Did you know that “Research even suggests that we make judgments about people’s intelligence based upon their faces and expressions?”
Do take a peek at their ‘understand body language and facial expressions’ section, as they even have a game you can play to help you understand the importance of it.
Diving into the world of non-verbal communication!
Eyes that connect: The gateway to genuine connections lies in the eyes. Picture this… a balanced dose of eye contact can forge profound bonds. But here’s the kicker – too much direct eye contact might send shockwaves of intensity, and discomfort to your colleagues, and also to the little ones. Sit side by side when engaging with children. This helps to create a comfortable and non-threatening atmosphere helping them feel at ease with you.
Power of your posture: Are you broadcasting interest with your body? Crossed arms and legs, build a “keep out” force field and you are just not interested. Create a posture of openness that shows everyone that you are “all ears”. Your posture sets the stage and tone of the conversation.
Express yourself (facially!): Your face is a canvas of emotions. From a mega-watt smile to a split-second micro-expression, every twitch communicates volumes. We all need a superpower. Flash a contagious grin as it is infectious and promotes well-being.
Tone titan: Your voice isn’t just a collection of words; it’s an orchestra of emotions. Tune into your tone. Lowering it a notch can help add an instant infusion of warmth and interest.
Move like you mean it: Put your hands up if you’ve ever spoken without words. We all do it, and it’s a goldmine of unspoken feelings. Tune into these hand gestures, because decoding them will unveil a treasure trove of emotions in children and your fellow grown-ups.
Remember, even if you don’t feel confident, or you have difficulty interacting with others due to social anxiety disorder (SAD) or other reasons, did you know you can… “Practice these gestures and movements to project an air of confidence. As you practice, you will find that practising confident body language can help you feel more confident in social situations.” Newman R, Furnham A, Weis L, et al. Non-verbal presence: How changing your behaviour can increase your ratings for persuasion, leadership and confidence. Psych. 2016;07(04):488-499. doi:10.4236/psych.2016.74050
Just add a dash of empathy!
We’ve dived into the magical realm of ‘Body Talk’, but there’s an extra sprinkling of magic we mustn’t miss – empathy, the ultimate ‘Secret Sauce’ for truly understanding our little ones and fellow grown-ups.
In my search for the best way of explaining the ‘Secret Sauce’ I came across this explanation… “Empathy refers to the ability to understand the feelings the client is trying to express and the ability to communicate this understanding to the client. The therapist must adopt the client’s frame of reference and must strive to see the problems as the client sees them.”
“Introduction to Psychology”, Atkinson, Atkinson, Smith, and Ben. Chapter 17, Methods of Therapy, page 687.
Don’t forget that when working with children and adults, being genuine and understanding their situation is the key to success. Remember, children are genuine detectives, even better than Sherlock Holmes, as nothing gets past them!
Empathy unleashed (literally!): Imagine this: a chorus of babies in a nursery, all wailing in sync. Why? It’s like emotional telepathy as they sense each other’s feelings but can’t tell the difference between their own emotions and those of others. Babies, still tuning their emotional radio, can’t help but join the symphony. That’s empathy, a superpower that lets you tap into others’ feelings.
Unlocking their little hearts: When your little ones are keeping their cards close, not mingling with the gang, or simply having a tough day, it’s time to put your empathy superhero cape on. The key? Cracking the code of their feelings, both spoken and silent. To ace this game, you need to hop into their world and see it through their eyes and feelings.
More than just words: When you are in someone’s shoes it’s like a Vulcan mind-meld from Star Trek. When you communicate, you are not just using “I understand” statements, you are painting with their emotions.
Empathic language: To master this you need to see their view and translate their feelings into words they would use. This is not a chat, it’s a tapestry of connections between you and your little ones and grown-ups.
Following on from the Star Trek reference… (Yes, I am a fan!)
It’s all about catching feelings from your little ones or those in the ‘grown-up galaxy’. Flip on that empathy switch (or Vulcan mind-meld), raise the emotion antennae and get ready to enter a whole world of understanding!
Remember, forging connections with your colleagues and little ones goes way beyond words. Navigating non-verbal communication is not easy and it’s a skill that needs to be constantly nurtured. Forge connections that go beyond words, so the next time someone asks how well you communicate, you can confidently say, “My body does the talking!”.