Monday, February 20, 2012

What You Don't Say Speaks Volumes

Thinking back to our own childhoods, both of us remember something called “the look.” “The Look” was usually on your mother’s face and it conveyed a message of complete dissatisfaction with what you were wearing, doing, or where you were going.

As educated grandparents and parents, we think that our expressions are neutral. In reality, our feelings are visible and readily obvious to our children and grandchildren. We are often unaware that a raised eyebrow, a shrug of a shoulder, a deep sigh, or looking the other way can show displeasure.

Conversely, our children often respond non-verbally as well. Their reactions to us might include rolling their eyes, shuffling their feet, or reading a text message, which indicates their impatience and annoyance. These gestures replace unkind words or, often, too many words. Could this be a good communication strategy?

Even when we try to “zip it,” our body language often shows our true feelings, to which we are entitled. Body language can be used to communicate positive unspoken feelings as well as the negative ones. A huge smile, a hug, a slight nod or a touch or squeeze of a hand, speak volumes.

Tell us what you think!

Ann and Sue

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