137. When Words Aren’t Enough: How to Excel at Nonverbal Communication | Think Fast, Talk Smart:...

137. When Words Aren’t Enough: How to Excel at Nonverbal Communication | Think Fast, Talk Smart:...

Introduction (00:00:00)

  • Matt Abrahams introduces the podcast and the guest, Dana Carney, an expert in nonverbal communication.
  • Dana Carney's research focuses on nonverbal communication and its impact on biases, preferences, power, and status.

Understanding Nonverbal Communication (00:01:12)

  • Nonverbal communication includes visual, verbal, and vocal elements.
  • Visual communication includes facial expressions and body language.
  • Nonverbal communication can be used to express or perceive attributes and information.

The Nonverbal Rules of Power (00:02:11)

  • Dana Carney identifies five nonverbal rules of power:
    • Eye contact: Looking at someone when speaking and listening conveys power, intelligence, and warmth.
    • Expansion: Taking up physical space and expanding in various ways, such as using gestures and speaking confidently, can convey power.
    • Touch: Appropriate and respectful touch can build rapport and convey warmth.
    • Artifacts: The objects and accessories we use can communicate our status and power.
    • Environment: The physical space we occupy and the way we arrange it can influence perceptions of power.

Cultural and Contextual Variations (00:04:37)

  • Cultural and contextual factors influence nonverbal communication.
  • Eye contact norms vary across cultures.
  • Some cultures consider eye contact rude, while others view it as a sign of respect.
  • Safe spaces exist for nonverbal communication, such as warmth, proximity, body orientation, and back channel responses.
  • Cultural differences exist in terms of personal space and physical contact.

The Balance Between Verbal and Nonverbal Communication (00:08:10)

  • Nonverbal communication is not more important than verbal communication.
  • Both verbal and nonverbal communication are crucial for effective communication.
  • Nonverbal cues can reveal underlying biases or emotions that verbal communication may not convey.

Achieving Communication Goals Through Nonverbals (00:09:15)

  • Nonverbal communication is essential when words are insufficient, especially in situations where people lack self-awareness or have incentives to conceal their true feelings.
  • The goal of communication should be considered in different contexts, such as using a breathier voice to convey attraction in a bar setting or a casual and upbeat tone when genuinely inquiring about someone's well-being.
  • Nonverbal communication can be thought of as a language with specific cues associated with different intentions, such as liking, trust, and power.
  • To improve nonverbal communication skills, individuals should understand the cues and how they are perceived by others, practice and receive feedback, and set goals for interactions.
  • Individuals should also be aware that self-perception may differ from how others perceive them and consider how strangers perceive them compared to friends or acquaintances.

The Final Three Questions (00:16:13)

  • To improve communication, practice, reflect, and seek feedback.
  • Coherence across communication channels (voice, body, face, words) indicates credibility and confidence.
  • Inconsistent communication across channels may suggest internal conflict.
  • Winston Churchill is admired for his ability to capture hearts and minds and galvanize people.
  • He turned his speech impediment (stutter) into a strength by using pauses effectively.
  • Clarity of goals is essential for effective communication.
  • Know your baseline nonverbal behaviors to identify areas for improvement.
  • Practice and experiment with different nonverbal cues to find those that suit you best.
  • Authenticity is key - tap into behaviors that come naturally when you feel the desired emotion.

Conclusion (00:21:09)

  • Set a clear goal for your nonverbal communication.
  • Learn the best nonverbal behaviors that convey your intended message.
  • Practice these behaviors until they become second nature.
  • Episode 12 with Deb Grunfeld
  • Episode 16 with Bert Alper
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