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Have you ever had someone tell you a story then ask you, “Do you see what I’m saying?”
Because aren’t you supposed to “hear” what they’re saying?
But that question has so much validity
Not only are you creating visuals in your mind’s eye while someone is sharing their story, you’re also interpreting the story based on their non-verbal communication skills.
An individual’s tone, posture, eye contact, and hand gestures have a HUGE impact on how you “see” what they’re saying.
In fact 93% of communication is non-verbal.
Aha – you can say so much without saying a word
Remember the last time you were at a networking event having a conversation with someone who spent half the time looking over your shoulder?
Or have you watched a toddler in frustration for not getting their way, plant themselves, raise their hands, and elevate their pitch? (I know, I know, sometimes big kids do this, too)
Or experience someone fold their arms in front of them in a confrontational situation?
There are some gestures that make obvious statements, then there are more subtle ones.
Here’s an interesting one based on what Mark Bowden, author of Winning Body Language, calls “The truth plane”.
If you want to be believable and trusted, keep your palms open and your hands at belly height when you’re sharing your story.
It’s based on the premise that the reptilian brain (that’s the primitive, non-thinking, non-memory part of the brain developed solely for survival) wants to see your palms to know that you’re not hiding anything.
In fact, if you put your hands behind your back or in your pockets the person you’re communicating to thinks you might be trying to hide something – it makes them nervous.
Keeping your palms open and your hands in a neutral position helps the person you’re communicating to “see” that they can trust you.
Oh, and even cooler, that position instills confidence and composure for you while you’re telling the story.
Ultimately, I think communicating has something to do with how people make you “feel”, don’t you?