Survival of a species is heavily dependent on the effectiveness of communications amongst the population of that species. Better communicating species have better chances of survival (considering all other factors remaining constant). One of the biggest reasons why humans are the most intelligent species on the planet is because of their superior communication skills compared to others. Communications can be of two types: verbal and non-verbal. Verbal communications involve the use of words, language. Whenever you speak with someone or listen to someone, that communication is verbal. All the other forms of communications which don’t involve the use of language, words are non-verbal. One thing to point out is that non-verbal communications may involve sound (e.g. whistling).
So we have languages to communicate with others. Why bother discussing non-verbal communications? Well, the featured image should have given you an idea. Non-verbal communications are very powerful. In fact, in many situations, they are more effective than verbal communications. The last statement doesn’t seem right at first. When you can directly say what you want to communicate, how can non-verbal communications be more effective in any kind of situation?
To answer this question, let’s travel back 100,000 years. That time, homo sapiens haven’t yet developed any kind of language for communication whatsoever. Their communications were completely non-verbal. They used howling, whistling, sign languages, body languages for their communications. Slowly, with time we started developing communication skills. Verbal communications started overtaking non-verbal communications in many aspects. However, we never stopped using non-verbal communications completely. Many of the non-verbal communications became part of our subconscious. The result of all this is that our brain has learnt to understand certain non-verbal communications universally. For example, whistling at a woman means same whether you do it in Africa, America or India. Though consequences of whistling may differ from place to place due to cultural differences developed over time.
That is all true and good, but how do non-verbal communications play a role in our daily lives as a powerful tool of communication? As I mentioned before non-verbal communications are of various types such as whistling, body languages, sign languages. Here, I will highlight some of those forms and how they affect our interpretations, judgements and even our decision making.
- Walking, standing, sitting: You must be thinking, how can these be non-verbal communication? I do it every day. I never saw anyone interpreting any funny ideas due to my walking, sitting style. Are you sure?
In the above picture, Manmohan’s posture is closed. He looks kind of overwhelmed and a bit scared. Obama, on the other hand, is in a posture that suggests he’s very carefully, confidently and critically listening to what Manmohan has to say. I can show you many more pictures which suggest such scared, closed, unconfident postures of Manmohan Singh. His body language was a big part of his image of being a weak PM. It also affected India’s image in the world.
Contrary to this, Modi looks confident in what he has to say. His posture is relaxed, confident. His walking style, sitting style, postures, overall his whole body language is a big part of him leading to him being one of the most charismatic leaders of the world. Modi is the big reason for rising of India’s image in the world, his body language playing a big role in the same.
All alphas have strong body language. Examples are Stone Cold Steve Austin, Virat Kohli, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Sushmita Sen. Sushmita Sen was world class model. I am mentioning her because observing models are the best way to learn and improve your walking style, postures. How can you improve something which you’re doing all your life the same way? Practice. You can observe the way models walk, sit. You don’t need to copy them. Just incorporate some of the basic features, practice them and with time, as your stance improves, your image and perception amongst the people you meet (or even strangers) will undergo a drastic positive change.
- Eye contact:
आँखों ही आँखों में इशारा हो गया, बैठे बैठे जीने का सहारा हो गया।
Perhaps, the most powerful form of non-verbal communications is eye contacts. Just by enticing eye movements and eye contacts, Priya Prakash Varrier (the girl in the featured image) has become an internet sensation. Women are generally more capable of making stronger eye-contacts and sending and understanding even subtle messages just through eye-contacts. Most of us generally understand stronger and more pronounce eye contacts such as these:
However, there are many subtle eye contacts that will leave you (mostly men) confused. Questions such as this may come to your mind, “What is she thinking about me? Is she interested?” People generally aren’t able to maintain eye-contact with someone they find attractive, with someone more powerful (your school principal), or when they are shy. So, what’s the catch here? How can you utilize eye-contacts to your advantage? The answer is simple. Start making them for longer durations. I mentioned before, most us fail to maintain solid eye-contacts especially with the opposite sex, or someone more powerful. And these are the two groups of people you always want to impress. For example, stronger and prolonged eye-contacts with your interviewer will give you a better chance of clearing that interview. Not only will your perception amongst these people change, you will get better at reading eye-contacts. The more you make eye-contact, the more you learn about people without even talking to them. Now, there is a difference between staring and making good eye-contacts. There is a fine line. One reference for powerful eye contacts is Bond actors.
The examples and forms I discussed above mostly show that non-verbal communications play a role in the powerplay.
Who is perceived more powerful of the two world leaders? Who is under the control of flirting taking place through eye-contacts? Are you able to impress your interviewer with your confidence? What’s your impression on a stranger meeting you for the first time? Practice and little attention to details can improve your answers to all these questions.