Social Skills – Social Signalling – Introduction

Friday, April 3rd, 2009 at 8:00 am.
by pre.

In the first loop around the spiral we talked about social perception. The many and varied social signals which people are sending, mostly unconsciously, all the time. We talked about tells and the way the social hierarchy is encoded within the posture, gait, tone, speech patterns and actions of the people of the world. We mentioned how these signals are not only transmitted directly by observation but also indirectly through an entire network of people. Finally we presented the guided meditation designed to help you to pay better attention to these signals and so learn to interpret them more easily.

Of course social signalling goes both ways. While you have been learning to consciously notice other’s signals, you’ve also been (mostly unconsciously) sending signals for others to read. This, then, is social signalling and this lap around the spiral we aim to help you increase your conscious control over the signals you, yourself, are sending out.

The unconscious signals you are sending to other people are essentially similar to the ones you’ve been learning to recognise in others: micro-expressions, eye contact and direction, the gestures you make with your hands and feet, the set of your shoulders, the way you stand and move, the tone and content of your speech, the extent to which your signals match or mirror those of the people around you etc.

Self Signalling

The signals that you send out in this way aren’t just interpreted by the people you interact with. Perhaps the most important recipient of these subconsciously transmitted and interpreted social signals is in fact you, yourself. For you don’t simply passively send these signals and wait for others to receive them. Your posture, movement patterns, expressions and gestures physiologically affect your body and mind. Your subconscious interpretation of these signals effects your own belief of your intention, motives and power.

Improving your social signalling abilities will change your own opinion of yourself as you subconsciously interpret those signals. It will change the opinions of others as they interact with you, subconsciously following your signalling lead.

Furthermore, though social networking effects it will change your position in the social hierarchy. As others come to believe your newly controlled and directed social signals they’ll reflect that changed belief back at you, and at others in your social group, feeding back into the changes you’ve made.


Next week we’ll discuss ways to increase your awareness of the signals you are sending out, to notice and understand the messages that you are subconsciously sending to the people you interact with.

After that you’ll learn how to increase your conscious control of those messages, to actually direct and change them to project an integrated set of signals sending the message that you want to send.

Finally, at the end of the month, we’ll present a guided meditation to increase your social signalling skills, helping you to improve and take conscious control of your own social signalling.