Believe it or not, words and language are actually your SECONDARY form of communication. That’s right, whether you’re aware of it or not, your main form of communication is not transmitted verbally, but rather nonverbally.
Here are some fun facts:
Studies show that 65 – 85% of communication between people is carried out nonverbally – which means at least two-thirds of our total communication occurs nonverbally.
Over the course of an entire day, the average person is actually engaged in talking for only about 40 minutes. Yeah hard to believe, but it’s true. The rest of the time you are busy communicating through nonverbal body language. (now that 40 minutes doesn’t include you guys who like talking to yourself).
The people with whom you’re engaged in conversation with will put more “weight” on your nonverbal information than on your actual words. Typically your nonverbal messages are not controlled consciously — so it reflects your true feelings, emotions and moods. The person you’re talking with subconsciously understands this and uses your nonverbal signals to develop opinions, beliefs and feelings about you without even knowing how they did it. Your own experience should reinforce this notion if you consider how you form almost “instant” judgments about someone’s character in the first minutes of meeting them. Indeed, the brain is a powerful and scary thing.
You will form and solidify an opinion about someone within the first 4 minutes of knowing them – after which point it will be difficult to change that opinion. People resist changing their minds about someone, (a process called “selective perception”),
and we will ignore any information that is contrary that that initial impression. Not only that, research shows that we’ll even amplify any information that reinforces that initial opinion. It’s on the television news all the time. The shocked neighbor expressing something like “but he is such a nice, quiet man… I just had dinner with him. I can’t believe he had all those people in his freezer.” Even in the face of hard facts to the contrary, people will tend to hang onto their initial judgments.
Okay… so what does all this “non-verbal” stuff have to do with you protecting yourself and your family? Well actually a lot, because your adversary — if he’s human — is quite attuned into what kind of person he is willing to confront. As we discussed earlier, he is rarely willing to engage in a confrontation he thinks may end badly for him – so he’s essentially looking for a victim. It’s all done by “sizing up” your non-verbal signals mainly because he can’t ask “Can I humiliate, dominate, rob and/or beat you senseless
with little or no danger to myself?” Nope, in all our years of research, we’ve never come across that.
The point is this: Your opponent will always be actively “sizing you up” by your non-verbal signals – that is, your body language. It’s why dominant alpha, males – no matter what their size — are rarely picked on by bullies or targeted by predators. They convey nonverbal signals that they can and will “take care of business” if necessary. What’s surprising is that these non-verbal signals cut across all barriers and are instinctively understood by all humans – no matter what language they speak verbally.
In the end, your goal should be to use nonverbal communication to your advantage – to take “conscious” control over them so you can “sell” a certain image of yourself. To do this, we need to dig a little deeper into specific “Power Signals” — which we’ll cover in the next and final installment of this series.
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