I hate knowing so much about body language. Research indicates that 7 percent of a message is carried by the words, 38 percent is carried by the intonations of the spoken words, and 55 percent is carried by the body language. You would think that it is an advantage to not only know this but to also be proficient at reading the body language since it carries most of the message. It may be an advantage to others but not to me.
The nonverbal cues to the real meaning of a communication are hugely important to the message. Unless someone is uncomfortable with what they are saying, the words, intonations and nonverbal cues all match nicely. The message is sent, received, decoded and understood fairly well.
When discomfort enters the picture, the sender of the message finds it hard to control what the body is saying. Subtle discrepancies between the verbal and nonverbal messages pop into plain view to the observant receiver of the message. Some signs of discomfort are: They touch their nose as they speak, they bite their lip to keep from giving additional information, they look up to the right to invent a story, they turn their feet toward the door, they fidget, etc. Thus the problem: What to do about it.
Do you confront? Yes, but only if you care about the individual, the situation or the outcome. How do you confront? Gently, by asking for clarification and consensus on the message.
What about the “practiced deceivers” who are pretty good at controlling their nonverbal cues? These are a great problem to me. You see, I know they are lying because their lips are moving, but I can’t detect any other sign.
What do you think? I would appreciate your input. Don’t worry, I can’t see you so you’re only giving 7 percent.
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