Friday, June 3, 2011

Can you say it without words?

How do you say STOP with out speaking? Raise a hand.
Come here? Wiggle a finger.
Check him/her out? Eye movement and head gesture in the direction.

I had a friend who would watch me getsure, and say, "What's the matter?"
If I whispered, "Check that out."
She'd loudly resond, "Who, what, where?" as her head spun in circles.
I'd groan and say, "Nevermind."
I still have friends like this, and usually they are very book-learned, intelligent people, but they're not intuitive.

Non-verbal communication, is easier for some people to decipher than others. Either you have that connection with someone or you don't. My friend, Rose, and I had it. We spoke in fractured sentences, with our eyes and sometimes we hummed our words, which drove the kids crazy when they were little.

I use non-verbal in the classroom. I fold my hands and stop reading, and merely look at the disturbing child. When that child looks at me, he or she knows what I want, because I raise my folded hands and put them back in my lap. Usually the child complies. No staring down with hard looks, snide remarks, belittling or attacking.

Kristy, a former colleague was sharing a story about non-verbal communication when she and her husband were on their honeymoon years ago. She is olive-skinned, has dark hair and a great personality. You can't help but like her and laugh with her.

She said they were sitting in the sand when he gestured with his head to move her head closer. She inched in. He tapped his lip. She leaned closer. He frowned. She backed up. He tapped his lip again. She smiled and puckered up. He tapped his top lip. She tapped hers and dived in for a tooth knocking kiss.

He pulled back and said, "Uhm, I didn't want to SAY it; I was trying to tell you that you have a mustache, do you know that?"

Some men never know when to keep their mouths shut. We laughed so hard at Kristy's telling of that story.


Pat Wahler said...

Our non-verbal ways of communicating usually speak far louder than the words we say. It can certainly be confusing, especially when body language contradicts words!


Sioux Roslawski said...

Most of the time, although I occasionally make a gaffe.

Your friend and her husband stayed married after he made note of her mustache on their honeymoon? She's a better woman than me...

Val said...

Well, I teach freshmen. So of course I have to have it, to survive. The kids say they know to cut it out when I give them The Eye. They say I raise one eyebrow, and that's all it takes to get the message across. I can always tell who's up to something, because they sneak a look at me to see if I'm onto their shenanigans.

Unfortunately, my husband is not even good with verbal communication. Like that time right after we were married, when he told me I was like an elephant. I was hurt and offended. He couldn't understand why. All he meant was that I never forget. That's his story, and he's stickin' to it.

Julia Williams said...

LOL at the mustache story!! Learning how to read nonverbal communication is something of an art form, I think.

Jennifer Shirk said...

I have a "look" that seems to tell my daughter right away when I'm not happy with her behavior in public. LOL!

Kim Lehnhoff said...

One report card day (3rd or 4th grade), The Boy asked, "Why do you have the 'I want a new son' look on your face right now?"

Just verified his lousy social skills - the report card was fine (maybe I just look like that all the time).

BECKY said...

OMG! I LOVE the mustache story!!

Debora said...

I use a lot of nonverbal communication in the classroom too; but some of my more profoundly impacted students haven't the ability to pick up those cues which is rally sad for them. So much of life is nonverbal.

Linda O'Connell said...

Hi folks, thanks for stopping by. I do appreciate your comments.

Dorothy Evans said...

LOL at the moustache story - though I do wonder what her next non-verbal communication was!

Julia Gordon-Bramer said...

My grandfather disciplined my sister and me in the same way you speak about running your classroom. It's funny, because it made such an impact on six-year-old me. My mom and dad were yellers, and their broken-record harping was soon tuned out. But the sternness of Pampa's look was enough.

Yes, some of us naturally pick up on these things, others not so much. I wonder if it can be taught?

Tammy said...

So true...and so funny! Teachers couldn't live without non-verbal communication. I too find that "the eyebrow dip" is invaluable with high schoolers especially--I think because it gets the point across without putting them on the spot. Oh, and I once had a sixth grader announce to me that his great aunt could neither smell nor taste. I've often wondered if I'd be skinny if I had no taste buds, so I asked him if she was a thin woman. He started to shake his head a violent "no," but caught himself, apparently realizing this was impolite. The funniest part was that as soon as the head stopped swinging, it went stiff and the eyes got huge and took over. Hard to explain but hilarious to witness. In that one gesture, he let me know POLITELY that great auntie was a really big woman!

Chatty Crone said...

Actions speak much louder than words!