Communication is multilayered. It transpires in multiple dimensions simultaneously. Most time, people do not even notice that they are transmitting information to somebody. This happens because people are used to focusing on what is said. However, the content of the message is just one dimension of communication (Fary Maldonado, 00:06:57 – 00:07:23). The second is voice tone, and it manifests itself in the manner of speaking, which creates a connotation. The third one is gestures, which can either support the speaker or undercut them. The last two levels comprise a larger field of nonverbal communication, yet this is the most informative way of conveying a message (Hall et al., 2018).
The Role of the Unconscious Mind
Everybody has been in a situation when saying the right words does not produce the needed result. The reason for such failures is that body language contradicts verbal information (Overoye & Wilson 2020). While people generally do not properly distinguish nonverbal signs, the mind catches all clues. Sometimes, people find themselves in situations when they understand their interlocutor logically, yet their inner intuition says no to trust them. The mind has already filtered all information, thus creating dissonance. If conscious thinking misses so much important information, there is no reason to appeal to it. The focus should instead shift to the unconscious mind and what influences it.
Targeting the Mind
How does one target the unconscious mind with conscious actions? The task stops seeming so insurmountable once a person gets a handle on the nonverbal language. The research argues that women are more likely to feel insecure than men in face-to-face interaction (Ahmad, 2019). Men are unconsciously more dominating and controlling, yet once the context changes from real to virtual, the reverse will be true – men will feel less secure. The lack of nonverbal signals in the virtual medium is the answer. However, it is possible to control one’s expression and gestures. Therefore, face-to-face interaction can also empower people with insecurities to feel confident.
Tips for Effective Communication
As noted above, there are three dimensions to human communication. All are necessary to confidently connect with people (Nadiah, 2019). Firstly, eye contact is essential in sending a message to the unconscious mind that the speaker is well-intentioned. Secondly, a smile creates a powerful psychological effect. It can make an awkward situation feel positive, turn a stranger into a sympathetic interlocutor, and is often used in business as a way of orchestrating a positive atmosphere. Thirdly, hand movements can not only accentuate the words but can also alleviate working memory load (Overoye & Wilson 2020). As with all nonverbal signals, the actual target is the unconscious mind of a person, rather than an individual themselves.
Interacting with an Audience
These are effective methods of talking to a single person, but there are also situations when one individual has to convince numerous people. In this context, mere physical presence is not enough to communicate efficiently, it can actually backfire. Proper interaction supplants nonverbal pressure (Nadia et al., 2019). The first tip is to keep the audience engaged. The more people participate in the communication, whether verbal or motion-based, the easier they connect. Limiting body movement is essential since the excess of it can make a speaker look nervous. The most liberating realization is counterintuitive. The audience is less confident than the speakers are. After all, people fall silent and listen attentively when a presenter appears, putting pressure on the audience. A presenter can use this to their worn advantage and bolster their confidence with this knowledge.
Ultimately, the number of people whom a speaker addresses are irrelevant. The feeling of confidence is purely psychological. It is an experience, which exists within the confines of one’s own mind. If a person can make themselves mentally shrink in a dialogue, they also have the capability to see themselves as superior to the interlocutor. These are all states of mind, that change based on external clues. Anyone is able to trick their own mind and the minds of the surrounding people with nonverbal signals. It takes a lot of emotional self-awareness and nonverbal competence, but it is possible. Considering the power of nonverbal communication, it can even be argued that the content of what is said is meaningless if the most meaning is created without words.
Ahmad, R. H. D. A. (2019) Role of texting in communicative confidence boosting: A comparative inter-gender study. Orient Research Journal of Social Sciences, 4(1), 61-80.
Fary Maldonado. (2020). Connect with Confidence [Video file]. Web.
Hall, J. A., Horgan, T. G., & Murphy, N. A. (2019). Nonverbal communication. Annual Review of Psychology, 70, 271-294.
Nadiah, N. (2019). The students’ self-confidence in public speaking. Elite Journal, 1(1), 1-12.
Nestor, M. S., Fischer, D., & Arnold, D. (2020). “Masking” our emotions: Botulinum toxin, facial expression, and well‐being in the age of COVID‐19. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 19(9), 2154-2160.
Overoye, A. L., & Wilson, M. (2020). Does gesture lighten the load? The case of verbal analogies. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 2388.