Social Skills – Social Signalling – The Meditation

Friday, April 24th, 2009 at 8:00 am.
by pre.

Introducing the social signalling meditation

Our meditation this month is designed to focus your attention on your social signalling, and thus help you to learn to understand it and thereby improve those social signalling skills.

The meditation should be practised in the hours before some social gathering or event, perhaps a party, a date, a job interview, a hospital appointment, or if you can’t think of a future event perhaps a chance meeting with a random stranger at a bus stop. Any place and time where you expect to encounter others. You will have that event in mind when you listen to the meditation, pre-visualising it as strongly as you can, in as much detail as you can. The meditation will prime you to pay particular attention to your social signalling during the coming event, and as you attend more closely to those signals you will understand them more and thus become a more effective communicator during all future interactions too.

Body

Like all the meditations in this lap around the spiral, our Social Signalling meditation is based around our now standard low-impact light excercise routine. This routine should help you to focus on keeping your core muscles engaged and your arms and shoulders relaxed, improving your posture and body awareness. These things are of course key in effective non-verbal social signalling.

Priming

As you imagine, pre-visualising the expected social encounter, your attention will be drawn to some typical elements of social communication. You’ll be encouraged to think about them in turn, which will prime you to pay more attention to them during the encounter itself.

You will spend time imagining the pitch, rhythm and timbre of your voice. Which syllables you are putting stress on, the way your facial expressions shape the sound. Of course you’ll also pay attention to the words you’re using, looking out for hidden subliminal dual meanings, entendre, and how emotionally and visually evocative the language you are using is.

You’ll be primed to think about your eyes. Their blink-rate, which can signal excitement (or dirt in the eye). The direction they’re pointing in, the object of focus. Probably most important, you’ll think about eye-contact. You’ll be primed to use eye contact to both read the signals sent by your conversational partners and to send your own signals in reply.

You’ll think about the expression on your face, how it reacts to the words you hear and how it gives inflection to the words you speak. You’ll think about tiny micro expressions, priming you to notice them and the mask you quickly cover them up with.

You’ll be primed to spend some time with your attention on your limbs. On the gestures you make and the things you point at and touch, in particular if you touch the person you’re talking with. You’ll also put some attention into your legs, how you’re sat or stood, which direction your feet are pointed in, if you seem restless or relaxed.

You’ll be encouraged to focus for a while on your stance, or your gait if moving. On the set of your shoulders, the angle of your chin, how you’re leaning or how tall you are standing.

You’ll also learn to focus on synching your movements with your conversational partner, increasing rapport and emotional empathy though getting your bodies, and so your minds, closer together through mirroring.

As you pay more attention to all of these signals you are giving out, you will learn to control them more, to ensure your words and your non verbal communication are matching, coherent. You will become a better and more effective communicator, so people will understand you more clearly.

Self Signalling

Of course these more effective signals are not only being interpreted by those you are communicating with. You are also constantly and subconsciously analysing your own signalling behaviour, especially as you become more conscious of it. As your skills improve, so your own opinion of yourself will improve.

These self signalling effects work not only through subliminal analysis of the signals themselves, but actually physiologically. It’s been shown that as you smile more, your dopamine levels increase. As your posture signals higher social dominance your body will react, producing more testosterone or oestrogen, changing the way your mind works. The more time you spend getting close up with people, bonding with them the more oxytocin your body will create, improving the bonding process effectively.

Suggestion

As usual, the meditation is phrased suggestively. It will implicitly suggest that you’ll pay attention to the right things in the right context. Not just “How are your shoulders positioned” but “Are your shoulders showing that you’re relaxed?”, implicitly suggesting that your shoulders should be relaxed, encoding the ideal state within the question that you’re learning to ask yourself.

The meditation contains implicit suggestions that you’ll find reduced amounts of miscommunication, that people will see your intent more often. That you’ll appear more trustworthy and likeable. Many of these placed subliminally in the implications of the text of the meditation rather than explicitly where they may provoke a disbeliving reactance from your mind.

Download The Meditation:

Guided Meditation File 15 – Social Skills – Social Signalling
Backing Music “Memphis Rain” By Cordovan
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