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The Power of Non-Verbal Communication

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The Power of Non-Verbal Communication

April 15, 2023

When we think of communication, we often imagine it in terms of speaking directly to someone. We call the people of love when we can, and more often, in today’s world, we send a text message to let them know we are thinking of them. Yet some of the most powerful tools we use to communicate are our facial expressions, body language and gestures. Life Insight explores what makes non-verbal communication so important to our relationships and how you can use these tools to improve your bonds with others. 

What is Body Language?

The key to successfully building personal and professional relationships is indeed in your own communication abilities. However, the way we communicate with others goes beyond the words we say. Non-verbal cues and body language are essential to good communication. Body language is how we use facial expressions, behaviors and mannerisms to convey our feelings, and we often use these instinctively. 

Even if you aren’t aware of it, you send and receive non-verbal signals in every interpersonal interaction. Someone’s posture, eye contact and tone of voice all contribute to the messages that they send. These non-verbal signals can be used to cultivate trust and closeness, but they can also confuse or even offend others. Whether you are speaking or remaining silent, non-verbal signals will impact how others interpret your feelings, intentions and message. 

What Makes Non-Verbal Communication So Important?

When interacting with someone, we process their non-verbal cues along with their words, often subconsciously. How someone looks, moves and the way they listen indicates whether they are interested or honest. When someone’s non-verbal cues match what they are saying, it increases trust, therefore strengthening their interpersonal bonds. On the other hand, mismatched signals and words can cause tension or confusion. 

In order to improve your communication skills, consider how your body language affects the words that you say, as well as the non-verbal cues that others are providing. 

Five Roles of Non-Verbal Communication

  • Repetition. Repeating a non-verbal gesture can strengthen your verbal message since it emphasizes what you are trying to convey. 
  • Contradiction. If your non-verbal signals don’t match what you’re saying, your listeners might believe you are lying. On the other hand, you can identify inconsistencies in someone else’s gestures to decide whether they are truthful. 
  • Substitution. In some cases, non-verbal communication can substitute a verbal message altogether. 
  • Complementing. Complementing the words you are saying with facial expressions or gestures can increase the strength of your message. 
  • Accenting. Some gestures, such as pounding the table or pointing at something, can accentuate what you are trying to say. 

As a result, you can improve how you communicate with others by paying attention to how your body posture, facial expressions and gestures impact your message. Approaching interactions with confidence allows you to express your feelings in a healthy, productive way. If you struggle to communicate effectively, therapy can help you develop those skills. 

Visit a Burr Ridge Therapist

By understanding non-verbal communication, we can fully connect with others. If you believe you would benefit from therapy, call our team at Life Insight to schedule an appointment. We can help you take steps towards more fulfilling relationships, conflict resolution skills and more. 

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