Reading Others- Body Language

A strained face with tense eyebrows, squinted eyes full of confusion and tight lips are sure signs of a repulsive food-sample. The poor pupil who consumed such a terrible snack did not have to think through each of the previous stated reactions. The limbic system is what causes these reactions. Joe Navarro, FBI Counterintelligence Agent said “Our needs, feelings, thoughts, emotions, and intentions are processed elegantly by what is known as the “limbic system” of the brain. It doesn’t have to think, it just reacts to the world in real time and our bodies show how we feel.” A persons’ reaction is an immediate response to their environment. Body language reveals the truth in ones’ thoughts and emotions.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. wrote, based on S. Bonaccios’ findings, on body language and stated 5 major functions of nonverbal communication.

  1. Displaying personal attributes in your nonverbal behavior.
  2. Showing who’s the boss.
  3. Encouraging people to follow your lead.
  4. Promoting harmony.
  5. Displaying emotion

Personal attributes consist of personality, intentions, and attitudes. These make up who a person actually is and can influence how different people get a long (or don’t get along). Showing who’s boss portrays negative body language. A “Power Stance,” as Whitbourne refers to it, is intimidating and will cause others’ to feel of less value. The opposite of “boss” body language is her 3rd function of encouragement. One encourages others through personality and enthusiasm. Enthusiasm emanating from one individual will cause others to follow them as an example and in turn leads to better harmony. Body language is easily read and easily delivered. Emotions are not bad; they are what make people human-like

“If language was given to men to conceal their thoughts, then gesture’s purpose was to disclose them.”                                           -John Napier






A Listening Ear

Toddlers learn to speak by copying the sounds around them. While growing they start recognizing the sounds and can begin to “meow” like a cat or say “woof” like a dog but they learned this skill because they are professional listeners. The skills of truly listening diminish as a toddler matures into adulthood. As can be viewed in the link below to the TED talk by Julian Treasure it is acknowledged that human beings listen only 60% of the time and of that 60% only 25% is retained proving that human interaction is weak.

With today’s technologies and the ever growing media entertainment individuals are found to be more reserved. As Treasure stated “many people take refuge in headphones, but they turn big public spaces…into millions of tiny little personal sound bubbles.” These “sound bubbles” intensify the lack of communication and human interaction. Listening in this day and age is done mostly through the eyes as people view their Facebook and Instagram accounts however, this form of communication is not realistic. There is no real human interaction over media, true communication is face to face.

Within personal communication there is an important acronym from Treasure that states how humans should interact. The acronym RASA, explains that a true conversation means that a person RECEIVES the information given them, APPRECIATES the words and takes them to heart, SUMMARIZES what is said which helps to retain information and then ASK follow up questions to continue to learn more and show interaction. If RASA is to be followed faithfully then the current culture of how humans interact would be changed. Good interaction and  relationship building would become more common if humans worked to become professional listeners again and really focus on the sound patterns, or in other words the conversations around them.