Tag Archive for Phrases

Tonality Advice For Men

Communication patterns are often a make-it or break-it moment.

Communication patterns are often a make-it or break-it moment.

As we have seen in a pervious chapter, tonality plays a big part in the meaning and intent of the message being delivered. Speaking in a soft voice can be construed as nervous, especially if words are so quiet they are misheard. When in groups containing new people, it is very common to speak quietly to direct your conversation to specific people you are more familiar with, however this can and will alienate others and serve to isolate you further. While in a group, therefore, don’t be afraid to address everyone and save private conversations for later. Whispering, which is an entirely different ballgame can actually bring women closer and create sparks, so is fair technique to explore. As tonality pertains to dating and attraction, it is important to hold a strong voice and use projection to carry it to your audience. Speaking too loudly can come across as forceful and arrogant though, so try to balance your speech to your location and audience, as well as the surrounding noise.

As mentioned earlier, women find men with voices that are deep sexy and it is possible to lower the breadth of your voice with practice. Even keeping it monotone will make it seem deeper and sexier, although a lack of enthusiasm will likely out-weight the benefits. Calming and slowing the voice can also deepen it and these techniques can be perfected when practiced. Naturally each one of the techniques for voice lowering can appear forced and awkward, and in most cases, the voice can only be lowered by a few degrees, but this might be all that is required to bring a high pitched voice down to an acceptable medium.

Another aspect of voice is projection. In nightclubs where talking is often difficult at best, you might consider extending the length of words and phrases, so they are better heard. Men should never pass up an opportunity for closeness, and as mentioned, whispering is a great tool to accomplish this. A “hey, let’s get out of here, it’s too loud to talk” makes for a good exit strategy once a connection is formed. Regardless of the situation, a well projected voice communicates strength and confidence.

Men should also be mindful of nervous laughing and long bouts of monotone speech, which can be a killer for women. Men should avoid getting overly excited, but should also not be afraid to liven speech with gestures and some changes in pitch, to show that they have a pulse, and that their life is at least somewhat exciting. If men find themselves in conversation with an unwilling participant, they should change gears or change partners, this is what makes body language so powerful, since it eliminates the need to second guess interest. Having read the cues to sexual interest at the beginning of this chapter along with interest in general covered throughout the book, it should be plainly obvious what others are thinking about you.

Head Back And Peering Over Glasses

You wouldn't mess with this chick.  Head back spells confidence and authority.

You wouldn’t mess with this chick. Head back spells confidence and authority.

This head position prompts phrases such as “She looked down her nose at him in disapproval.” It is the classic eye-glass wearing domineering teacher or librarian look when a student has done something she does not approve of, so she stares him down. The gesture can be done by looking over the glasses or simply by looking down the bridge of the nose. The posture elicits a prey response in others because it puts them in an aggressive relationship with the predator peering down on them. Tilting the head back is a way to adjust the height levels between people because by doing so it raises the level of the eyes by a few inches. Looking down the nose is indicative of someone that is condescending or pushy and is an authoritarian posture but is also a gravity defying body language so shows confidence and positivity. It’s where the phrase “Keep your chin up” come from when we wish others to frame their outlook in a more constructive light. Conversely the chin down shows negativity and destructive thoughts such as judgement.

While the cue can be done without glasses, peering over them by slightly pulling them down as if to get a better view is even stronger. A friend of mine who is a photographer explained to me that he felt turned off by a client that habitually held this posture. For whatever reason, it was her natural tendency to tilt her head back and look down the bridge of her nose at the camera. Since the nose and chin move together they both signal the same sort of high confidence dominant signal. At the time he didn’t know why but was quick to have the model drop this posture because it didn’t feel right to him. I explained to him that he likely felt put off by the posture because it made her appear dominant and authoritative when he was likely looking for a coy pose instead. I was right after all. His reply “Why would anyone want to look at a domineering model peering down on her subjects?” He then explained that he wasn’t doing a stock photo for a fluff editorial, rather “She wanted to look attractive for her boyfriend!” We both found this amusing; he would have received an interesting surprise!

Affect Or Emotional Displays

A frown affect accompanies a sad story.

A frown affect accompanies a sad story.

Affect displays is subset of nonverbal language that reveal our emotional state. For example, if we are happy we can show enthusiasm, or if we are telling a sad story, we correspondingly show somber. Affect display include facial expressions such as smiling, laughing, crying or frowning.

Awareness of various kinds of affect and how it is used in speech will provide vital clues about the speaker and his or her intent. Affect displays occur in synchrony and within the rhythm of speech. They emphases certain words or phrases and are an integral part of speech and thought. They can tell us about the expressiveness of a person and also what they find most important in their speech by which words they choose to emphasize. Posture can also signal emotion as can a variety of other gestures.

Affect is also different from culture to culture. For example, Russians tend to smile much less than Americans and therefore an American might come across as overly friendly to a Russian. Conversely Russians might come across as disinterested or aloof to Americans because they smile less frequently. In reality, both cultures are neither aloof nor overtly content, they simply appear to be so as they are viewed through a complimentary cultural norm bias. There is no right or wrong way to display affect, which is to say that no culture is better or worse because it smiles, frowns or cries less or more than another during expression.

Verbal Language Is Confusing, Body Language Sorts Things Out

Body language makes the intent of a message much more clear.  This 'spear thrower' isn't interested in listening to your viewpoint.

Body language makes the intent of a message much more clear. This ‘spear thrower’ isn’t interested in listening to your viewpoint.

What proportion of communication is affected by the actual words versus how the words are used and the body language that it accompanies it? I don’t know of any real metric by which to calculate this, so it’s really anyone’s guess. Suffice it to say that the vast majority of communication and meaning has nothing at all to do with words. Body language in this case gets lumped in together with other signals such as tone, pitch and word emphasis whilst we subtract the actual words and their meaning. Take the phrase “Would you prefer to lie?” as an example. If I were to emphasize the word “would” it puts the emphasis on “you”, but if I put the emphasis on “lie” it puts emphasis on the action. Confusing things further and not privy to the spelling of “lie”, one wouldn’t know if I was speaking about telling the truth or “lying”, or taking a nap or “laying”. Emphasis is used to add meaning and emotion to our speech by stressing specific words and can completely change the meaning of the sentence. This can also be done by using a higher tone, using longer stressed syllables, or increasing the volume as we speak certain words. Even in the cases above I have used a nonverbal method to emphasis words by using the italics function, a feature of this writing program that arose out of necessity.

Going back to our previous example, we also have homonym’s which are words that share the same spelling and same pronunciation but have different meanings. An example includes the word “bow” which can mean to bend forward, the front of a ship, a weapon which fires an arrow, a ribbon tied in a knot (a bow tie) or to bend outward to the sides (bow-legged). Polysemes are words or phrases with multiple related meanings. For example “bank” can describe a financial institution that handles money or it can be used to describe trust as in “We’re friends, you can bank on me.” Antagonym’s are forms of slang that actually mean their opposite. Examples of antagonyms include “bound” for a direction or heading, or tied up and unable to move, cleave can be to cut apart or seal together, buckle can mean to hold together or to collapse, clip means to attach or cut off, and so on. Other time we use words to mean the opposites. “That skateboard trick was sick” comes across in slang as meaning that it was actually a pretty good trick.

While the myriad of definitions stemming from word-use might confuse you, don’t let it bother you too much because this is the only time it actually matters. In fact, body language is the likely reason our vocabulary is permitted to be so confusing and most of us have at least a rudimentary understanding about how our bodies and verbal language coincide to produce meaning anyway. The point of raising the dysfunction that peppers verbal language is precisely because confusing word meaning plays such a minor role in our lives. When we just don’t get it, in comes body language to sort things out and bring everyone back on to the same page.

What we are looking to accomplish in this book is a higher order reading of nonverbal language to graduate from simple word meaning to get at the hidden ‘script’ that unfolds ‘between the lines’, so to speak!

Silent Speech Has Flow

How is the flow of your body language?

How is the flow of your body language?

Body language is like verbal and written language; it has structure. Body language flows, it has its own rhythm, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation. Some gesture are single letters which join with others to form words right on up to formulate full sentences and phrases until we finally reach full ideas and meaning. Part of the way things come together is connected to congruence, meaning that the overall body of language comes together seamlessly. Just like someone might have poor written grammar, some people have poor nonverbal language, sometimes even dramatically so leading to even more drastic consequences.

We are all born understanding the basics of body language and have the minds to master it, but none of us are born ready emitting perfect body language. Instead we learn body language like we learn to speak, by observation and practice. ‘Naturals’, as it were, may only exist because instead of ignoring body language like most people do, they bring it to consciousness early on and follow successful example around them. Their minds are subconsciously prepared to imitate good postures and appear in control and confident. As we will see, good body language isn’t something you are either born with, or must be without forever. It can be learned.

I recall a time when my wife and I were visiting a fellow who was giving away a second hand washing machine which would I would use for a rental apartment. His body language made him appear inept and he came across as awkward. He’d cross his arms when I was talking and when I’d make a point, he would do his best to contradict me. He’d lean in too close and his body odor was overpowering. This person had no reason to be dishonest, he explained that he needed the space in his house for another project. We took the machine because at the time we needed it, however since he gave us such a negative impression we still don’t know, to this day, if the machine works or not. I’ve never hooked it up or used it! My wife and I got a terrible impression of the guy and the feeling attached itself to everything about him including his free washer. It didn’t affect us while we were there, but as soon as we left, we were able to verbalize reasons for storing, instead of using the machine. We simply didn’t trust that the machine would work properly despite his verbal assurances, and instead of taking the energy to move it into the basement to test it, we stored it in the garage and purchased a new set. His body language told us that something must be wrong with the washing machine, that perhaps it ruined clothing or leaked and he just wanted some sucker to help him dispose of the machine. Other people who aren’t studied in body language but finding themselves in a similar situation would have concluded that their ‘gut feeling’ was off. Since I could read his cues, it was obvious to me why I didn’t trust him, but I did have to explain to my wife why she felt so uneasy.

This story illustrates the point about the strength of nonverbal body language and how salient and important it is. Even though the result was at no cost to him (and little cost to me), if he had been a commissioned salesman, or salesman of any sort, he would have lost the deal with certainty.