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“Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.” ~Charles Dickens

Connecting with people isn’t as hard as you might think, if you pay attention, since we are all of us walking billboards, to some degree.

Or like a yellow light, signalling a change coming.

We are always giving clues: the tilt of a head, the lift of an eyebrow, the sidelong glance, the quick intake of breath, the slight hesitation.

If we pay attention, even the most clever poker face has a tell.

“The body never lies.” ~Martha Graham

Body language existed long before speech emerged, and experts say 60% of what you understand in a conversation is read through facial expressions and body movement, not the words.

It’s up to us to learn the body language of those we lead and love.

But it’s also up to us to learn our language: What are we saying when we’re not talking?

Some examples:

  • A normally emotive person responds to your question in a meeting with a short, monotone response. The whole team gets quiet and disengages.
  • A normally organized, even-keeled executive is seen walking at a brisk pace down a corridor in the office. Nothing is said, but everyone who sees him scatters, confused and now holding their collective breath.
  • A normally gentle, easy-going dad responds to his teenager’s request with a small exhalation, lowering his eyes and chin briefly before answering. His child is sorry to have even asked.

In these examples, I doubt the silent communicator wanted the people around them to be negatively impacted. They did, however, at least unconsciously, communicate exactly what they were feeling at the moment; they broadcast it unfiltered, briefly, through their body language.

When we figure out the ways in which we unconsciously communicate our annoyance, disappointment, or frustration, we’ll be more apt to notice, recognize and respond more effectively to other peoples’ body billboards when they feel those ways.

Communication is a two-way street, with intersections. We forget that some times.

Best to slow down and look both ways when you see a yellow light.

“Life is a web of intersections and choices. Your 1st choice is to recognize an intersection. Your 2nd choice is to be grateful for it.” ~Ryan Lilly

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