Do you know what your nonverbal communication is saying about you? If not you may want to read on to find out what you are communicating to others. Nonverbal communication is pretty much how it sounds which is messages that people pass on to others without the use of words. There are several types of nonverbal communication. Types of nonverbal communication include, facial expressions, hand, head, feet gestures, physical posture and body movements, the amount of space between communicators, eye gaze, and appearance. All of these things communicate your feelings and possibly your intentions.
Facial expressions can communicate many things, like frustration, anger, happiness, sadness, approval or disapproval etc. Facial expression are very powerful, one example is a person who says she or he is not upset but his or her eyebrows are curled, eyes are squinted, and her or his nose is flexed. These facial expressions clearly indicate that people are angry or that the sun is in their face. The interesting thing about facial expressions is that they are universal, in other words, people do not learn how to express their feelings via facial expressions it is something that occurs naturally and occurs the same way across cultures.
I once interacted with a mental health director who clearly did not understand her facial expressions. During this interaction she would smirk and her eyebrows would raise, as is if she was experiencing a sense of pleasure while she gave me bad news. This director would also cross her arms and lean back as I spoke, which was a demonstration of defying what I was saying while at the same time she would verbally express interest. I must admit that I allowed myself to become frustrated as I realized what was going on but with further reflection I have come to realize that she had no clue that what she was communicating verbally was inconsistent with what she was communicating nonverbally. When I reflect on the situation I can understand why my frustration seemed odd to her because she was verbally being respectful and kind but her nonverbal communication was telling me a different story.
It is important to practice your nonverbal communication and listening skills. In the situation that I described the director would have been better served to sit in an attentive position and used facial expressions that were consistent with what was being discussed even though she was not interested in what I had to say, or she could have saved us both a lot of time by being honest with her feelings and indicate verbally that she was not interested in what I had to say saving us the frustration of enduring an unwanted conversation.