Not establishing eye contact with the one you love can be detrimental to your relationships according to Neuroscience.
I have been teaching people about body language for the past 20 years. And as I have been a firm believer of this ever since I read Dr. Tracy Cabot’s “How To Make a Man Fall In Love With You”, to studying non-verbal communication with the books of Allan and Barbara Pease, I have also been obsessed with micro-expressions as studied by Paul Eckman. Studies have talked about Oxycontin and body language (Read link below) and when I was taking my class at Wharton Executive Education, we were introduced to technology developed by the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative that measures the brain via EEG and FMRI.
When test subjects were asked to wear the unit, we saw their brain waves on the monitor. Then lo and behold, they were asked to establish eye contact and their brain waves started to synchronize.
They didn’t do anything else but to establish eye contact.
Reading body language has always been my passion. In relationships at work or in our personal lives, so many things are being said while so many things are also not being said.
Dinner with you husband with your cellphones in your hands and talking to each other mid-post and mid-selfies and “foodstagramming”, is not establishing that connection. Even if you claim you are very good in multi-tasking.
Physiology is the most important thing to watch out for. According the studies of Albert Mehrebiam, Words are 7% of communication. 38% would be tonality and 55% is physiology. Words are what people are saying and even if they are saying “You’re amazing”, their tone and physiology will define what they really mean.
So how do you read what she (or he) is not saying? What I learned in my years of experience is that you cannot generalize every crossed-arm as being closed or resistant or every nose-touching to be a lie. As you read so many indicators, here are a few reminders:
- Calibrate- Be present. Listen with your eyes as well.
- Have sensory acuity or a gauge of the meaning of your communication through the response you elicit.
- Know the context- Is the room too cold? It may be as simple as that. Without any other context, you may misinterpret the message.
- See their perspective- Try to see what they are seeing, hearing and feeling from their point of view.
- Mirror – mirroring causes mirror neurons in the brain to activate allowing you to empathize more and read their body language from your own experience and not just observing it from a distance. This also causes them to feel more understood.
Leveling Up your relationship IQ by being aware. By being present. During the caveman days, we had nothing else to distract us so we learn by watching. Watching others. We learned that fire is hot and that certain berries are poisonous by watching people around us.
Not being present, and not having the ability to learn about people can be detrimental to how our relationships will proceed.
- Lack of perspective- When you don’t see it from the perspective of another. When all we see is ourselves and our pain and fail to see the human being in front of us. This does not have to be a given and can be solved by being mindful.
- Being better than others- When you think you are above someone, this links to what is said in the first point of lacking perspective. This can be remedied by once again, being mindful.
- Disconnecting and detaching- When we alienate ourselves and are too far, we would not be able to empathize with the other. We may disconnect and detach to avoid getting hurt. We also avoid vulnerability and intimacy. There is a saying that proximity creates distortion. This can be helped by taking time to connect and talk.
- Repelling- When a person repels, they do so verbally and non-verbally. Repelling someone is saying the opposite of their point of view to dis their perspective or it can be non-verbal when you repel the message, not with words but with body language. Crossing arms, fidgeting nervously, removing eye contact, twisting body away and many other things that are not in sync with their body language. Solution for this is to be in rapport with words, with tonality and physiology through mirroring. Mirroring activates mirror neurons of empathy in the social brain. Doing so makes a person feel accepted and understand and makes your understand the other person more.
We can level up our IQ when it comes to relationships. Having stock knowledge can give you the know-how but more importantly, it is the actual practice that matters.
Read more about how you can increase your relationship EQ at work!
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About the Author: Carelle Mangaliag-Herrera is an empowerment and motivational speaker, management consultant, coach, author and business communications expert using NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming) and Applied Neurosciences. She is an NLP Trainer and Master Practitioner, Gallup Strengths Coach and is the President and CEO of Trainstation Inc. with offices in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore and USA, a partner of the Wharton Neuroscience Initiative under Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania. She has helped top companies globally as well as marginalized communities and government institutions. She has been a performer on stage, tv, and film for nearly 30 years and has been an improv actor , a comedian and singer. She is a wife and a mother of 2.