Would knowing what people are thinking have any bearing on how you relate to them? Probably.
What if you could read minds?
Most people think mind reading is close to impossible — except, maybe, for those with psychic abilities. That might be true, but there is also a way the average person can gain insight into what others are thinking. It requires no special powers or innate gifts. Instead it involves paying close attention to nonverbal forms of communication. Anyone can develop this skill. Awareness and a little practice are all you need.
What is Nonverbal Communication?
It’s easy to assume communication is synonymous with conversation. But it’s so much more! Communication refers to the way we convey information and it’s mostly nonverbal. We don’t even need to open our mouths to let others know what we’re thinking.
Interestingly, verbal communication is said to reveal only 10% of what we’re attempting to express. When we do speak, our tone, volume, and quality of energy communicate more than our words. These factors often contradict what we say.
“Your gut is your “animal brain” alerting you to misalignment of words and nonverbal cues – telling truth from lies.”
Body language is a form of nonverbal communication. Arms folded across the chest tell us someone is being protective or closed off. Nail biting and fidgeting imply nervousness or anxiety. Whereas “taking up space” shows power. Tone of voice is also a form of nonverbal communication. A high “head-voice” may tell us someone has not fully integrated the information they are reporting, leading us to perceive a lack of confidence and authority. Whereas a low “belly voice” may indicate the person has a lot of experience with what they are talking about. Words need not be exchanged for us to receive clues about how a person might be feeling in any of these cases.
Is Understanding Body Language Important in Business?
Knowing what people are really communicating is vital in the workplace. Whether between subordinates or colleagues, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that communication is the foundation for building trust and strong, collaborative relationships.
Authenticity is paramount. If we say one thing but our body language indicates another, we will communicate incongruent messages. Human beings are intuitive to these incongruences.
How do you know when someone is telling the truth or telling a lie? A clear gut knowing is your primal “animal brain” alerting you to the misalignment of one’s words and nonverbal communication.
Bye bye trust.
Mind reading is possible if we learn to listen to the full bodied, full-voiced, guts & glory, shrunken shouldered or wide-stanced communication. It may not provide 100 percent accuracy, but it puts us on the right track to understanding each other in a language that goes beyond words.