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Do You See What I'm Saying?

    The saying, "It's not what you say, but how you say it" gets mentioned often in difficult conversations.  I agree with the statement to a certain extent.  I believe it's what you say, but also how you say it, and what you look like when you're saying it that makes a difference in how you communicate with others face to face.  Our facial expressions, stance or sitting posture, and ability to stay in place long enough to hear a person out says volumes without us even opening our mouths.  Let's look at these individually.
    Let's start with your face.  It's where most people are focused in conversation.  So do your words and your expressions coincide?  Does your look support your words?  For example, are you smiling and chuckling while telling someone they're being ridiculous?  Are you agreeing with someone while shaking your head like you don't?  Are you inviting someone to talk to you as if you're interested in what they have to say then look bored and disengaged when they do?  These all send mixed messages.  Moreover, even if you say nothing, the scowl, the rolling of the eyes, the cocked eyebrow, and the pulsating jawbone indicating you are clenching your teeth all send negative messages to the other person.  They say I'm unapproachable, I don't believe you, I don't trust you, and I'm ready to punch you in the eye, respectively.
    Now let's look at your body.  Miley Cyrus's was saying things that were more suited for a 1-900 call during her performance on the Video Music Awards.  What does yours say when people observe your actions in conversation?  A glance at your watch when someone is speaking to you says you have something more important to do.  Walking away while someone is talking says the same thing:  You're wasting my time.  I'm off to something more important than you.  Sighing, folded arms, and staring through someone all send strong messages that you're not engaged.  Considering that more than half of what you say is conveyed through body language and another 40% is conveyed through tone, your words carry weight.  But they pack a smaller punch when people are watching you versus what they're hearing you say.  And you know why?  Because we're such poor listeners.  Therefore, if you want people to understand you better, make sure you're showing them what you're saying.


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