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  • Writer's pictureVered Ohanna

Communications face value: Pay attention to what isn’t said

Have you ever noticed how much of the important things are actually not communicated through what people say?

When it comes to communication, what isn't said is often just as important as what is.

There are so many meetings where the attendees are talking just for the sake of talking.

They may want to be noticed, or feel important, or maybe they just want to be seen as the person that knows it all, or perhaps to be perceived as the leader, and these are just a handful of so many other reasons.

It's easy to become so focused on how you're expressing yourself that you forget to pay attention to what is being said by the other participants, and more importantly, what is it that they are not saying.

Now think about listening rather than talking. How powerful is that!

The tone of the conversation is something you should notice. Is it friendly and open or guarded and tense? The tone of the conversation can tell you a lot about how the other person is feeling and what they may be keeping to themselves.

Being attentive and listening with all of your senses can help you get a better understanding of what is being said and also what is not being said. Body language and facial expressions can say a lot about how someone is feeling and what they are thinking.

In addition to body language, remember to pay attention to what isn't said. Are there any topics that the other person is avoiding? Are there any questions that they pivot from or don't want to answer? Noticing what isn't said can help you to get a better understanding of the other person's feelings and intentions as well as the bigger picture.

The silence that comes after someone has finished speaking, the body language, and the way someone is conveying their message can be just as revealing as the words that are spoken.

It's important to pay attention to these subtle cues in order to get an accurate sense of what the other person is REALLY communicating. For example, if someone is telling you a story but their body language and facial expressions don't match what they are saying, it could indicate that they are feeling uncomfortable or holding something back. You can notice if someone is over-compensating or just open and honest.

So, when you are stepping in to your next meeting, try to keep quiet for a bit, rather than just speak to show you are there, and pay attention to what isn’t being said… You will have much stronger insight when you do so.


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