People often use silence as a way to collect their thoughts, while exhibiting control over a situation. And for many generations past, the strong and silent type was a kind of man to be emulated. He was quiet because he didn’t want to dominate conversations with words, he did this with presence and quiet affirmations shown through physical expression. It made him appear aloof and powerful.
Which is probably why so many male characterizations in popular culture showcase exactly this kind of male figure. If I were to ask you what a strong and silent type looked like, I’m sure that you could list at least a half a dozen examples from movies, music, and films, and if I took a decent sample sized survey that number would expand indefinitely. For me, video games will always be a great source of fodder for this trope. I must’ve played more than my fair share of games until I finished university, and after that point, I kind of lost interest in the hobby.
Fortunately for this post, I happen to know just a little more than your average citizen when it comes to video games – through grace or burden I’ll never know, but I’ll take it as a positive. And with that knowledge comes pattern recognition.
I Like To Move It, Move It
While every video game needs a good and vocal bad guy, it also needs an even better good guy. One who is basically mute. Maybe this is to turn that hero into an every man, and help make his story into ours, because we feel his feelings and make up reactions for him as we play the game. Maybe it was simply a limit of technology. But either way… whenever I think of the strong silent type, my mind doesn’t run to James Bond or Johnny Cash. No, I think of heroes like Mario, Link, and even Samus (read: surprise twist, Samus is a woman).
These heroes are selfless, sure of themselves, and deemed credibile within their chosen field.
I should be careful though not to put on a display demonstrating silence being golden, because there are some downsides. Conversely, this type of approach also makes men (read: everyone) appear distant, evasive, and uncomfortable with their environment. This happens because deep voices and higher volumes generally indicate confidence. Even when we should know better; that not all loud and proud people are in the right automatically.
Some of it comes down to nonverbal communciation too. And so I’m just sitting here wondering, do you remember that first time when I talked about the importance of communication?
Let’s Get Physical
Today I want you to consider that the pitch, speed, tone and volume of your voice is just as important in communicating your position as is the word choices you make. And in case you didn’t already know, hand gestures, facial expressions, posture, stance and proximity all matter in communicating the idea(s) you have at hand.
On top of that… eye movement, physical contact, and your appearance factor into a conversation too.
You see dear readers, this is because nonverbal communication is a lot more than the meaning of language, it focuses on the behaviours associated with message delivery. Learning to read body language is huge in gaining additional information about the hidden meanings of verbal communication.
Which is why I think this short article on non-verbal confidence in the workplace might just get you started right.
I’m not expecting you to become an expert in the matter over night, but a short list never hurt either.
- Good eye contact.
- A confident handshake
- Effective gestures
- Dressing the part
- Authoritative posture and presence
- Appropriate facial expressions
- Initiating interactions
- Appropriate voice tone
- Giving your full attention
- Responding to others’ nonverbal cues
Again this is just a short list, so if you want more meat, continue through to the article I linked above, but really consider these things dear readers, you reveal much more of yourself through body language then you even know, so want not get a leg up on the competition?
And now that we’ve essentially covered three of the basic types of communication, we only have one more to go. A personal favourite of mine – interpersonal communication. If you thought this last topic was interesting, just wait for the insights we have in store next week. And I’m out of theories for now.