Facial Expressions – The Art of Non-verbal Communication
September 18, 2020 8:00 AM EST | 6 min read
As a Private Investigator, and a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist, I have to interview and interrogate many individuals for various reasons.
Some are victims, others are suspects – but in either case, I need to learn the truth, and do so by placing reliance upon the one undeniable universal language as exemplified in the way our facial expressions and body language correspond.
Statistically, it is reported that 83% of what we learn is through what we perceive with our eyes.
Therefore we must learn to understand what people are conveying non-verbally whilst talking; it is a combination of both the non-verbal and the verbal that provides credence and accuracy, or otherwise, to what someone is saying.
It is also pertinent to note that, even without training or specific awareness and almost instinctively, people will apply the same assessment criteria, even unwittingly, to your speech and actions as well, and therefore for the interrogator, it is even more important to understand and be able to manipulate the talent to seek to achieve the stated objectives.
The Six Basic Facial Emotions:
The six basic emotions, generally, are easily identifiable in all and by all, are: happy, angry, sad, fearful, surprised, and disgusted.
These emotions are universal, and no matter what part of the world from which you come or what language you speak, your facial expressions will always be the same and replicated by persons who otherwise cannot understand a word you are saying.
Nonverbal communication gives us the ability to respond to unspoken language, and helps us connect.
Whether you are attending a job interview or engaged at a networking event, interacting with persons of a like-manner, your Facial Expressions will convey much of what is going on within a person.
In essence, one’s face says much more than you think, and very often more than you can otherwise orally convey.
Check out our collection of facial quotes if you enjoy this article.
Positive ways to use facial expressions – How to Change your Mood!
Studies show how smiling can alter your mood – this is a great way to trick your brain into a happy feeling!
Research has shown that smiling doesn’t just make you look happy, it makes you feel happy!
Simply changing your facial expression by smiling, will instruct your brain to release endorphins – the good feeling chemicals to improve your mood.
No matter what situation you’re going through, if you start to smile – even a fake or forced smile – the results are the same as if your smile was genuine.
Everyone knows you look happier, more approachable, and more easygoing when you smile.
Likewise, there are disadvantages when your facial expression expresses a frown.
Frowning sends signals to your brain that depress your mood.
When you’re in a situation where you’re dissatisfied, your facial expression will let the other person know.
If you are trying to resolve an issue with a customer-service employee, or with your significant other, frowning during the discussion will hurt the other person.
Not only will frowning make you depressed and sad, but it will cause the people around you to experience the same.
Start smiling to acquire the many benefits! J
How to Apply and Attune Facial Expressions:
In today’s society, more than ever before, being aware of and responding to one’s perceptions is essential, if not solely for security and peace of mind – for survival itself.
The techniques of observation have become a natural process.
Babies and toddlers learn by observing adults, especially their parents, and soon learn to emulate their every mood and expression.
Somewhere in the evolution process, we have drifted away from the importance of observing and being attuned to the non-verbal communications of others.
When a famous person stands on trial, whenever the verdict is read, the camera always centers on their face to see the facial reaction, to generally seek to exploit whether the show expressions that indicate they feel relieved, guilty, angry, happy, and so forth.
At moments of extreme pressure, you cannot fake your reaction, therefore, what you feel will be precisely what is portrayed on your face.
The Importance of Eye Contact:
Eye contact provides important social and emotional information.
The eyes can indicate interest, attention, and involvement.
People who maintain eye contact are perceived as more reliable, confident, sociable, and honest people.
When you establish good eye contact, the other person perceives you as showing respect by showing attention to the person or topic.
People pay more attention to their phones, television, iPods, and so on rather than to each other.
This often times sends the signal “I’m interested in something else” to avoid this type of non-verbal communication, avoid your phone or other distractions and maintain attention by eye contact.
This is the best way to establish and maintain a healthy relationship.
Besides, a lack of eye contact can be interpreted as disrespect, disinterest, and simply an insult.
Who would want to be around someone that makes them feel like the time they share with the other person is unimportant?
Even our smartphone has facial expressions – The Era of Emoji
In today’s world, much of our communication takes place via electronic methods, like email and text messages.
Yet even though and with communications via electronic devices in whatever format, we find the right facial emoji character to describe our feelings.
Minimally, there are over 65 different facial expression features on your mobile device.
Faces such as happy, sad, confused, angry, laughing, or crying, are otherwise designed to cater to every mood!
In reality, and almost without using a written word, you can now find the perfect emoji to convey your message with precise feelings, even with a simple cartoon-like caricature.
Electronic V. Face to Face
As electronic communications (talking without the benefit of looking in the eyes of the person you are communicating with) take precedence as a primary form of communication in all walks of life – personal and/or professional – we are often left to try to substitute our inability to read what we cannot perceive with our eyes.
Our society is evolving to the point where two people in the same room would rather text each across that room as opposed to speaking directly to each other, and so the process of even relying upon non-verbal communications is at risk of surviving – in favor of emoji’s – giving rise to a significantly more fearsome element manifesting in its place; as by such (electronic) means, the ability to learn to trust through the skills of verbal and non-verbal communication is being lost.
The feeling of a true connection to one another is something we all seek.
Talking face to face and observing the other person’s emotions is the oldest and most effective form of connecting and establishing a great relationship.