Communicating without Talking - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Communicating without Talking

BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX) - Brigitta Holtheuer thinks she's just enjoying a casual trip to the mall, but what this FAU student doesn't know is she's actually telling anyone who's watching a story -- her story.

"Body language is a huge factor in how we communicate, and the message we give to other people," said psychologist Dr. Gail Greenspoon.

We'll get back to her story in a moment.

The research shows more people are influenced by people's gestures than they are by people's words. Studies found up to 80 percent of what we communicate is non verbal and that can affect everything from your love life to your work life.

"Gestures, if you use your hands that's a good idea in a job interview," said Greenspoon. "If you make eye contact. If your eyes avert, then that looks like you're nervous."

Not only is the story your body tells important if you're trying to get a job. For some, it's important on the job.

For police officers, being able to decipher and read body language can be the difference between life and death. "A lot of times, right before someone is going to fight you, you'll see that aggressive gesture come out," said Sgt. Nicole Guerriero of the Delray Beach Police Department. "Whether it's them punching their fist and swinging their arms. If you really look, you'll know what to expect. In almost everything we do, we're looking at people's body language and how they're responding to us."

Back at the mall, Dr. Greenspoon analyzed the movements of  Brigitta Holtheuer. "Her head is held up high, shoulders thrown back, and she walks with a lot of confidence. She knows her way around the mall."

Turns out Greenspoon was spot on! "I work in the mall, so I do know the mall very well," said Holtheuer. "I try to portray confidence when I walk because I was taught that way to stand up straight, not slouch."

So the next time you're out and about pay attention, you may be speaking volumes without saying a word. "A person sizes you up in seven seconds," said Greenspoon. "They decide whether they like you or don't like you, so it's so powerful how a person presents."

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