- (EQ) skill 3: The ability to connect with others using nonverbal communication. Being a good communicator requires more than just verbal skills. Often, what you say is less important than how you say it or the other nonverbal signals you send out—the gestures you make, the way you sit, how fast or how loud you talk, how close you stand, how much eye contact you make. In order to hold the attention of others and build connection and trust, you need to be aware of and in control of this body language. You also need to be able to accurately read and respond to the nonverbal cues that other people send you.
These messages don’t stop when someone stops speaking. Even when you’re silent, you’re still communicating nonverbally. Think about what you are transmitting as well, and if what you say matches what you feel. If you insist “I’m fine”, while clenching your teeth and looking away, your body is clearly signaling the opposite. Your nonverbal messages can produce a sense of interest, trust, excitement, and desire for connection—or they can generate fear, confusion, distrust, and disinterest.
Tips for improving nonverbal communication
Successful nonverbal communication depends on your ability to manage stress, recognize your own emotions, and understand the signals you’re sending and receiving. When communicating:
- Focus on the other person. planning what you’re going to say next, daydreaming, or thinking about something else, you are almost certain to miss nonverbal cues and other subtleties in the conversation. Tell me about it…story of my life, so incredibly distracted most of the time I can barely keep my eyes in focus, let alone my attention! This is why I love communicating in writing best! My focus remains on the subject, what people are saying etc. and when I get distracted it’s right there in front of me to review and remind myself what the conversation is about:)
- Make eye contact. Eye contact can communicate interest, maintain the flow of a conversation, and help gauge the other person’s response. Eye contact is difficult for me and when I force it my eyes water and burn, creating yet another distraction for me to focus on.
- Pay attention to nonverbal cues you’re sending and receiving, such as facial expression, tone of voice, posture and gestures, touch, and the timing and pace of the conversation. I have NO IDEA what’s happening on my face or any of the rest of those physical happenings! I’ve been teased that my head will shake slightly on certain occasions…like when I’m trying to control my temper or working really hard on paying attention! Or when I answer without firmly committing to what I am saying, like when I’m being indecisive. Apparently my facial expressions can make me look intimidating as well as my tone of voice…always surprises the heck out of me when told that!
- Emotional intelligence(EQ) skill 2: The ability to recognize and manage your emotions. Being able to connect to your emotions—is the key to understanding yourself and others.
Many people are disconnected from their emotions–especially strong core emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, and joy. This may be the result of negative childhood experiences that taught you to try to shut off your feelings. But although we can distort, deny, or numb our feelings, we can’t eliminate them. They’re still there, whether we’re aware of them or not.
What kind of a relationship do you have with your emotions?
- Do you experience feelings that flow, encountering one emotion after another as your experiences change from moment to moment? If they are strong enough to capture my attention the answer to this question for me is YES.
- Are your emotions accompanied by physical sensations that you experience in places like your stomach or chest? Once again, YES.
- Do you experience discrete feelings and emotions, such as anger, sadness, fear, joy, each of which is evident in subtle facial expressions? Honestly, if they are discrete I will never be aware of what’s happening inside of me, let alone what’s happening with my facial expressions!
- Can you experience intense feelings that are strong enough to capture both your attention and that of others? Duh. That’s the only type of feelings I recognize, intense enough to get my attention.
- Do you pay attention to your emotions? Do they factor into your decision-making? I try very hard to be aware of my emotions and fail most of the time. Mostly, when anger hits me it’s like a ton of bricks that fell from the sky and leaves me wondering what the heck is going on?
If any of these experiences are unfamiliar, your emotions may be turned down or turned off. In order to be emotionally healthy and emotionally intelligent, you must reconnect to your core emotions, accept them, and become comfortable with them.
Easier said than done! I’ll accept my core emotions once I can find them. As for being comfortable with my emotions…well, that is the million dollar question for me. Childhood conditioning is a mitigating factor in being comfortable with myself. If I get a grip on the feelings I wonder if I’ll be comfortable with them.
This all sounds like a full-time job to me.
And not just a little bit boring either. It sounds like I’d be bored with so much concentration on myself…if I could pay that much attention to what’s happening inside for any significant length of time I might succeed.
Here’s what I know for sure.
ANGER makes me extremely uncomfortable.
Sadness embarrasses me.
Fear overwhelms me to the point of killing the “flight or fight response”.
JOY is good. I recognize joy. I love Joy. I feel JOY and recognize it. I always end up crying when the Joy is strong. Which is usually 98% of the time LOL
I think it’s doubtful.