With our focus on communication this month, I am reminded of a concept I discovered in a business class I took earlier this spring called kinesics.
This concept, developed by anthropologist Ray Birdwhistell, is how body gestures, postures, movement, and other nonverbal communication is interpreted. Birdwhistell stated that about 30- 35 percent of communication understood is actually spoken, and 65% of communication is by body language.
Simply put, as listeners, we pay more attention to the body language of the speaker than we do to what they are actually saying.
However, because nonverbal communication is often misinterpreted, it can lead to arguments and conflict in marriage. It is important to actively listen when your spouse is speaking as listening is a vital part of communication.
In order to communicate effectively, both husband and wife need to be good listeners. By listening, both will be able to minimize ambiguity and avoid many misunderstandings.
Listening and hearing are two different things.
Hearing is the literal sound reaching your ears while listening involves processing and understanding what is being said.
Remember these few tips to become a more effective listener:
- Eye Contact – Maintain eye contact with your spouse to show that your undivided attention is theirs.
- Body Language – Controlling your body movements, gestures, and facial expressions allows your spouse to effectively communicate and you to actively listen. (Remember, more than 60% of communication is based on body language.)
- Don’t interrupt – Only ask questions once your spouse has finished speaking. If you listen long enough, most questions would have been answered.
Listening to your spouse will help you understand what they are talking about, the meaning behind the words, and will minimize misunderstandings.