Lying may be your favourite position

The interesting thing about communicating is everything else you are not saying. I have always had a strong interest in non-verbal cues, the subtle messages that you bring across to the receiver for interpretation, which may not always be intentional. It is said that verbal communication only brings across 7 percent of your message with the non-verbal brings across the rest. That’s 93 percent of the message left to what you don’t say! Here are some examples how non-verbal communications can give us away, even before the verbal conversation begins!

Kinesics, the study of body language and facial expressions, are my favourite.
Click on the picture to watch (in new tab):

Watching you!

From my favourite new show, “Lie to me”, this clip shows how the character played by Tim Roth is an expert in detecting liars, or people who are using “adaptors” to hide their emotions. The micro-expressions (the hidden smile, shoulder shrug and the concealed scorn) that show on the criminal’s face when asked a question that evokes his emotions only appear for a split second. Did you identify it the first time around? All these expressions often show on our faces when we communicate with others. Try identifying your friends’ micro-expressions!

Now check this out:

Oculesics, the study of the eyes, intrigues me greatly as they say that the “eyes are the window to the soul”.

Have you ever seen a fake smile?


Take your finger and block of his smile. What emotion does his eyes portray?

Now, on to physical appearances. As I stated last week about perception, our taste very much depends on the selection and organisation of the information communicated to us. As soon as we step out of our doors, our avatar communicates a message to those around us.

What do these people communicate to you if you saw them on the way to school?




Hot! (in a non-bisexual way)

From these examples, you can now see how non-verbal communications can give you away!
The interesting issue is, what are you really telling others, even as you speak to them? These non-verbal cues are often subconscious and happen every day around us. Remember your last conversation? What did you think of the receiver before you spoke? Was there an attempt by you to hide an emotion about something? Were you able to control your “adaptors”? Have you ever felt that the person you are talking to disagrees with you, without him/her actually saying it? All the answers to these questions lie in non-verbal communication.

Do take note, however, that Kinesics can be misleading sometimes. Someone may scratch his nose because of a real itch instead of a reaction to lying. Sweaty palms could be due to genetics instead of nervousness.

I feel that knowing these non-verbal cues help enhance your communication with others as it tunes you to become more receptive to the real needs of the people you talk to. It could help you identify when someone is lying or feeling uncomfortable, giving you a signal to stop or change the particular topic of discussion. This subtle skill, which some are naturally more receptive to than others, is very essential at any point of communication, be it at work or even at home. Plus, you learn to be a great liar! If 93 percent of communication comes from the non-verbal cues, can you imagine how much more you can learn about a person by paying attention to that 93 percent and understanding his/her real emotions?

The greatest liar of all, perhaps, is Homer Simpson:

All images and videos are not owned by me but by their respective owners.


2 responses to this post.

  1. great post! it was very informative. i definitely think that nonverbal communication is neglected by most people and as such, they unknowingly give aways cues that are contrary to the message they are conveying through speech. this might sound silly, but do you think that communicating via phone or email should take precedence over face to face communication? since people would then not be able to give out nonverbal cues which contradict their message?


    • Hi Ken!

      Thank you for leaving a comment!
      That’s an interesting thought!
      Well I feel that these non-verbal cues that may contradict someone’s message is the combination that is the “magic” of communication!
      That’s the reason why someone would rather sms or email someone with bad news or when asking for favours to avoid their own non-verbal adaptors.
      Although I feel that they should not take precedence, I believe that there is a whole array of etiquette and skill to be learnt to communicate effectively with emails and SMS-es!

      Thanks for the insight!


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