Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

“Nonverbal Awareness”

Originally posted on November 13, 2012

What else can I call the mental alertness to one’s own nonverbal behavior. There are those who are attentive to their appearance regarding make-up, hair-do, clothes, but few people pay attention to the way they behave: Check out posture, eye angle, length of eye contact, tendency to smile or frown, etc. Let it be a category you check out as much as whether you’re fly is open (for guys)—what is it women check to avoid embarrassment?

Another category I have become aware of is voice modulation to fit the size of the room and the distance to audience. Many people who should know better become habituated to speaking softly on a one-to-one basis, and they don’t know or don’t bother to raise (“project”) their voice at a seminar, in a conference. It’s as if they’re blissfully unaware of the way they speak, thinking only of what they want to say. But that’s an artifact of focus on content, logocentrism, the words all that count, and whether or not they’re well articulated, pronounced clearly, or audibly is either of no concern and/or out of the speaker’s awareness. It’s a form of obliterated consciousness— that is, a rejection of the inner-child’s inclination to speak too loudly. It’s as if one is hushing oneself.

In this regard, see my paper on nonverbal communication on my website, and related papers. So, for this reason I’m interested in weaving a few elements of nonverbal awareness into psychological literacy, perhaps informed by activities in dance and movement therapy.

One Response to ““Nonverbal Awareness””

  • Anne-Marie says:

    “What is it women check to avoid embarrassment?” … ha! The answers are legion.

    Here are a few that I think are gender-specific, on par w/fly-checking (which women do too, if they’re wearing pants with zipper flys) …

    • top of blouse-checking (bra straps showing? low neckline inching down too low?)

    • buttons of button-down shirt checking (the ones in the chest area)

    • if wearing dangling earrings, women often check to make sure both are there and hanging correctly


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