Nonverbal communication and Reading body language

For 29 % of people, new information comes through vision (learning by seeing, or so-called visualics), 34% learn by listening (auditorics), and 37% by movement (kinesthetics).

Whether knowingly of it or not, when a person interacts with others, he or she is continuously giving and receiving wordless signals. All the nonverbal behaviors—the gestures a person makes, his/her posture, tone of voice, how much eye contact he/she makes—send strong messages. They can put people at ease, build trust, and draw others towards an individual, or they can offend, confuse, and undermine what one is trying to convey. These messages don’t stop when a person stops speaking either. Even when he or she remains silent, communication still goes nonverbally.

By improving one’s understanding and use of nonverbal communication, one can express what he/she really means, connect better with others, and build stronger, more rewarding relationships. Developing abilities to manage stress and recognize emotions is a vital key to nonverbal communication consistency. 


How to read body language


‘Wordless communication is the exchange of material, action information, gestures, facial expressions, mimicry, expression of feelings, etc. However, you need to be able to encrypt this information correctly in order for mistakes to be avoided’, a famous Lithuanian educology Leonas Jovaisa said.


Here are some tips how to become better at reading the nonverbal signals sent by others:

  1. Pay attention to inconsistencies. Nonverbal communication should reinforce what it is being said. Is the person saying one thing, but their body language conveying something else?
  2. Look at nonverbal communication signals as a group. Consider all the nonverbal signals you are receiving. Taken together, are their nonverbal cues consistent—or inconsistent—with what their words are saying?
  3. Supportive signs. Pay attention to include timing and pace, tone, inflection, and sounds that convey understanding.
  4. Trust your instincts. Don’t dismiss your gut feelings. If you get the sense that someone isn’t being honest, you may be picking up on a mismatch between verbal and nonverbal cues.

Activity


Name of the activity: 
Birthday line-up

The aim of the activity:
Practices non-verbal communication skills and get people to communicate through body-language

Skills that the activity develops 
Non-verbal skills and body language reading

How many people the activity is suited for:
Ideally 8-12 participants. 

Time requirement of the activity:
10-15 minutes

How many instructors are needed?

What is the role of the trainer or instructor?

Other requirements for the activity (space, equipment…):
Open space

Describe the activity in a clear and concise manner:
The group stands in a straight-line side by side. The goal is for the participants to organize themselves in order by their birthday (month and day) without any talking. If they do start to talk, they need to start from the beginning. If you want to add an extra challenge to this activity, try blindfolding a couple of participants.

References

  1. Teresevičienė, M. Oldroyd, D., Gedvilienė, G. (2004). Suaugusiųjų mokymasis. Andragogikos didaktikos pagrindai. Kaunas: VDU.
  2. Pease, A. (2003). Body language.

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