Author: Danielle Forshee, Psy.D, LCSW
Do people tell you that you ‘nag,’ or have an ‘attitude’? Do you find yourself repeating the same thing to your spouse, children, or other family members- and they don’t seem to listen? Or, have you been told that you don’t listen? If this describes you, or someone you love, this can potentially lead to a breakdown in communication, and ultimately your relationships.
When we interact with each other, there are three different forms of communication that are being conveyed at all times. Depending on which one you rely on more heavily to get your point across, you could be setting yourself up for failure or success, and not even realize it:
1) Verbal communication: This is WHAT we say.
2) Para-verbal communication: This is HOW we say it.
3) Non-verbal communication: This is our body language.
Research suggests that our non-verbal communication (body language), and para-verbal communication (how) we say things, are the two most influential forms of communication—even over WHAT we say. People will be more likely to listen to WHAT you say if the tone of your voice sounds kind, the volume is lower, and your attitude is soft. People will listen even more to WHAT you say if your body language appears open and warm, and your facial expressions appear empathetic.
If you want others to listen to what you have to say over the long-term, remain as consistent as possible with how you say things, and your body language. It takes about 2 weeks to change behavior. So, if you stick with making these two changes while communicating in your relationships, you will likely notice positive changes, and your loved ones will also.