Lifestyle

Why body language is the most important kind of communication in love


Experts argue that between half and up to 80 percent of all interpersonal communication is non-verbal. Relationship expert Dr. Lurve explains how your non-verbal communication could be affecting your relationships.

We’ve all heard the saying “it’s not what you say but how you say it” and turns out there is a lot of weight in that phrase. While the art of communication is often largely focussed on words spoken; the truth is, what you say is actually the least important part of speaking.

When we consider Dr. Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55 rule of communication, we can breakdown human communication into 7 percent spoken words, 38 percent tone of voice, and 55 percent body language. Some experts disagree on these numbers, but it shows that all nonverbal communication dominates verbal.

These non-verbal signals and cues can create a close connection with a person, increasing understanding and affection. A mistaken gesture could throw some people off or send a different message than the one you intended. These non-verbal cues are also vital for the different kinds of relationships we have.

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What is non-verbal communication?

Non-verbal communication refers to the subtle and effective ways humans communicate that can convey meaning better than words. For example, perhaps a smile can convey our feeling much easier than the words we say, and eye contact can often hold a person’s attention more than what is coming out of our mouths. Here are the most important types of non-verbal communication.

Facial expressions

Facial expressions make up a big part of our communication however there are some key movements that are vital in connecting and communicating effectively with others.

Smiling

A smile is arguably one of the most important assets when it comes to relationships, no matter whether it be a romantic or business relationship. It can make us approachable, display confidence and as research suggests, make us appear more attractive.

In fact, new Lonergan research commissioned by SmileDirectClub found that 33 percent of Aussies are most attracted to a person’s smile, with nearly 90 percent of those saying they prefer a smile with the person showing their teeth.

The study also found that smiling also makes others feel that you are friendly and approachable (69 percent) or warm and welcoming (62 percent) – making it easier for someone to approach you.

Frowning

A frown can typically send a really strong, negative message when it comes to non-verbal communication. Legend has it that ‘it takes 43 muscles to frown, and only 17 muscles to smile’. While this saying is scientifically inaccurate, humans tend to smile more so our smiling muscles are stronger, meaning that a frown actually takes slightly more effort to produce. More reasons to smile!

Head tilting

Tilting the head to the side when in conversation often sends a subliminal message to the listener that you are non-threatening. When we tilt our heads, it exposes the throat and neck and makes a person look smaller, thus appearing ‘less threatening’. A head tilt and nod can make the listener trust you more for that very reason.

Eye contact

The Lonergan research also unveiled that 39 percent of Aussies are most attracted to someone’s eyes, so it’s important that we are aware of this and use our eyes to create strong connections, establish intimacy and promote trust through eye contact. Good eye contact can show you’re connecting with someone and actively listening, making it an essential skill for effective communication in all types of relationships.

Body language

Our body language can say a lot of things without a single spoken word. So much so that there are ‘body language experts’ around the world who deciphers this unspoken language. Our physical stature can have a profound effect not only on ourselves but in our relationships. A great example is the saying “in a slump” which often refers to the physical sense of our shoulders being slouched over and the emotional one where things are just not going our way.

Science says slouching our shoulders can make us hold on to stress and feel sad. It can also send a message to others of the same tune. Add to that a pair of folded arms and it can send a sign of extreme tension, often conveying feelings of anxiety and fear. On the contrary, science suggests that standing up straight can help a person to feel more positive and come across as more confident and focused.

Dr Lurve is one of Australia’s leading love and relationship experts and a SmileDirectClub ambassador. Follow her on Instagram @dr.lurve.