Dying Art of Conversation - Rediscovering the importance and benefits of communicating face to face rather than online!.
It is so easy to send an email, search online or chat to someone through technology and social media, we are losing the benefits of having a chat and spending time with others! Taking the time to engage with someone by talking to them face to face is important to build bonds and re-energise each other.
Often messages via technology can often be misread as it is difficult to read the intention and tone of the message when in word form. Personal interactions allow us to read and pick up on others’ facial expressions, body language, tone of voice and also helps us portray what we want to get across more easily to others; all of which help us engage with others more positively and build more real and deeper relationships.
Encouraging our children and young adults to engage and build social, personal relationships is vital as they are are new generation surrounded by social media, laptops, phones and gaming devices, which could result in the lost art of personal interaction and the very real loss of the health benefits that communicating with people provides.
Meeting someone in person helps our brains read micro facial and body signals (often missed by the conscious brain, nevermind within an unemotional and inexpressive e-mail). For example, you can’t feel the warmth radiated through a handshake, or the cheeky twinkle in the eye or the wry smile hiding the humour intended behind the words.
These communication skills and the rapport we build with face to face interactions is key in forming lasting relationships and learning to read people well when in business or socially. We really should be encouraged to rely on our senses more often to allow our brain to ‘read’ emotions and hone our skills to allow our gut / unconscious mind to make more informed decisions by seeing the bigger picture.
As mentioned, our unconscious is able to read micro facial expressions and body language, undetectable to the conscious mind and eye. This process happens automatically, and relies on something called the mirror neuron system (MNS). This basically allows us to interpret the actions, intentions and emotions of others.
Furthermore MNS can cause us to feel other people’s emotions. I’m sure you have a friend who is very happy and upbeat and when you are around them you start to feel energised and happier? This is your Mirror Neuron System at work. Basically, your brain mirrors or copies their emotions. Similarly, when you are around someone who is sad, your brain mirrors the movements of the muscles that convey sadness, giving a direct emotional feedback into the brain.
In addition to the perceived emotions your unconscious reads, it results in the brain producing the same biochemicals and hormones that the other person is feeling. Hence some people make you feel positive such as happy, excited, upbeat and motivated, whilst others can make you feel low, such as sad, tired, depressed, nervous and drained.
This is the basis of what Dr David Hamilton calls ‘Emotional Contagion’, which implies we can “catch” the emotions from others and alternatively others catch our emotions.
To get the best out of every interaction aim to be as positive as possible to allow others to feel and ‘catch’ your positivity to enhance every interaction and outcome you have. Be a positive pipe and avoid being a drain!
So this week take the time to call that person you’ve been meaning to get in touch with for ages and meet up and have a conversation or a chat with them and enjoy each others company.