Reading Between the Lines

Understand Content, Tone, Body Language & Using It!

What to look for…

Person-to-person communication (while you’re in each other’s presence). This can be described by three ways:

the content (the literal meaning of the words),

the tone of voice (this includes inflection, pacing, etc.)

and body language (how the person stands, the look on their face, how they placed their hands and arms, etc.).

What this means to you:

Pay very close attention to tone of voice and body language so you can see how they match up with the literal meaning of the words. If they don’t match, it is quite likely the literal meaning of the words is not the truth.

The tone of voice is five times more important than the literal meaning of the words. Body language even more.

How tone of voice and body language align with the literal meaning of the words is critical in understanding the meaning when negotiating your relationship.

You can take the sentence “How much help do you need?”, and change its meaning entirely based on which words are emphasized, the inflection and the tone of voice that is used.

Insight is Rewarded

Please keep in mind, that if their tone of voice signals hesitation, they know it. On one level or another they are well aware they have indicated this to you and are probably unsure as to how to come out and say whatever it is that doesn’t quite line up.

Your act of recognizing this and gently dealing with it via a “label” will be greatly appreciated by them to address an unspoken issue in which he doesn’t want to be direct about or if there is something wrong.

This is interpretation process is a two-way street. The person you’re communicating with will interpret you in much the same way, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Here’s what you do with this knowledge: label tone of voice and label body language.

You: “So we’re agreed?”

Them: “Yes…..”

You: “I heard you say yes, but it seemed like there was some hesitation in your voice.”

Them: “Oh, it’s nothing really.”

You: “No, this is important, let’s make sure we get this right.”

Them: “Well, to be honest…”

This is the way you make sure that the foundation you are forming gets implemented with you both being on the same page (no surprises).

Make sure to line up what someone says with how they say it. When someone’s tone of voice or body language are not congruent with the meaning of the words they say, use the communication tool of labels to dig in and discover the source of the incongruence.