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Believe what you see, not what you hear

October 9, 2012

There is an adage that says: Believe what you see, not what you hear.

Often our body language sends a message quite different from what we actually say. This can cause confusion to the people we are communicating with  because they are not certain which message to believe—what they hear or what they see.

For instance: when if someone says they are so sorry you are having problems but have a big grin on their face, we tend to think they really don’t mean they are sorry at all. The grin contradicts what is said as we rarely grin when we genuinely feel sorry for someone.  We might have a sad or straight face. We might hug, touch or use some other means to show we feel badly for the person. A big grin is not one of them.

Have you heard someone make a statement such as “It’s beautiful out today.” but end the statement with an upswing in their voice? It really sounds as though the person is asking if it’s beautiful out rather than telling. When we want to make a statement, we go down at the end of the statement to express that we mean what we are saying. Going up like a question when it is a statement makes us sound unsure or lacking confidence.

Our body language includes what we sound like, what we look like and what we physically do. We can control what we say but it is far more difficult to control our body language.

We are back to the truth of the adage: Believe what you see.

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