When someone is talking, we observe more than the words they say. We see their facial expressions and their body language. This means that even when they are saying one thing, their facial expressions and body language may be saying something entirely different.
You probably already know when someone has their arms crossed during a conversation, this means they are closing themselves out of the conversation, to some degree. But, is this absolute? Could there be situations where the person is simply cold and has folded their arms to keep themselves warm? While this is possible, examining their face will be a further clue. If they are frowning during the discussion, this is confirmation that they don’t like what they are hearing, or, at the very least, are uninterested.
Many people don’t even realize the body language they convey. This can cause them problems when the body language is counter to the spoken message. Perhaps they make a strange face when someone mentions something unexpected. The speaker reacts negatively and leaves the person wondering what they did wrong. These communication missteps happen frequently.
It’s amazing that when people play poker, they seem to be able to completely squelch their facial expressions and with good reason; they could lose money if they don’t. Having a “poker face” as they call it, is an essential strategy during game play. This does take some practice and people do on occasion give themselves away during a hand. But, overall, they can freeze up their faces to become expressionless.
Why can’t we use that poker face during ordinary conversations? It seems like it would be in our best interests so that those expressions don’t betray us by showing our true intentions. The trouble is, even if you could bring your poker face to conversations, you’d still have to contend with your body language. No one has ever made mention of a poker body. People are usually seated when playing poker, so the issue never presents itself.
If this subject hits home for you and you are experiencing difficulty in communicating with people, help is available. You’ll find books and seminars on advanced body language. Like anything, be careful of the information presented and make sure you are listening to people who are qualified on the subject. Otherwise, your communication may actually be worse if you don’t find the right kind of training.