Non Verbal Communication, Body Language, Tone Of Voice Etc – It Don’t Mean A Thing!

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I became in a communique the other day and observed – a few people name it my ‘frame language’ – how I become status. I had my hands folded and my legs have been additionally crossed as I stood leaning against the photocopier at paintings. I changed into speakme to one of the mediators who works for our service and I changed into inquisitive about a discussion we have been having approximately a path she is doing in Mediation and Conflict Resolution.

But grasp on – my fingers have been folded and my legs had been crossed. Doesn’t that imply I became being protecting or insular or poor in my response to what changed into being said? Surely that is what all of the frame language bibles and gurus say. So how should I were interested in this wonderful, exciting discussion, with this high-quality, thrilling individual?

But I became.

Fortunately, Caroline, the mediator I become speakme to, is someone who without a doubt does not anticipate she is aware of how I sense and what I am wondering from my ‘body language’ as she became satisfied to keep the discussion.

But if she turned into a person who believed the books and trainings that discuss ‘non-verbal conversation’ she could effortlessly have ‘read my body language’ and determined that I become bored, or shielding, or poor and failed to need to keep our dialogue and so may have brought it to a nearby making a few excuse and ending it.

And what a pity that might had been.

An interesting connection and sharing of communication might have been terminated and lost, perhaps in no way to were recreated, due to one character’s assumption based totally on perceived ‘frame language’ pronouncing that I wasn’t involved.

But how frequently are human beings swayed through these ‘non-verbal’ messages? There is a enormous industry of ‘running shoes’ and ‘professionals’ who claim that frame posture, tone of voice, even the color of the jumper a person is wearing ‘tells you some thing’ about someone and what they are questioning or feeling.

And as a end result, many folks that accept as true with what they may be advised approximately such things, give up to really speak and have interaction with others because they have ‘read their body language’ and it became ‘competitive’ or ‘bored’ or ‘protective’ and so that they both do not begin to connect with them or they cut the connection.


I turned into as soon as informed with the aid of any other mediator how he had rushed his daughter into medical institution whilst she had all at once been taken seriously ill. He become beside himself with worry, but while he requested the receptionist for news of how she turned into and different statistics he became told to ‘forestall being aggressive’ and that he might be requested to depart if he did not stop. He became being anything but competitive, he was concerned and anxious and nervous. But he become ‘interpreted’ as being aggressive.

How tough that need to have been – to not also be able to express your fear and tension about a cherished one because a person misinterprets your tone of voice and frame language.

These are commonplace examples of talking for others which lead to a breakdown in communication because we feel we do not want to engage with another person and ask them what their mind and emotions are because we presume we recognize already. And once in a while because we’ve got even been educated to suppose we recognise.

It is a not unusual characteristic of neighbour disputes and other disputes that people ascribe emotions, mind and traits to others while not having had a communique with them.

They are jealous of our domestic and can not stand to see us happy in it, this is why they keep playing loud tune, looking to pressure us out.

Charles in Accounts is virtually inquisitive about the new Manager position so he is sucking as much as the boss, pretending he likes football.

I don’t agree with that someone who does not wear a tie to paintings can be relied upon to do a good activity.

OF COURSE, it’s far viable that during some circumstances, a number of these beliefs genuinely prove to be actual.

But almost constantly, they don’t.

They rise up out of hypothesis, projection and a want to make experience of some thing, however without taking the danger of truly enticing with the man or woman approximately whom the assumption is made.


And this is reinforced through the portrayal of communication as a ‘technological know-how’, in which we consider we will generalize about people’s feelings and thoughts once they stand in a positive manner or speak with a positive tone, or wear a certain coloured jumper etc.

How great is the wasted possibility for studying, connection and insight among people that takes place because of those ‘information’ that are not facts about ‘non-verbal verbal exchange’, that many have began to trust and contain into their every day interactions with others?

How a lot of our Helping Professionals are misinterpreting and alienating their ‘difficult’ customers every day through what they were educated to believe approximately them from their frame language, tone of voice and attire?

But you’ve got ignored the factor! A number of the frame language instructors will say. The purpose to find out about frame language is to create rapport with the humans you figure with. So if your client is standing leaning in opposition to the door, you move to stand and lean towards the wall in the identical function. (Adjust your tone of voice and so forth.) Then you will be in track with every other….. (or something comparable).

Unfortunately, it does no longer always observe that this achieves what it claims. When human beings are status inside the equal posture, it would not comply with that there will be a connection or rapport among them.

It is also not the case that if human beings are standing in drastically extraordinary postures that they will no longer have rapport or connection with every other.

It is a seductive concept to think that we will ‘recognise what human beings are thinking and feeling’ while not having to without a doubt talk to them and ask them. Sometimes connecting with humans by means of talking to them can be very threatening and intimidating. It can be someone we have a robust dislike of, or even that we have a sturdy attraction to.

In the latter example we will fantasise, based totally on our ‘interpretation of their body language’ that they sense the equal, but it’s going to best depend for whatever if we sincerely talk with them.

And the equal could be genuine for the ones we dislike, although the fantasies might be of a exceptional type. And we may additionally say that it subjects much less to us that we have not spoken with them. Nevertheless, our fantasies approximately what they assume and feel will still continue to be unverifiable fantasies. In many such occasions our interpretations will cause us far extra distress than the truth would if we had been to honestly talk with them.


My similarly problem about the planned and aware use of ‘frame language interpretation’ is that, regrettably, as opposed to striving to be present with a person we are speaking with, open to listening to their problems and worries, or maybe their joys and aspirations, in order to provide them a area wherein to talk, a sanctuary in which to be listened to, we can come to be extra concerned with status within the proper vicinity, in the proper manner, adjusting our tone of voice etc.

How can we be simply present and listening when we’re preoccupied with this stuff?

Not playing the sport?

Ultimately, the main use of frame language interpretation, seems to be to perceive while humans are not ‘in track’ with us – instead of that we aren’t enticing with them.

When we have not been capable of gain rapport, the problem is their frame language. We’ve executed it correctly, they have not.

Body language interpretation becomes a บาคาร่าเล่นยังไง game that may be understood by means of all those ‘within the recognize’, however has little if any relevance to what we genuinely think or experience whilst we play it.

And so it is greater usually used to demonise those that have been ‘difficult’, that don’t ‘play the game’.

Having been trained in it, each person who would not fit the regulations is excluded from genuine interest. By which I imply attention that comes from a place of persisted dedication to trying no longer to judge or preconceive, this is rooted in a disciplined commitment to self-consciousness regarding our own prejudices.

This is denied people who we work with when we apply such generalizations and presume we recognise what they are feeling and wondering from their ‘body language’, or their ‘tone of voice’ or maybe, what they are wearing.

When we spend our energies looking to play this recreation we are taught is supposed to be in vicinity, we are not truly trying to interact with the other. And as a end result, we each lose reference to every different.

How often do you pay attention a expert say: “I had a actually good interaction with a patron nowadays, their frame language changed into so open and we got on truly properly”?

More regularly, and in my enjoy up to now, continually, frame language is used as an additional poor element of the description of a ‘difficult’ other, be they patron, associate, colleague, and so forth.

“I could not work with Fred Smith today. He was surly and stubborn and his frame language was usually shielding. There was no getting through to him.”

I wonder how Fred felt and what he became thinking? I surprise if he was asked?

I am now not for one 2d suggesting that we aren’t suffering from our interpretation of the way others appear to us. What I am announcing is that we will in no way recognize if we are accurate or not. And so to are seeking to let pass of our prejudgments is a more effective manner of promoting communication and connection among us, than to formalize them into a fixed of generalizations as though we are training a ‘technological know-how’.

We stop talking for others and permit them to speak for themselves. They retain the opportunity to express themselves how they want and do not have that taken from them through others telling them what they assume and feel from their ‘body language’.

We can only find out what someone thinks and feels by way of enticing with them and asking them to mention. Everything else can handiest be our speculation.

And if we find out how one individual become feeling once they stood a positive manner, or had a specific tone of voice, that has no relevance in any way to how another individual is probably feeling after they appear to be status or speaking in a comparable way.

In acknowledging this we remain open to accepting the distinctiveness of each character’s thoughts, feelings and different responses.

By ignoring this or even actively promoting these generalisations we treat each different as ideas and labels and become disconnected from each different.

There’s no rapport in that.

Alan is Director of a Community Mediation Service based totally in West London UK, Hillingdon Community Mediation.

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