we wish to respond to that. We can also use those non verbal cues to evaluate the effect we are having on other people – what conversations they most enjoy, what they react most positively to, and when we are talking about something they are not particularly interested in.
Being aware that communication involves a great deal more than just what people say is very powerful. It is important to be aware of how and what we are communicating to others and to be sensitive to the non verbal communication of the people around us. Doing so gives us the knowledge needed to evaluate whether we are happy with the messages we are sending to the world, as well as to adjust our responses to others.