Amy Crow
Designer / Illustrator / Maker

Blog

Consciously Create Connections

body language

 

I love watching people.
Is it creepy? Maybe, but I always choose a well lit, public space- no, seriously though what you say with your body is a key indicator of how you truly (madly, deeply) feel. Amazing!

Body language is innate and something we do subconsciously but when you switch on your radar, you can start to understand not only what you're doing with your vessel but what others are doing with theirs. This facilitates in actively making better connections with your fellow blood bags!

Caveat- I am not a professional.

I haven't studied this shit and in my time I have royally fucked up everything I'm about to list!
So let's take a minute to realise this is free advice (questionable) and you get what you pay for (probably not much...) but I'd like to share a few things that I've learnt recently and that I'm trying to implement.

1. Mirror Neurons. 
A neuron is a cell that carries electrical impulses in our brains. A mirror neuron is a specific neuron that fires when we subconsciously mimic anothers' actions. This occurs when we want to build rapport or create a connection with someone. 

I love playing with this technique. Doesn't matter if you're one on one or in a group, it's really interesting to be aware of how people act and react around you. Try it; do something specific and see if someone responds by copying you, if they do chances are they are trying to be open and relate to you.

I'd like to note, this can also happen verbally; normally by repeating sentences or certain catch / buzz words.

2.0 Proxemics - Space
Proxemics relates to the physical distance between you and someone else and/or the territorial space in which interactions occur. You should be aware of how you use your space and how others keep theirs to make the right impressions and create the right connections. If you're unaware or fuck up, you could easily and accidentally insult or annoy someone.

There are four main "distances"; intimate, personal, social and public.

It makes sense that the closer you physically are to someone, the more you trust and feel comfortable with them. Because, vulnerability. This is termed the 'intimate zone' which is from actual physical touch to about 18". Personal space is further away from 18" to approximately four feet. This interactive space is usually for friends or close colleagues. Four - twelve feet is considered social distance and is appropriate for casual friends and acquaintances. Public distance is twelve feet and onwards and considered formal.

Horizontal distance is just as important as vertical distance. Varying degrees of vertical distance can communicate dominance or sub ordinance. Typically we interact more comfortably when we are on the same vertical plane, if you are sitting, I should sit too so we are at equal eye height- this would demonstrate my willingness to engage.

2.1 Proxemics - Territories

In terms of territory, there are four basic ones; primary, secondary, public and interactive.

Personal space is primary territory. Slightly different from the phsyical space between people, this translates to the home or bedroom- basically a place where someone feels one hundred percent comfortable in their own skin. Secondary territories are neutral but share a similar sense of comfort, like frequently visited cafes and bars or a mates place. Public territory is also neutral but are spaces we don't have ownership over, like streets and carparks. Territory that is deemed 'interactive' references private yet temporary spaces where close conversations can occur like a corridor or corner of a room.

2.2 Proxemics - Body Angling

It's also important to note the way someone angles their body in regards to you when you are interacting with them. The range of movement is from side facing to front facing. Standing or sitting side by side makes it difficult to see one anothers face. This obviously happens when we walk but we will admit this is for practicality reasons but when stationery, sometimes this can be seen as sharing a similar viewpoint. Sometimes face to face can feel too direct or confrontational, hence why we frequently pose our bodies at an angle to one another.

3. Micro Expressions.
Micro expressions are incredibly fast facial expressions- occurring within a mind blowing 1/25th of a second. Crazy right! Like body language, they expose how a person is truly feeling. Because they are so fast, they cannot be hidden- even if you're trying, you will fail. The skill of reading these expressions can not only protect you from deceit and lies, but it also increases your emotional intellect to accomodate for others. 

4. Vocalics.
Vocalics is the study of the voice as a code of nonverbal communication which encompasses pitch, rate, volume, articulation and pronunciation. Pay attention! How is someone communicating with you? When I'm excited my volume will rise and my rate with quicken. When I am disinterested or bored I become neutral in pitch volume and my articulation is tense.

5. Energy.
This is something that doesn't really fit with the above categories, it's just something I've come to realise through observation and research. We put out energy; when we're happy, sad, angry, jealous, desperate etc. If you're sensitive, you'll pick up on these projections in people around you.

I've been thinking a lot about gender lately and the masculine and feminine energies; I struggle with this and have been told that I naturally exude a masculine energy. My naturally dominant nature intimidates not only males but also females. 

Before I continue on, let's break down some basics of masculine and feminine energy:
Feminine: being, intuitive, patient, nurturing, calm, synthesising, creative, abstract
Masculine: doing, ego, aggression, assertive, logical, rushing, analytical

While we all have both energies within us, one will always be stronger than the other and that's the one we are most comfortable with. Energy can be fluid also and I have found I can change depending on the company I'm in.

I've come to realise that I need to be conscious that if I want to connect with those around me, I need to be aware of the energy they are emoting. If myself and someone else in the same social circle projects the same masculine energy, we could clash because the sheer amount of similar energy will likely displace each of us making us equally uncomfortable. 

As mentioned I'm not a professional! But I have spent some time researching and a lot of time observing so if you agree tell me! Or if you disagree, you should also tell me because I want to know why.

 

 

REFERENCES:

PROXEMICS
PROXEMICS - BODY ANGLING
MICRO EXPRESSIONS
ENERGY
VOCALICS