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Your Body Tells It’s Own Story

Part 8 of 12 from Communication Dance

(continued from last week…)

Multisensory Pacing Works

Dr. Maxwell Maltz, the author of Psycho Cybernetics said, “People who say that life is not worthwhile are really saying they themselves have no personal goals which are worthwhile. Get yourself a goal worth going for. Better still, get yourself a project! Always have something ahead of you to look forward to, something to work for, and something to hope for!”

Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Open communication is the greatest gift you can give to anyone.”

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Dr. Albert Mehrabian, a professor from UCLA, made an assertion about communication that has proven to be true. He found that the words themselves are only a very small part of communication. His research showed that when there is disagreement between verbal and non-verbal messages given, the non-verbal will be believed first nearly every time.

Dr. Mehrabian said, “55% of a message received from others is visual–facial expressions, body posture, gestures, the way they are dressed. 38% of the message given is auditory–the tone of voice, the inflection used, loudness, rhythm, rate of speaking, and only 7% of the message comes from the actual words themselves.” He said there was a mathematical variance of only plus or minus 3%.

This means that approximately 93% of the message given and received is from sources other than the words themselves.

Do Signals Align?

Think about two scenarios, while acting hostile with an angry facial expression, using a sarcastic tone of voice, someone says “you’re wonderful”. What’s the real message? Certainly not that the other person is wonderful. There is a disagreement between the verbal and non-verbal information being given.

Secondly, a different person with a friendly smile, looking you in the eyes, using a sincere tone of voice, while holding a relaxed body posture says, “You are so wonderful”. The non-verbal message is congruent; it matches the words and tone of voice, therefore the chance of believing this message is much more likely. The non-verbal and verbal content agree.

If you spend much time around children or teenagers, you have most likely encountered this signal mismatch. Recall how sometimes you had a hard time believing them or swallowing what they said as wholly true. In many cases the mismatch in their words and behaviors was the reason you did not believe them. They often have secondary motives from what they want or they may feel caught and are reacting from a defensive position. What the child isn’t saying or the non-verbals they are giving off frequently lead to your feelings of mistrust or to doubt the integrity of what they’ve said.

When talking with someone we naturally observe their facial expressions, their body language, their voice tones, their words. If you receive the same message from all channels of expression you get a sense of continuity, of correctness, that it’s right, that it’s genuine.

There are many representational systems broadcasting messages simultaneously by each of you during a conversation and you are both continuously evaluating the experience you are engaged in with all of your different communication sensors to see if all of the various parts of the communication pieces match.

(to be continued…)

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