VERBAL COMPONENTS OF SOCIAL SKILLS
previously said that non verbal compenents are the way you look at people,
gestures you make, facial expressions, physical appearance....These
variables have their own communicative value. Even in an inevitable
way; for example, the look we use in a determined moment says something
about how we are feeling: looking at our speaker's chin instead of into
their eyes will make the speaker think that we are shy, or that we are
nervous, or that we are scared of him/her.
non verbal communication variables accompany the verbal content in two
Accompanying and/or emphasizing the verbal
message: both are related. One example of this situation would
talk place, for example, when we say the expression "this is
very important" and we accompany this expression with hand movements;
the effect is without a doubt more convincing.
Contradicting the verbal message: when the visual code and the verbal don't go together, we usually
give more credability to the visual information; remember the typical
situation when a young child tells us that he/she has done his/her
homework, looking at the floor and with slightly flushed cheeks. Do
we believe him/her?
verbal communication compoments help us to base our first impressions
of others, they only take a few seconds to produce. Besides, we are
not aware of all of the elements that help us create a first impression
of someone, sometimes without them even speaking to us. How can we tell
that someone is confident? Because of the clothes that they wear? They
way they move? Because they smile a lot?
uses different criterias, although everybody agrees that opinions are
formed without knowing how they formed them; that's to say, we don't
know what we base our impression of someone on in just a few seconds.
Some of the non verbal signals that a speaker emits are made without
knowing; one signal, for example, is our speaker's pupil dilation.
has been proved that this variable is a relex for the interest that
we feel towards something. Our pupils contract if we feel rejected by
something/one, and they dilate if we feel attracted to something/one.
Various experiments show that a person looks more attractive in photos
when their pupils are dilated than when they are contracted.
is clear that all of the non verbal signals that we emit are not as
difficult to control as pupil dilation. But clinical experience points
out the fact that people find controlling non verbal communication aspects
extremely difficult when trying to improve social competence. What you
say is not as important as how you say it.
investigation has revealed a very interesting phemomenon: we usually
provoke others to use the same non verbal communication that we ourselves
emit. That is to say, the way others behave around us, partially comes
from our own influence.
It is also important to know not only facial expressions but also gestures
are important. Therefore, for example, by holding our thumb up it makes
people in many countries believe that we are hitch hiking; however,
using this gesture in Greece is considered very offensive.