Today there’s an essay by James Sheridan in the News Sentinal about how important body language is for communication between spouses. It’s very difficult to intentionally modify subconcious traits like body language, but it can make a huge difference in people’s perception. For example:
1) Maintain eye contact by looking at the speaker’s face, but don’t stare
2) Mirror your spouse by making the same basic movements and gestures
3) Lean forward slightly
Here’s an excerpt from the essay, the full article is here:
Words are not the primary way we communicate. In 1971, researcher Albert Mehrabian demonstrated that, when people express feelings or attitudes, 38 percent of the impact of the message is conveyed by the tone of voice and another 55 percent by body language. Only 7 percent of the message was in the words.
Wives mirror their husband’s body language far more often than husbands mirror their wives. The Peases note, however, “it pays big dividends for the man who becomes good at it.” Research shows that when a man mirrors a woman’s facial expressions when she talks, she sees him “as caring, intelligent, interesting and attractive.”
Men typically do not use facial expressions to show their attitudes; instead, men use their bodies. Thus, women do better reducing their facial expressions. Using the same facial expressions with your husband as you would when talking with another woman can make you “come across as overwhelming or intimidating.” In business settings, women who listen with a “serious face are described by men as more intelligent, astute and sensible.”